RAF

Sixth RAF Poseidon Aircraft Named 'Guernsey's Reply'

It honours an historic bond between RAF 201 Squadron, Guernsey and a Second World War fighter pilot.

The sixth of the UK's Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft will carry the name 'Guernsey's Reply'.

It honours the close bond between RAF 201 Squadron, Guernsey and Flight Lieutenant Herbert Machon OBE, the Royal Air Force said.

It added that the naming of the airplane marks Guernsey's 76th 'Liberation Day'.

Herbert 'Herbie' Machon flew Spitfires for the RAF in the Second World War, having left his Guernsey homeland just before the Nazi occupation.

As a tribute to his comrades living under German occupation, he gave his fighter aircraft the nickname 'Guernsey's Reply'.

The World War Two veteran died in 2004, and RAF 201 Squadron acted as pallbearers at his funeral service.

2011 saw the disbandment of the maritime squadron, which was said to be the last to keep a local affiliation. It carried the moniker 'Guernsey's Own' – a tribute to the connection forged under the Municipal Liaison Scheme on 5 May 1939 with the opening of Guernsey Airport.

RAF Poseidon aircraft nicknamed Guernsey's Reply (Picture: RAF).

201 Squadron is due to be back at RAF Lossiemouth later this year, after a 10-year absence, and will operate the new Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft alongside 120 Squadron.

Wing Commander Adam Smolak, Officer Commanding 201 Squadron, said: "No 201 Squadron will stand up this summer and I am looking forward to retrieving the Standard from Guernsey where it was held for safekeeping in the hope that the squadron would return, and the affiliation could continue.

"It is an honour to bring the squadron back to maritime operations; the coming years will be challenging and exciting in equal measure and it is vital that as we move forward, we retain this historic link."

The Bailiff of Guernsey, Richard McMahon, said: "The people of Guernsey take great pride in the long-standing and unique relationship the Island has with 201 Squadron, "Guernsey's Own". 

"We are looking forward to re-affirming that affiliation later this year when the squadron will stand up once again."

Cover image: RAF.