After welcoming everyone to the Reunion, the President began by describing what had been prevalent in the Squadron since its formation and throughout its illustrious history: fearless pilots; dedicated groundcrew; and, above all, a supreme spirit.

Now that the Squadron had been disbanded, there was no longer an active, operational focus, but it was the Squadron spirit that the Association would endeavour to perpetuate. Regrettably, despite its illustrious history, 208 Squadron had not been chosen as the number plate for the new F35 Operational Conversion Unit; that honour had gone to 207 Squadron (perhaps, he thought, because they had taught Prince William to fly the Tucano, notwithstanding that 208 Squadron had spent 20 years training the combat pilots of the future).

The fight was not yet over, however. The President had presented the Chief of the Air Staff with a copy of ‘Forever Vigilant’ by Graham Pitchfork as a reminder of the Squadron’s operational history and its indomitable spirit. However, the stark facts were that in 1990, there were 37 operational ground-attack squadrons. In 2018, the RAF had only 7 fast jet squadrons in total. The likelihood of 208 Squadron being reformed were therefore slim but, nonetheless, the fight would continue.

The Squadron’s aircrew were, however, still active and battling for trophies, the latest of which was “Mrs Warren’s Teapot”, which he and Ben Laite had been awarded after winning the Buccaneer Aircrew Association South West Annual Golf Competition. He then presented the ‘Trophy’ to Ben Laite for safekeeping until next year’s competition.

The President then went on to thank the Committee for its excellent work in support of the Association, in particular Malcolm Ward for an excellent Newsletter, Eugene Moriarty for his organisation of the Reunion Dinner, and Neil Meadows, both for his work on the Association’s Website, and for ‘rescuing’ an amount of Squadron memorabilia from storage at Stafford and for bringing many of those items with him this evening to set the atmosphere for the Reunion.

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