FLAG Zone    -    Events and Activities

 

 

FLAG Present

FLAG supports Sqn Ldr Alfie Hall's fundraising in aid of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

At Families Day 2017 FLAG handed over a donation to Leeming Officer Sqn Ldr Alfie Hall, O.C. 607 (County of Durham ) Squadron, in support of  his fundraising efforts on behalf of the RAFBF. Alfie did an unsupported bike trek from Lands End to John O'Groats, although he in fact made it as far as Kirkwall in the Orkneys. FLAG's aim is to support both RAF Leeming and the wider RAF family, so this donation was particularly appropriate to our mission.

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Members visit RAF Menwith Hill

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Leeming Visit - 29 (R) Squadron Typhoon detachment 

Following on from the 100 Sqn Centenary Event, the end of March saw our second visit to Leeming during the month. FLAG was hosted by 29 (R) Squadron on detachment from Coningsby which again allowed members to get close up to their Typhoons both in the HAS and during launching and recovery. Being that close to operational Typhoons is always impressive and FLAG expresses our sincere thanks to the 29 Sqn guys for the time they spent talking to us about their flying experiences both with Typhoons and other aircraft including the new F-35.

Photo - Peter Forbes


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100 Sqn Centenary Day

FLAG members were invited to this non public event to celebrate the Centenary of 100 Squadron. For further info see the Lee Zone 2 page.

 

 FLAG Christmas Lunch and donation to the charity fund established by                   SAC Shahbaz Saleem

 

FLAG ended 2016 with our annual Christmas Lunch held in the Maple Leaf Suite of the Junior Ranks Mess at RAF Leeming. Prior to our lunch FLAG made a donation to Flight Sergeant Marley for the Pendleside Hospice, in honour of SAC Shahbaz Saleem who is described in our Lee Zone 1.


Flight Sergeant Thorpe and his team made us extremely welcome. Corporal Washbrooke and the staff from the Officers Mess provided friendly and efficient service, and the food was truly delicious. Our guests were Sqn Ldr Tim Darley and also Flt Lt James Harris, a previous FLAG officer, who gave a fascinating talk on his experiences in South Africa on exchange with their airforce.

It was a fitting end to a very successful 2016 year for FLAG and we look forward to continuing our relationship with RAF Leeming in 2017.


Since this event, Flt Lt James Harris has been confirmed as our FLAG 1 OIC representing a real "back to the future" for the group. Prior to his South African tour James was our longest serving FLAG officer and all FLAG members welcome him back into the fold. 


 

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FLAG President, AVM (Retd) Phil Roser presents our donation to Flt Sgt Marley accompanied by the Stn Cdr Gp Cpn David Arthurton


FLAG sponsors an award at RAF Leeming's Inaugural Awards Evening

 

On Wednesday 23 November 2016, RAF Leeming held an Inaugural Awards Dinner celebrating achievement, success and participation among the Junior Ranks and NCO's across the station. FLAG was delighted to sponsor the "Contribution to Charity Award" which was won by  SAC Chris Edge and presented by our President, AVM (Ret'd) Phil Roser. The award formally recognised the significant contribution to charitable efforts made by SAC Chris Edge over the last 12 months. 

Guest speaker was Duncan Slater from the charity "Walking with the Wounded" who started the evening with an inspirational talk about his experiences since leaving the RAF after sustaining his severe injuries in Helmand in 2009. Duncan was the first double amputee veteran to race to the South Pole and also the first to compete in the world's toughest marathon, the "Marathon des Sables". Furthermore, he has also completed the London Marathon. Duncan now works with the Charity to support all veterans with injuries helping them rebuild their lives and provide security for themselves and their families.

FLAG was proud to be involved with this inaugural event at Leeming which was a fitting way to cement the Station's links with FLAG.

 

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FLAG President, AVM (Ret'd) Phil Roser presents SAC Chris Edge with the "Contribution to Charity" Award.

