The sky's the limit for airmen serving on one of the RAF's oldest squadrons as they prepare to mark their centenary year. Personnel at RAF Lossiemouth have pledged to raise £15,000 in celebration of the Squadron's XV moniker.
Wing Commander Jon Nixon, Officer Commanding XV(Reserve) Squadron, explained: "The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity. I felt that in our 100th year we should take advantage of the opportunity and use it as a chance to raise some money for the charity.
"Like any flying squadron we have lost colleagues in the past and we’ve seen what the Fund can do to help those families, so it really feels like it is close to home."
In 2012, three members of XV(R) Squadron were killed during a GR4 Tornado flying exercise off the Scottish coast. Squadron Leader Samuel Bailey, Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole and Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders all tragically lost their lives.
During times like these, the Fund can provide both financial and emotional support to families and personnel affected. That offer of support can continue for a lifetime or for as long as it is needed.
XV(R) Squadron has organised a series of events to help reach its fundraising target, including the sale of 1,000 bottles of special edition 15-year-old malt whisky and 100 holes of golf in 24 hours in the summer. Renowned aviation artist Ronald Wong has also created an exclusive painting of the Tornado flying through the Scottish mountains for the Squadron to auction.
As well as supporting his Squadron to meet the challenge of raising £15,000, Jon has promised to raise an additional £5,000 by running his very first marathon – a spur of the moment decision made on Twitter, during an appeal for more followers.
The Squadron, which today provides training for RAF GR4 Tornado aircrew, was first formed as part of the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, flying BE 2Cs on reconnaissance and bombing duties on the Western Front during the First World War. It was absorbed into the RAF in 1918 and during the Second World War, the Squadron flew a variety of aircraft, including Avro Lancasters part of Bomber Command, and took part in many night bombing operations.
In the years after the war, XV(R) Squadron disbanded and reformed three times, taking on different aircraft at different locations. In 1983 the Squadron became the first RAF Germany unit to receive the Tornado GR Mk1, taking part in the Gulf War in 1991.
The Squadron, formed on 1 March 1915, moved to its present home at RAF Lossiemouth in 1993 and re-equipped with its current Tornado GR4 aircraft in 2000. As well as training all Tornado air crew, XV(R) Squadron supports frontline RAF operations around the world, providing engineering and air crew personnel.
To sponsor Wg Cdr Jon Nixon, please visit www.justgiving.com/Lenny-vs-MoFarah
You can support XV(R) Squadron's fundraising drive by making a £5 donation. Simply text OCXV99 £5 to 70070. Details of all their fundraising activities can be found at www.xvsquadron100.com.