Association Reunion and Hunter XE620 Unveiling
After many arduous hours over the preceding months and up to the 11th hour, all efforts were rewarded on Sat 1 Jun by a tremendously successful 8 Sqn Association Reunion and the official unveiling of the new Hunter and Sqn Guard, XE620, as 8 Sqn hosted this memorable occasion.
With the sun shining, the morning began early with Sqn members arriving to help with last minute preparations; supported by 8 Sqn Eng and WO Rich who ensured an E-3D was in place for the guests to view and tour throughout the day. Mr Jason Allen arrived soon after with a Hunter cockpit which was in place all day for guests to sit in and take photos; a pleasant gesture for the former Hunter guests who unfortunately were unable to sit in the cockpit of XE620.
As they arrived guests were heartily welcomed by OC 8 Sqn, and at midday gathered at XE620 for its' official unveiling. Speeches and presentations were made by OC 8 Sqn, Wg Cdr Beldon, 8 Sqn Association Chairman and former OC 8 Sqn, Gp Cpt Tim Almond (Ret'd) and Sqn Ldr Tam Syme (Ret'd) former OC 8 Sqn 1963-65. Tam Syme had flown in from the USA and until the unveiling was unaware of his name on the front of the aircraft. Originally XE606, the Hunter has undergone a remarkable restoration, courtesy of kind donations and many hours spent by volunteers, and now bears the markings carried by XE620-B in 1963/64, the aircraft which was allocated to Tam during his command of 8 Sqn. The highlight of the unveiling was a surprise series of flypasts by a Hunter aircraft which landed and took off later in the afternoon with another flypast.
Guests were invited to visit the Dynamic Simulator, the Station Heritage Centre and browse the large collection of archived photographs and memorabilia held by the Sqn. Flt Lt Craig Curry gave presentations on the Sqn History of which many guests, former Sqn members, were part of. A Dakota flypast by the BBMF was a welcome treat for the afternoon before the days' event drew to a close with a presentation of a silent auction Hunter painting by Mr Mal Grosse, proceeds will go towards the Hunter restoration project.
On Sunday Chaplain Alex Hobson delivered a superb sermon that celebrated No. 8 Sqn and the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. For those who didn't attend the sermon is available here:
Due to the success of the reunion, a significant bond has been established between current and former members of 8 Sqn leaving high hopes for the centenary event in 2015.
Below are some photos taken, many thanks to Ray Deacon and Vic Cozens, during the day's celebrations. These and many more can also be seen on the Radfan Hunters website.
Click on a thumbnail to open a larger image. Once opened, you can view the other pictures available by clicking the right and left hand side of the image. Use the "Close" icon in the bottom righthand corner when finished.