The Spitfire itself was kindly donated by our FLAG Treasurer and will be a permanent feature of all future Awards Events.

 

Gp Cpn Bradshaw (front centre), Duncan Slater (rear 4 from left), Wg Cdr Clarke (rear 2 from right) with sponsors and the award winners

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FLAG Past  - featuring some posts from our archive

FLAG Visit to RAF Cranwell

FLAG visit to the RAF College at Cranwell and afterwards 55(R) Squadron. Our visit coincided with a Families Day event which included a Falcons Para display and flypast by the BBMF Dakota.

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FLAG visit to East Kirby and the BBMF

Some FLAG members made the journey to the bomber county of Lincolnshire to first visit East Kirby Airfield followed by our tour of the BBMF at Coningsby. At East Kirby the star attraction is of course Lancaster NX611 "Just Jane" which made its regular engine and taxi run twice during the day. Hearing and seeing Just Jane close up was amazing and well worth the journey on its own. However East Kirby is much more than just the Lancaster and members were able to enjoy both the sunshine and the excellent Museum exhibits. All agreed that East Kirby is a very well structured Museum and a fitting memorial to the 55.000 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives during WW11. For more information about East Kirbyvisit their website here.



Following our visit to East Kirby we made the short journey to the BBMF at Coningsby for a tour of their hanger which included seeing Candadian Lancaster C-GVRA complete with new engine installed. It was undergoing engineering work prior to the final display at Southport and then the homeward flight back to Hamilton in Canada. As part of the visit FLAG made a presentation of a cheque to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum as a contribution to the funding of this unique visit to the UK.

Some FLAG members omitted the East Kirby part of the visit and spent the day at Coningsby watching the considerable activity in the circuit. All reported an excellent day's spotting with Typhoons. E-3s, Dakota and other types all flying during the day. 


Photos by Colin Fawcett. More of Colin's photos can be seen in his Flickr portfolio.

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Our FLAG Treasurer presents the cheque to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum together with us saying our farewells to the great Canadian guys who kept C-GVRA flying during its UK visit.

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Joint FLAG/CAS visits to the USAFE bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall

FLAG combined with Cleveland Aviation Society to mount "Joints Ops" visits to the USAFE bases of RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall.


RAF Lakenheath Report by Colin Fawcett, CAS Sec


As we arrived at Lakenheath very early, we took the opportunity to park up at the spotters' enclosure to catch the early departures returning. On arriving at Gate 8 we were subjected to the customary ID checks whilst waiting for our host, Amanda Sampson, Sr A,  of the 48th F/W P.A. Once the bus was checked over we then headed across to ATC. Here the group split into three smaller groups to look round the Control Tower, RAPCON and Weather. The Tower is run on the same lines as our own RAF stations being manned by three to four personnel. RAPCON controllers must be familiar with seven different key operational areas: assist, approach, arrival, military operation area controller, clearance delivery, coordinator and finals.


At the weather section our Host Lt Nu, (Captain America) gave a very thorough and informative insight into the importance to the squadron the weather section plays whereby they need to be able to plot what the weather is going to do at any time. For those wondering about Lt Nu’s nickname it came about because of his love of Super hero movies. He also has in the complex a Captain America shield which was modelled by Tom Clement so that he could go back and tell his grandson he’d met Captain America.



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Above - Our host for the visit, Amanda Sampson and Weather Section host,  Lt "Captain America' Nu.

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Above - Tom in Captain America mode and group members in the ATC Tower.

After all three groups had been round the three sections we then headed across to the 48th FW Complex where we picked up Chad James, WSO and Nathan Janssen, pilot, both of the 492FS The Madhatters. Again splitting into two groups we were shown the Ops Room and Flight Safety and Survival section.

