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Last serviceman to leave Camp Bastion takes over command at RAF Honington

PUBLISHED: 14:32 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 19 December 2018

Pictured is the official station commander handover from Group Captain Tait to Group Captain Radnall. Picture: SAC James Ledger

Pictured is the official station commander handover from Group Captain Tait to Group Captain Radnall. Picture: SAC James Ledger

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The last British serviceman to leave the Afghan base of Camp Bastion has taken over as commander of RAF Honington.

Pictured is the official station commander handover from Group Captain David Tait to Group Captain Matt Radnall with Group Captain Tait was driven off the camp in a Scorpion. Picture: SAC James LedgerPictured is the official station commander handover from Group Captain David Tait to Group Captain Matt Radnall with Group Captain Tait was driven off the camp in a Scorpion. Picture: SAC James Ledger

Group Capt Matt Radnall had command of the base handed over to him by previous station commander, Group Capt David Tait on Friday, December 14.

The 46-year-old serviceman has taken over the running of the station with immediate effect and said he was looking forward to working with the youth on the base and is “delighted” to take command.

He said: “I am delighted to take command and I am very much looking forward to getting involved with people who I find here.

“The early impressions are that there is a real variety of people on the station and we have a real mix.

Group Captain David Tait was driven off the camp in a regiment vehicle. Picture: SAC James LedgerGroup Captain David Tait was driven off the camp in a regiment vehicle. Picture: SAC James Ledger

“One thing that really excites me is the opportunity to get to know that bunch of people a lot better.”

Group Capt Radnall, who served at Camp Bastion, the British army’s base in Afghanistan, for the final six months of its operation in 2014, was previously serving with NATO in the Netherlands as part of the Joint Force Command at Brunssum.

After finishing his three year tour with NATO, he was most recently in command of the RAF’s contribution to a major excercise in Oman.

He said: “I have two goals, the first is to support those operational units that live here and deploy from here whether they are going to far flung places or contributing to a response to a natural disaster in the local area.

Official Portrait of the new RAF Honington Station Commander, Group Captain Matt Radnall. Picture: SAC James LedgerOfficial Portrait of the new RAF Honington Station Commander, Group Captain Matt Radnall. Picture: SAC James Ledger

“Secondly is about being a welcoming home for people and ensuring it is a welcoming environment for people to stay and to live and for families to feel settles.”

The handover took place on the base with force commander Air Commodore Richard Clifford passing on a message from one of the remaining relatives of the very first station commander at RAF Honington, Wing Commander William Sowrey.

The message, from Air Marshal Sir Frederick Beresford Sowrey, who is 96, said: “Congratulations to both station commanders and I wish them the best of every success.”

Group Capt. Tait, 50, will be posted to RAF High Wycombe after two years of running RAF Honington, with a room in the RAF Regiment Heritage Centre on the base to be named after him.

Leaving the base via a Scorpion, a large armoured vehicle, Group Capt Tait said: “It has been one hell of a ride, but I would not have missed it for the world.”

He was also presented with a plaque for his support of the Royal Air Forces Association.

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