First-ever RAF parade in Hucknall

AN HISTORIC squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxF) that was created in Hucknall and flew fighter jets in the Battle Of Britain will be given the ‘freedom of Ashfield’ in a special ceremony on Saturday (September 24).

The 504 (County Of Nottingham) Squadron was formed in March 1928 at Hucknall Airfield on the site now owned by Rolls-Royce, off Watnall Road.

Now, 83 years on, it will take centre stage for a celebration and the first-ever RAF parade through the town.

Firstly, a service will take place at Hucknall Parish Church on Market Place where the ‘freedom’ status will be bestowed by Ashfield District Council.

Then, squadron personnel will parade to Hucknall Leisure Centre, led by the RAF Waddington Voluntary Band of Pipes and Drums.

The route through Hucknall will be lined by local branches of the Air Training Corps, including 1803 (Hucknall) Squadron, which is based at the same airfield, off Watnall Road, where 504 was formed.

Civic and military dignitaries involved will include Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of Ashfield Council, the council’s chief executive, Phillip Marshall, and Air Vice Marshal Lord Beaverbrook, honorary inspector-general of the RAuxF.

The parade will march past a dais (raised platform) set up on High Street where the salute will be taken by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire.

At the conclusion of the parade, there will be a private civic reception at the Linby Road leisure centre.

This will include historical displays from the 504 Squadron Association with photographs, documents and artefacts, a show by 1940s tribute singer Marina Mae, a special cake and a parade of re-enactors dressed in uniforms dating from 1928 to the present day.

Mr Marshall said: “We are extremely proud to offer 504 Squadron the freedom of the district of Ashfield, and I hope people turn out to show their support as they march through the town.”