The name Madhatters is part of the history of the squadron.Whilst based in France the pilots and WSO when off duty would wear berets. On moving to England they decided that they needed to change these so they decided on Bowler hats. In the corridor to the ops room on each side of the walls are miniature F15 tails with each jet serial no. and the name of the Pilot and WSO for that jet which is also accompanied by a hook that holds each person’s bowler hat.

 

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With both groups back together we took the short walk from the complex and out to the flight line. Here an F15E Strike Eagle had been set up inside a HAS for the group to look over and photograph. A short briefing about the capabilities of the Eagle was interrupted on a number of occasions as the afternoon sorties took off. Once finished here it was back to the bus for a group photograph. As the afternoon departures were due back we got the driver to head back to the spotting enclosure so we could watch them arrive.

Thanks to Amanda and all of the personnel from the 48th FW who showed the group around and answered the numerous questions fired at them.



 

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Above - A1C Erin R. Babis, 48 FW Public Affairs Photojournalist, who accompanied the group during our tour with Phil, CAS Chairman.


All photos by Erin Babis and Colin Fawcett. For more of Colin's photos see the Members Zone of this website and his flickr account. Colin's flickr photos can be accessed directly via the weblink on our Info Zone page - see Shawbury Photo Gallery heading.

RAF Mildenhall Report

Following the visit to Lakenheath, another early start was in order for our trip to RAF Mildenhall. After clearing the now familiar ID checks at the Gate we were met by our Mildenhall hosts for an initial bus and walking tour of base facilities. A leisurely lunch was taken in the fast food centre following this tour, after which we went airside to our hosts, the 100th A.R.W. An initial briefing covered the history and current operations of the 100th in its role of air tanking. A lively question and answer session followed the briefing which was enjoyed by all the group. Thereafter followed the highlight of our visit when we moved to the flightline to get a very thorough tour of a KC-135 on the ramp. Members were given considerable time for both external and internal inspections of the aircraft accompanied by our hosts from the Wing. Every part of the aircraft was covered from the front office to the business end where the boom operator lies prone to fly the boom during refueling sorties. Having briefly sampled the operator's position myself, I have nothing but admiration for the guys and gals who endure what is a less than comfortable task for hours on end during a sortie. The visit ended all too soon and we said our farewell to our hosts at Mildenhall. Our thanks to everyone who made the visit such a success and we all hope to have Mildenhall operational for some time longer yet.

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Photos by Colin Fawcett and Linda Hornby.

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FLAG on the flightline with Typhoons of 29 Squadron during RAF Leeming visit

FLAG members made a visit to RAF Leeming in which coincided with a detachment of 29 Sqn Typhoons to Leeming. Firstly we had a tour of ATC including both the Radar and Visual sections which included access to the viewing balcony where members were able to take superb photographs of the flying action. With Hawks, Typhoons and even German Transalls using the airfield, it was like a return to the days of the F3 Wing at Leeming. Following ATC we moved to the Northern HAS area and flightline where 29 Sqn were operating. A close inspection and comprehensive guided tour of one of the aircraft on the flightline was given by our 29 Sqn host officer. This was interupted at very regular intervals by the amazing sight and sound of many Typhoons recovering to our flightline. Numerous photographs were taken and members were able to talk to aircrew as they climbed down from their cockpits after the missions. To be so close to the sharp end of Royal Air Force flight operations was both exciting and a very great privilege. It will stay in members' memories for a very long time. The visit ended with a look at Leeming's new F3 Gate Guardian, which was a reminder of the F3 Wing days. It looked both pristine and purposeful and also had a FLAG connection in that it was F3's like this that our President, AVM Roser flew while Station Commander at Leeming. A truly excellent day.



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FLAG Christmas Lunch 2015


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FLAG ended 2015 with a successful Christmas Lunch Event held in the Officers' Mess at RAF Leeming, attended by our President and his wife, our two Leeming FLAG Officers, Wg Cdr Andy Wright, O.C. 100 Sqn and guest speaker Sqn Ldr Tony Cowan (above with our President). An excellent lunch was enjoyed by everyone and FLAG extends our thanks to the Leeming Mess staff for the meal and service. Following the lunch members retired to the Allingham Room to hear our guest speaker share his experiences of flying the Chipmunks around the world during Exercise Northern Venture. As a first FLAG lecture we couldn't have had a more enjoyable talk which was especially appropriate given Tony's links to RAF Leeming. Further details can be read on our Members Zone page.


