A new memorial will commemorate the centenary of No 101 Squadron, Royal Air Force, and will be dedicated at the national Memorial Arboretum (in Alrewas, Staffordshire) on Saturday 23rd September.
Today the unit flies the Voyager, the largest aircraft in RAF service, from its base at RAF Brize Norton, but 100 years ago 101 (pronounced one-oh-one) Squadron was formed to pioneer dangerous night bombing operations over the Western Front in obsolete biplanes. In a century of almost continuous service, 101 Sqn served in Bomber Command and participated in some of the greatest air battles the world has ever witnessed. It was the first main force Lancaster bomber squadron to use top secret electronic countermeasures but paid the highest price of any RAF unit, losing over 1,100 aircrew in World War Two alone.
It was also the first to fly jet bombers in combat and has seen operational service in Malaya, Suez, the Falklands, Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Libya and Syria. For 25 years during the Cold War it flew the Avro Vulcan, and its crews flew the first and last Vulcan bombing raids on Port Stanley.
The 101 Sqn Association was formed in 1978. To commemorate the original formation of 101 Sqn on July 12, 1917, its members and veterans have raised over £35,000 to construct a Centenary Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum. The dedication of this memorial will take place at 2pm on Saturday, September 23.
For more about the memorial and the 101 Squadron Association see its website: http://101squadronassociation.org.uk/