Freedom of the Borough for the Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force has been formally granted the Freedom of the Borough of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, marking the area’s long association with the RAF.
To mark the importance of the honour, a P-8 Poseidon – the RAF’s modern submarine-hunting jet – performed a flypast over the town centre.
The aircraft, which had recently returned from monitoring Russian naval movements in the Mediterranean, flew over the war memorial at the conclusion of the formal event.
Significantly, the Poseidon that made the flypast was named the Terence Bulloch DSO* DFC*, after a Northern Ireland pilot who held the record for the most U-Boat kills during the Battle of the Atlantic. Squadron Leader Terence Bulloch DSO* DFC* was based at RAF Ballykelly, near Limavady, for a period during the war.
The Mayor, Cllr Richard Holmes, had earlier presented a ceremonial certificate to the RAF’s Deputy Commander Operations, Air Marshal Sir Gerry Mayhew KCB CBE. 100 RAF personnel then paraded through the town centre accompanied by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
The Freedom of the Borough was granted by the Council in 2018 in recognition of: “100 years of service, and in acknowledgement of the vital air and ground defence roles which they continue to provide for the security of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
In planning the event the Council and RAF were keen to highlight Limavady’s strong RAF heritage and an exhibition highlighting the history of the RAF around Limavady at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre is open to the public until April 30th 2022.
RAF Limavady and nearby RAF Ballykelly were two vitally important bases during the Second World War, with both stations home to RAF squadrons conducting anti-submarine operations during the Battle of the Atlantic. The P-8 Poseidon that made the flypast performs the same role defending the North Atlantic that was performed by aircraft from the RAF’s Coastal Command in Northern Ireland from 1939 to 1945.