CAS/FLAG Lecture 

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FLAG President AVM (Rtd) Phil Roser entertained a joint CAS/FLAG meeting held at the CAS clubnight venue of Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Club. Members listened to a fascinating talk about aspects of his RAF flying career which began with him acquiring his PPL on the Tiger Moth at only 17 years old. Phil commented that his last flight at Leeming before moving on to many senior staff posts was also in a Tiger Moth visiting for the Annual Air Day. Between these two flights was a varied flying career on fast jets. Joining the RAF at 18 Phil entered Cranwell and underwent flying training on a variety of aircraft including the JP and Gnat before operational posting to a Lightning squadron in the air defence role. Phil entertained us with his Lightning experiences which he regarded as the high point of his fighter pilot career. Post Lightning, he shared his thoughts with us about flying the Phantom, especially as O.C. 111 Squadron and later the Tornado F3. Everyone present appreciated hearing what it was like at the sharp end, flying some of the hottest fast jets around. Although there are many excellent books covering pilot experiences on these aircraft nothing can beat hearing tales from someone who was in the cockpit doing the business, whether intercepting Russian Bears, tanking numerous times on a long sortie or beating up Akrotiri in the final Lightning departure from Cyprus. On behalf of the group can I express our thanks to Phil for holding us spellbound throughout the night. 

Leeming Visit

FLAG members made a visit to RAF Leeming during which we were able to meet socially our Leeming officers. Members were invited to the Officers Mess for drinks in the bar which was followed by an excellent lunch in the Mess. Our grateful thanks to the catering staff for providing the lunch event which everyone enjoyed enormously.

Following our lunch we moved to the HTF where our Dep. OIC gave us a fascinating illustrated talk about his experiences as part of the recent deployment to Siauliai Airbase in Lithuania in support of the Baltic Air Policing  Operation. Derek's "day job"is as a logistics expert with Leeming's Logistics Squadron which provided logistical support to 90 S.U. and the Typhoons  operating there.His talk covered the political and operational background to the deployment as well as explaining the logistical tasks of getting all the kit there and back from Lithuania. He gave us an insight into the realities of Lithuania as a new NATO member living next to a resurgent Russia as well as his own "policing responsibilities" as officer in charge of discipline during the deployment. The talk was thoroughly enjoyed by all and FLAG thanks Derek for giving us such an entertaining session.

We finally ended the day by returning to the Officers Mess where we had the use of a Mess room in which to hold a FLAG meeting to discuss future plans. Our sincere thanks to our OIC for securing the approval of the President of the Mess Committee to put such a facility at the disposal of FLAG. The PMC has offered to make this facility available on a regular number of occasions during for which we are grateful.

 

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Top - Members relaxing post lunch in the Leeming Officers Mess

Below - FLAG Hon member Ken Baker, with our Flag Membership Secretary, make a nostalgic return to an Officers Mess after his wartime and post war service with the Royal Air Force as a Flight Lieutenant in Bomber Command flying Lancasters on operations.





Left - FLAG Dep. OIC, giving his talk to members in the HTF     Right - FLAG OIC with members in the Mess



 

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FLAG marks the 75th anniversary of RAF Leeming at the Battle of Britain Reception

 

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FLAG marked its 25 year association with RAF Leeming and celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Station at RAF Leeming's Battle of Britain Reception on 2nd September 2015. FLAG President, AVM Phil Roser, presented the Station Commander, Group Captain David Bradshaw, with a framed print showing a Tornado F.3 of 25 (F) Squadron launching on QRA from Leeming to intercept an incursion into UK airspace.

