Photo gallery: Flying officer returns as an air marshal to present new standard to 31 Squadron at RAF Marham

A new squadron Standard was presented to 31 Squadron, the 'Goldstars' at Raf Marham. Picture: Ian Bu

A new squadron Standard was presented to 31 Squadron, the 'Goldstars' at Raf Marham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A young flying officer who received 31 Squadron's current standard in 1986 returned to RAF Marham as an air marshal to present the squadron's new standard.

Air Marshal Greg Bagwell joined the RAF in 1981 and commanded RAF Marham and the Tornado Force from 2004 to 2006.

He was a flying officer when he received the current standard from Air Marshal Sir Leslie Mavor on November 14, 1986. 31 Squadron, which dates back to 1915, had been presented with its first standard in 1956.

The air marshall returned to the West Norfolk airbase today for the squadron's standard parade, which was attended by many long-standing supporters of the squadron, known as the 'Goldstars', and members of the 31 Squadron Association.

The standard, which is inscribed with the squadron's battle honours, and will be preserved in the finest condition, was presented and consecrated to the sound of the RAF Regiment band.

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In his address, Air Marshal Bagwell said it was a particular honour for him to present the standard.

He praised the 'magnificent parade' as being in the highest standards of the RAF and the squadron, and said: 'In 1986 I was that young man standing and receiving the standard, so the circle of life is complete.

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'I remember that 28 years ago, a week before I received the standard, I had 23 stitches in my lower lip. While I had them out by the time of the presentation, it did not help my lisp.

'The reason this squadron has been given the new standard is that Her Majesty, the Queen has faith and trust in you. I'm a proud former member of this squadron and it will always have a special place in my heart.'

Later this year the squadron will begin preparations for its return to Afghanistan for its final deployment of this campaign.

Air Marshal Bagwell added: 'This squadron has seen a lot of its operations over the North West Frontier, India and Burma, so it's rather appropriate that a squadron that was 'First into Indian Skies' is now lining up to become the 'Last into Afghan Skies'.'

Wing Commander Richard Yates, officer commanding 31 Squadron, said: 'It is a great privilege for the squadron to receive a new standard, and it's a nice touch that it was presented by Air Marshall Bagwell.

'The presentation of a new standard only comes around about every 25 years. It's a great privilege for the officers and men at the squadron and it will carry us forward into the future. It is a link to the generations of men that served in the squadron before.'

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