The latest RAF Regiment Gunners were privileged to be joined by one of the very first in attendance for the Graduation of TG Course 6-20 on 12 August.

John Mace of Salford, Manchester was delighted to spend his 100th birthday treat in the audience with Station executives and friends and families of the latest graduates.

Kept very good company by the Corps Warrant Officer, Mr Griffin, who pulled up a chair next to John and said “This is my pleasure…today I will call you Sir.” Together they were able to talk all things RAF Regiment and compare notes on how things have changed.

Trainee Gunner Course 6-20 of Meiktila Flight is part of a new generation of Trainee Gunners who have successfully completed their Phase 1 training at RAF Halton prior to arriving at the RAF Regiment Training Wing here at RAF Honington for a further 20 weeks of Phase 2 training.
‘Meiktila’ commemorates the critical RAF airfield in Burma, defended against the Japanese by an RAF Regiment Wing in March 1945.

Accompanied by members of his family, John also visited the RAF Regiment Heritage Centre where he was able to step back in time and see some of the displays including a 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun of the type that he would have used in 1942 as an RAF Regiment Gunner himself.

John was called up in 1941 as Leading Aircraftman Mace and joined the RAF Regiment when they formed in 1942. He joined 2800 Squadron and spent time deployed in the Romney Marshes helping to defend London from V-1 flying bombs. In 1944 he departed for Normandy and thereafter served at various locations across Europe until the end of the War when the Squadron was disbanded in 1945 at Dedelstorf, Germany.

John said: “The graduates looked very smart today, except for their rifle. It’s not as smart as when we had the Lee Enfield rifle!”

Officially turning 100 years old on 27 August, John loves ‘a tot of whisky in his tea and a drop of Guinness!’

We were honoured to host you John and you are always welcome at RAF Honington.