RAF Cranwell

Air Commodore Andrew Dickens has become the 43rd Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell.

Group Captain Dr Joanne Campbell, Station Commander at RAF Cranwell, recently welcomed the new Commandant to the RAF College.

Air Commodore Dickens is the RAF Phase 1 Force Commander, Air Officer Lincolnshire, Head of the University Air Squadron Organisation and Chair of the Astra Trust.

Air Commodore Dickens takes over from Suraya Marshall, who earlier this year became the first woman to command one of the RAF’s two ‘Operational’ Groups. She was appointed as the new Air Officer Commanding of the RAF’s Number 2 Group.

The task of her successor – Air Commodore Dickens – is to inspire, attract, train and develop the Next Generation Royal Air Force.

Air Commodore Dickens and Group Captain Dr Joanne Campbell in front of College Hall Officers’ Mess. | Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

He said: “I feel genuinely humbled to have been selected as Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell. Having just finished training the current generation of Air and Space Qualified Weapons Instructors it will be an immense privilege to attract, train and develop the Next Generation Air Force at the RAF College.

“I am looking forward to working with the personnel across all areas of the RAF College which includes RAF Cranwell, RAF Halton, RAF Officer Training Academy, No 6 Flying Training School, Tedder Academy of Leadership and the Robson Academy of Resilience.

“Having first walked through the gates here at RAF Cranwell some 30 years ago, I am honoured to be selected to prepare the next generation for a period of enormous change. The journey towards Astra and the Next Generation Air Force has already begun and it is our job across the RAF College to attract, train and develop RAF personnel.”

A weapons system operator based at RAF Cranwell will be taking part in the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for the Royal Air Force’s leading welfare charity.

It will be the first full marathon for Sergeant Rich Bond, who also took part in the Vitality Big Half in August. He hopes to run the race in under three hours to qualify for a ‘Good for Age’ place next year.

The 33-year-old will race in the London Marathon on Sunday, October 3 to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provides financial, practical and emotional support to the whole of the Royal Air Force family, both serving personnel and veterans, as well as their partners and dependants.

Rich has so far raised over £200 – donate to his fundraiser here.

The RAF serviceman will also compete in the Royal Parks Half Marathon on October 10.

He said: “Some of my friends and colleagues have benefited from the services the RAF Benevolent Fund provides. The Fund’s support was invaluable to them, so I wanted to do something to give back to the charity.

“I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere of the crowds and I’m hoping to run it in under three hours in order to qualify for a ‘Good For Age’ place next year.

“Pacing and fuelling myself so I have enough energy and speed across the whole distance will be hard as pacing isn’t my strong suit! Recovery will also be quite tough as I have the Royal Parks Half Marathon the following weekend too.”

Heather Kemp, Community Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “We are so incredibly grateful for Rich’s support, which will allow the Fund to continue to be there for the whole of the RAF Family for years to come.

“By taking on this gruelling challenge, Rich is not only helping raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund; he’s also helping to raise awareness of the support the Fund offers to other veterans, serving personnel, and their families.”

Donate to Rich’s marathon fundraiser here

Royalty was in Lincolnshire on Thursday as Princess Anne attended the graduation ceremony for cadets at RAF College Cranwell.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal arrived at the College Parade Square as the reviewing officer for the Sovereign’s Review.

She was escorted by the Commandant of the Royal Air Force College to take the royal salute while a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight gave a flypast.

Royal company for the cadets who recieved their course prizes. | Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

The Sovereign’s Review comprised of officer cadets from both the initial officer training course number six and the commissioned warrant officer course number 23.

When the graduating officers were reviewed, Princess Anne presented the course prizes, including the Annual Prizewinners Awards and The Jackie Moggridge Spitfire Award, for top performing cadets.

The Royal Princess met with all the cadet officers during the ceremony. | Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

The parade then concluded with a flypast from 47 Squadron, Royal Air Force Brize Norton, accompanied by music from the band of the Royal Air Force College.

The ceremony provided cadets with a unique opportunity to meet The Princess Royal, who was then invited to plant a Cherry Blossom tree beside the College Parade Square, as per tradition.

An “extra special day” for the graduating officers. | Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

Commandant of the Royal Air Force College, Air Commodore Suraya Marshall said: “I am delighted to watch modularised initial officer training course six and commissioned warrant officer course 23 graduate today, on what is my last parade as Commandant Cranwell.

“The day has been extra special for the graduating officers, their families, and the Squadron staff with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in attendance.

“I wish the newly graduated officers all the very best in their future Royal Air Force careers.”

Princess Anne. | Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

| Photo: MOD Crown Copyright

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