Gallery: Prince Harry praises RAF Honington 26 Squadron for ‘vital role’ they play in the UK’s response to terrorism on visit to Suffolk

Prince Harry attends the 26 Squadron RAF Regiment Standard Parade at RAF Honington

Prince Harry attends the 26 Squadron RAF Regiment Standard Parade at RAF Honington - Credit: Gregg Brown

Prince Harry has praised a Suffolk RAF squadron for their “determination” and the “vital role” they play in the UK’s response to terrorism.

His Royal Highness attended RAF Honington yesterday to present 26 Squadron with a new Standard, an incredibly important occasion for any RAF squadron.

The squadron is a specialist Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) unit.

Prince Harry, the base’s Honorary Air Commandant, watched on as the regiment paraded on the apron at the airfield, describing it afterwards as the best he had seen.

Addressing the squadron, he said: “26 Squadron has earned a distinguished reputation amongst the UK’s armed forces since its incarnation in 1951.

“Consistent with the origins of the RAF Regiment, 26 Squadron was formed as a ground-based air defence unit; a role that the squadron fulfilled until it was disbanded in 2008.

“The Squadron was reincarnated in 2010 as a specialist CBRN unit. This role is vital to UK Defence and Civil response capabilities; it is also highly valued by NATO. Alongside 27 Squadron, it is constantly committed at extremely-high readiness to support the combined emergency service and military response to a CBRN terrorist incident in the UK.”

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Praising the unit’s role he said: “It is clear that every member of the Squadron possesses the determination and professionalism to succeed, even in the most arduous of circumstances. Traits which have ensured the Squadron’s success since its formation and that are embodied in this new Standard and the proud history it represents.”

The Standard is a flag flown by the squadron and they are usually renewed just four times a century.

Squadron Leader Matt Norris led the parade, he said: “We are very proud. I think it [Prince Harry’s visit] is a huge honour.

“He is here in his capacity as Honorary Commander of RAF Honington so for him to be here on this day is a great honour and we are very, very, proud.

“He is very highly regarded amongst the military, as you might expect with everything that he has done within the service as a serving officer, and the things he has done for the injured personnel as well.

“It is a huge event [renewing the Standard], it doesn’t come round very often, it has been 35 years.”

26 Squadron’s SSC Liam Fisher, 27, who was born in Diss, said: “It is a great honour to have him presenting our standard today.”

When asked if the presence of Prince Harry made the day any harder, he said: “I think the extra bit of pressure helps, it helps the adrenaline and makes you sharper.

“We have been preparing for a good few weeks now. Spending hours marching round getting told what’s wrong and what’s right and just working on little areas to make it all flow.”

To see a video of Prince Harry’s visit