Following the reception in the Officers Mess, there was a Sunset Parade followed by a short flying display from Spitfire, Hurricane and Hawk.

Sept 15

 

Air Vice-Marshal  P. W. Roser CB, MBE, RAF (Retd) becomes FLAG President

 

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FLAG is delighted to announce that AVM Phil Roser has agreed to become the first President of Friends of Leeming Aviation Group. The appointment of Phil Roser as President of FLAG in 2015 is particularly appropriate as it is exactly 25 years since Friends of Leeming was established as a result of his initiative when Station Commander at RAF Leeming. Our thanks to Phil for his acceptance.

AVM Phil Roser joined the Royal Air Force in 1966 as a cadet at the RAF College Cranwell. After flying training he did tours with seven fighter squadrons, flying the Lightning, Phantom and Tornado F3 all in the air defence role. Operational missions included QRA in Germany, Cyprus and the UK and patrolling the NATO No-Fly Zone over the Former Yugoslavia when he was the first RAF detachment commander in southern Italy. He was a weapons instructor on the Lightining before becoming the C. O. of No 111 (F) Squadron at RAF Leuchars. The painting shows his personal F4 Phantom painted for the 70th anniversary of 111 Squadron in 1987. Phil then become Station Commander at RAF Leeming when it operated the F3 Wing as well as RAF Regiment, UAS, an Army unit and much more. Despite his heavy operational duties he found time to establish FOL for which we are eternally grateful.


In addition to flying fast jets, as a graduate of the RAF Advanced Staff College and the Royal College of Defence Studies, Phil has undertaken many desk tours during his career with the RAF. He has served both at HQ Strike Command and the Ministry of Defence, including at the latter as Military Assistant to the Minister for the Armed Forces. The final ten years of his thirty seven service saw a number of postings in the international field. These included being the UK Liason Officer to United States European Command in Stuttgart, senior airman in the NATO Stabilisation Force HQ in Sarajevo and Deputy UK Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels. His final post was Chairman of the Senior Directing Staff of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. During these three and a half years he was also Chairman of the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly and a Trustee of the Royal Air Forces Benevolent Fund.


Phil was awarded the MBE in 1983 and was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2003, retiring in that year before moving to North Yorkshire with Andrea his wife. Both are active locally in community events such as Rotary and also leading monthly walks in North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

2015


Gripens at close range - member's photos taken during our visit to Leeming during JW16-2

 

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                                            Leeming Visit - the HTF and Gripens


Our Autumn visit to Leeming provided the group with another varied programme including a tour by our 2 OIC of the much developed Historical Training Facility (HTF). As numbers on the visit were at a record level we divided into two groups for this tour and the alternate group were given an impressive demonstration by members of the Derek's Logistics Squadron. This showed how quickly air portable shelters could be erected by the squadron when on expeditionary operations such as recently in the Baltic states and elsewhere. 
Following the HTF we moved to the northern HAS area to hear a fascinating talk by the Swedish Gripen Commander, Lt Col Nelson, about their participation in Joint Warrior and Gripen operations in Sweden. Afterwards we moved to the flightline to enable members to watch and photograph the Gripens close up. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our visit and once again we express our thanks to Leeming for hosting the visit.
Photos - Paul Rainford/Leeming/Colin Fawcett -Colin's Flickr portfolio can be accessed via the weblink on Info Zone. More photos-page end.
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Leeming Visit - the Red Arrows and a Farewell, Welcome and Congratulations

 

