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Freedom of the City for RAF Gibraltar

To commemorate the Battle of Britain RAF Gibraltar held a series of events to mark this anniversary, these included a Sunset Ceremony, BBQ, Flypast, a formal dinner, and church service. A Hawk trainer jet from 100 Squadron RAF Leeming conducted a flypast over RAF Gibraltar at the same time many VIP's attended the Sunset Ceremony with the Governor of Gibraltar Lieutenant General Sir James Dutton KCB CBE taking the salute. Air Commodore Alison Mardell (Deputy Legal Services Air Command) and RAF Gibraltar Station Commander Wing Commander Greg Smith representing the Royal Air Force. In musical support the Band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment played many of the favourite tunes associated to the RAF.

RAF Gibraltar will be bestowed with the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar after MPs unanimously voted in favour of the motion at the last session of Parliament.

Chief Minster Fabian Picardo highlighted the historical role the RAF has played in Gibraltar during the past 100 years as it celebrates its centenary, including the building of the runway.

The House heard from the Leader of the Opposition Elliot Phillips who served as a cadet in RAF Gibraltar. He said the RAF served as an inspiration for future generations of Gibraltarians through its cadet training programme.

Edwin Reyes, who was a founding member of the RAF Number 2 Air Training Squadron, said many young Gibraltarians who did not want to be evacuated from Gibraltar volunteered to join the air cadets and serve as assistants during the Second World War.

He paid tribute to the late Commissioner of Police Joe Canepa, who later worked with cadets.

Trevor Hammond said it is important that the community recognises that the RAF ensures the safety of all flights that go through Gibraltar.

Mr Hammond told the House the airport runway in Gibraltar was kept open for 24 hours during the Cold War in case of emergency landings and said: “Gibraltar played a crucial role in supporting the activity of the RAF.”

Independent MP Marlene Hassan-Nahon said this was a well-deserved accolade.