Veterans see standard enter retirement

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THE standard of a regional branch of the Royal Air Forces Association has been retired from duty after more than half a century as ageing veterans are no longer able to parade it.

A service was held yesterday in the chapel of the Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, near York, when the Standard of the Yorkshire (Eastern) Region of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) was officially laid up.

It will now stand in the chapel alongside the National Standard of the Air Gunners Association and those of other squadrons and RAF associations.

A total of 35 members from RAFA branches including Castleford, Tadcaster, Selby, York, Driffield, Bridlington, Hull, Ryedale and Whitby attended the ceremony.

Among them was Maurice Voase, who embarked on a lengthy RAF career when he joined in 1940 with 614 Army Co-operation Squadron on aircraft and general duties.

He said: “Today was a day I thought I would not see in my lifetime, but the age factor is playing its part and taking its toll. It is extremely sad, but almost inevitable that the standard would have to be laid up at some point.”

The standard was first paraded in the mid-1950s and there has been a series of standard bearers over the intervening decades. Felicity Richardson was the standard bearer for the past eight years, and claimed the ceremony marked a “very emotional day”.

Cyril Shreeve, who served with the RAF between 1941 and 1946, was the main organiser of the event and has been the Yorkshire (Eastern) Region RAFA’s president for the past three years. He claimed the service marked a “sad occasion for this region”.

The standard was paraded for the final time when a service was held in York Minster in October last year to commemorate the French airmen stationed at RAF Elvington during the Second World War. A memorial was also unveiled in the Minster, the first of its kind in an English cathedral.