Colours consecrated in cathedral

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has presented No. 22 (City of Sydney) Squadron with a replacement Squadron Standard with additional battle honours.

CAPTION: The No. 22 Squadron Standard is prepared to be marched out during a replacement and laying up ceremony at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney. Story by Flying Officer Robert Hodgson. Photo by Corporal David Said.

The ceremony, held at Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral on November 19, was attended by distinguished guests, members of the squadron and family members.

A Queen’s Colour, Squadron Standard or Governor-General’s Banner, are generically termed “Colours” and are the services’ most cherished possession. They embody the service traditions, achievements and history of the unit and are a tangible recognition of the services’ devotion to duty, the Sovereign and to Australia.

No. 22 Squadron Commanding Officer Wing Commander Shawn Bellas said the consecration of a new standard was an important historical event for the squadron and a proud moment for Air Force members because it recognised the achievements of all aviators past and present.

“As Commanding Officer, it is the highlight of the year and the culmination point for all the hard work No. 22 Squadron members had to endure during the extended lockdown period,” Wing Commander Bellas said.

The event included the “laying up” of the retiring Squadron Standard, which will be preserved in the chapel at Air Force’s spiritual home, Point Cook.

The new Squadron Standard included new theatre and campaign honours recognising the squadron’s involvement in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

No. 22 Squadron was initially formed in 1936 at RAAF Base Richmond, on the outskirts of Sydney. The squadron served in Australia and Papua New Guinea during WWII and later followed the war to the Philippines as the Japanese were pushed back.

Flying A-20 Boston bombers from early 1942, the squadron built up a fearsome reputation and played an important role in wrestling the initiative from the enemy.

The squadron’s most recognised member is Flight Lieutenant Bill Newton, VC. Flight Lieutenant Newton was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions as a bomber pilot.

Pressing home a series of attacks on Japanese positions, Flight Lieutenant Newton’s aircraft was engaged by anti-aircraft fire and forced to ditch into the sea. Captured, along with another surviving crew member, Flight Lieutenant Newton and his comrade were executed by their captors.

His Victoria Cross was the only such award bestowed on a RAAF member in the Pacific Theatre during WWII.

Following the war, No. 22 Squadron operated as a fighter squadron as part of the Civilian Air Force. Today, No. 22 Squadron operates as the Airbase Operations Support Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond and enjoys a strong relationship with the Greater Sydney community.





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