Typhoon of 6 Squadron taking to the skies during Exercise Red Flag Defence Imagery

In 1968 a series of programmes were made documenting the histories of the squadrons based at RAF Akrotiri at the time.

Now, 50 years on, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, we are revisiting those squadrons still in existence to see where they are and how much has changed.

LISTEN > RAF 100: Wings Over Cyprus

In the first of these special programmes, we follow 6 Squadron, one of the Royal Air Force’s frontline Typhoon squadrons, who spent the centenary back in Cyprus flying operational sorties as part of Operation Shader.

OC 6 Squadron Wing Commander Billy Cooper:

"It is fascinating for us to see that on the actual day of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force we’ll be flying operational missions over Iraq and Syria."

From the archives, we hear about the squadrons early successes, from those who were there right at the beginning, and compare that to their present-day role.

Senior Engineering Officer Chris Harris:

“When you see one of these aircraft come in at the end of a sortie, it’s beautiful to watch. It’s like a Formula 1 hit team”

Interestingly 70 years on, they are still flying in the same airspace around the Middle East as their forefathers, and still call RAF Akrotiri, their former base, a home away from home while conducting operations.

6 Sqn Op Shader

Members of 6 Squadron have recently returned from OP SHADER and reflect on their contribution to the operation. #RAFOps

Posted by Royal Air Force on Thursday, 31 May 2018

 

A junior pilot explained the importance of the job at hand.

“6 Squadron's got quite a lot of history in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. To be back again is quite surreal I think for a squadron to come back to the same place a full 70 or 80 years after they first sort of visited.

"Back on the squadron there’s a picture of the squadron overflying the hills around Mosul in two aircraft and it’s really nice to think that we’re following in our ancestors' steps providing safety and security to the people who live in Iraq”

Forces Radio BFBS Cyprus presenters Jade Callaway & Jess Bracey spoke with current serving members of 6 Squadron about the highs & lows of their deployment, what they think the RAF will be like in another 50 years and the debate surrounding their nickname – are they the can openers or the tin openers?