Guernsey Press

CIAS presented with Queen Jubilee medals

A flying visit for the King’s Coronation was the ideal time to present medals which should have been awarded last year at the Queen’s Jubilee.

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RAF 201 Squadron Leader Stuart Roxburgh, fourth from left, with members of the Channel Islands Air Search who were presented with Queen’s Jubilee Medals. Left to right, Michael DeVon, Graham Gilbert, Gareth Le Page, Mark Utting, John Fitzgerald, Tim Robins and Troy Queripel. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost. 32088411)

Members of ‘Guernsey’s own’ 201 Squadron presented Queen’s Jubilee medals to members of the charity Channel Islands Air Search who served for at least five years continuously during Her Majesty’s reign.

‘We were here for the Coronation parade and also for Liberation Day. So it was the perfect opportunity,’ said 201 Squadron leader Stuart Roxburgh.

‘We were delighted to be invited to present these awards to like-minded men.

‘They perform a task similar to the one we do on the Poseidon aircraft, assisting with search and rescue.

‘The gist is the same – if someone is in trouble we can help find them and bring in emergency help.’

The recipients of the medals were John Fitzgerald, Graham Gilbert, Gareth Le Page, Tim Robins, Troy Queripel and Michael DeVon.

Channel Islands Air Search is a voluntary service providing a fast airborne search and rescue service across the islands’ waters.

Mr Fitzgerald, the charity’s manager, said he and his colleagues were honoured to receive the medals from 201 Squadron in recognition of the commitment of the volunteers who keep the vital service running.

‘It’s a pure charity. Everyone gives up their time willingly and for free, any time of the day or night,’ he said.

201 Squadron, which is the only Royal Air Force squadron affiliated with Guernsey, currently operates the Boeing Poseidon MRA1 aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

The Poseidon is a maritime patrol aircraft equipped with sensors for search and rescue missions and for anti-submarine missions.

A Poseidon from 201 Squadron was due to take part in the Coronation flypast which flew over Buckingham Palace as the King and Queen watched from the balcony, but it was grounded when the event was scaled back to include only smaller aircraft and display teams due to low cloud over the capital.