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The highlight of the FLAG Leeming visit in June 2016 was a fascinating talk supported by videos given by Flt Lt Chris Lyndon-Smith. Currently of 100 Squadron, Chris completed a 2011-13 tour as a Red Arrows pilot before joining the squadron. He briefed members about all aspects of the Red Arrows including their origins in previous RAF aerobatic teams, official purpose and current structure and operational activities. In particular he was able to draw upon his own experiences in undergoing the rigorous Reds selection procedures before achieving the "proudest moment of his career so far - changing his olive green for the famous red flying suit ". Afterwards as a pilot with the team he was able bring inside information to his talk, full of technical expertise, flying knowledge and many anecdotes about life with the Red Arrows. Despite much TV media coverage of the team in recent years Chris brought something to members which isn't possible in the public domain. At the end of his talk Chris answered members' questions which covered a wide variety of topics such as display flying with the Red Arrows, comments on display sites and expert views on a number of other flying topics. FLAG extends its sincere thanks to Chris for allowing us to share his amazing experiences with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - the Red Arrows ! An excellent talk enjoyed by all members.

Following the talk by Chris at 100 Squadron Main Briefing Room, we moved via a very busy, warm and sunny flightline to JFACTSU to discuss FLAG business. At the core was the sad task of saying farewell to our OIC "Meds"or Flt Lt Jonny Meadows. Meds has been with FLAG since early 2014 and in that time has supported FLAG superbly playing a key role in both visits and developing the profile of the group at Leeming. A FLAG thank you to Meds and we wish you all the best in your new posting in the Service. Earlier at 100 Squadron MBR we had the opportunity to briefly meet our new OIC, Flt Lt Nigel Wharmby or "Wham" from 100 Squadron. FLAG has had a long association with 100 Squadron at Leeming which has provided our officers going back to the early years of FLAG. We extend a warm welcome to "Wham" and look forward to liaising with him in the future. In briefly talking to us he clearly demonstrated his enthusiasm for flying, not least by having the enviable log of over 2000 hours on the Hawk. Indeed his departure was made nescessary in order to flight test another two Hawk aircraft that afternoon, adding yet more hours to his amazing logbbook ! 

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After the sad farewell to Meds it was followed by an altogether happier event. 

 

FLAG 2 OIC, W.O. Derek McDonough, has been awarded the M.B.E. in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List for more than 30 years of outstanding service. 

 

As well as providing exemplary service as RAF Leeming's Logistics Squadron Warrant Officer,  Derek was a driving force in the regeneration and training of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing which deployed to Lithuania in support of Operation Azotize in 2012.  More recently he was at the heart of the action during the Anglo-French Exercise Griffin Strike.  

 

Derek said " I was completely and utterly shocked and couldn't really speak for a while - there aren't any words to express how I felt in that moment!  I feel very humble and very grateful to a lot of people who put in their time to recommend me.

 

In addition to his work duties Derek enthusiastically runs the Historical Training Facility as well devoting much time and effort to promoting FLAG at Leeming.  

 

On behalf of everyone in FLAG we congratulate Derek on such a well deserved award.

 

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 Photos - Colin Fawcett and Dave Thompson- Above - L to R      Chris, "Meds" and "Wham"

Below - FLAG President, AVM (Rtd) Phil Roser said our farewells, thanks and very best wishes for his future to Meds on behalf of FLAG 

October 2015

Group history

 

Friends of Leeming Aviation Group (FLAG) was formed on the 1st of April ,1998 from an amalgamation of Friends of Leeming (FOL) and Leeming Aviation Group (LAG).  Both groups were interested in RAF Leeming with some diverse and some common interests.


FOL was formed in 1990 on the initiative of the station commander Group Captain P.W.Roser. It was mainly aimed at the local community but was open to anyone with an interest in RAF Leeming. Regular station visits were offered along with special facilities for members at the annual air day. A quarterly newsletter gave an insight into life at Leeming.


LAG was formed in 1994 by local aircraft enthusiasts whose focus was on aircraft movements rather than life at RAF Leeming. A monthly newsletter was published detailing movements at Leeming and beyond. Later, visits to airshows in the UK and Europe were added to the group's activities.

By the end of 1997 both groups saw the benefits of having a single group linked to RAF Leeming and FLAG was formed.


Our hosts   -   100 Squadron