1200 soldiers and officers from the Army Air Corps (AAC) formed up on parade at in our Cathedral Close on 6 July to celebrate the Corps 60th Anniversary in the presence of their Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM AK QSO PC ADC.
The Corps was established in 1957 and in recognition of the 60 years of service given by AAC personnel on operations in Malaya, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans, Libya and Afghanistan, as well as disaster relief in the Far East and the Philippines, Her Majesty the Queen has granted the Corps a new ‘Guidon’ or banner.
Bathed in glorious sunshine, the event, attended by 1,200 serving personnel, their family, veterans and schoolchildren, started with a marching parade and was followed by a traditional military Drumhead Service which was held outside the west door of the Cathedral and conducted by the Army’s Chaplain General, The Reverend Doctor David George Coulter QHC CB.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales said: “It is the greatest pleasure for me to join you here at Salisbury Cathedral to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Army Air Corps and to present the Corps with its new Guidon on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Army aviation has evolved continuously and has played a vital role in many of the key operations worldwide. The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the decisive contribution that soldiers in the air can make to the outcome of the land air battle.”
The Prince along with guests including the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton and Colonel Commandant Army Air Corps, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE, then moved inside the Cathedral - the Corps’ regimental church - to witness the laying to rest of the old Guidon and take part in a service of Thanksgiving led by the Dean of Salisbury The Very Reverend June Osborne DL.
Colonel Richard Green ADC, Regimental Colonel Army Air Corps said: “This is a momentous day for the Army Air Corps for two reasons. First of all this is our 60th anniversary, our diamond jubilee and secondly His Royal Highness, our Colonel in Chief has presented us with our new Guidon. It’s gone fantastically well and it was great to have held this event in what is in effect our ‘local’ church. This is a fantastic day for all serving and veteran members of the AAC”
Music was provided by The Band & Bugles of the Rifles and there was a special fly past by aircraft past and present.
Click here to view images of the visit.
Notes to editors:
• The Army Air Corps (AAC) is the British Army’s Combat Aviation Arm. AAC soldiers operate and fly the Apache Attack Helicopter and the Wildcat Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter.
• In 2017 the Corps celebrates its 60th Anniversary, having been established on 1st September 1957. The Prince of Wales took on the position of Colonel-in-Chief of the AAC in 1992 and in 2014 Prince Harry completed an attachment with the Corps as a helicopter pilot.
• The principal purpose of the Guidon was to provide a rallying point in battle, and the word Guidon is derived from the French “Guide Homme”, to ‘Guide Man’. Today the Guidon is no longer carried into battle but emblazoned with Honors and the proudest position of a military Corps or Regiment.
• The School children attending today were from Salisbury’s Cathedral School and The Wallop Primary School, Hampshire.
For more information on The Army Air Corps please see link: