• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Air crew who flew Queen’s coffin on final flight reflect on “monumental” experience

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 22, 2022

Air crew from RAF Brize Norton who flew the Queen's coffin on her last flight have been reflecting on how proud they felt.

The crew of ZZ177 from 99 Squadron carried the late monarch's coffin, accompanied by Princess Royal and her husband, from Edinburgh to London on September 13.

Wing Commander Will Essex said from the moment the news of the Queen's death broke, "we knew what our part would be".

Oxford Mail:

"We had a lot of planning to do," he said. "We had planned for this already. We then had to go and do some more planning to refine the plan, do some contingencies and prepare the aircraft and the crews for the mission they had to do."

He added: "I was hugely proud of the crew and engineers involved. They had a monumental task to do with the world's media watching.

"They carried out the task with absolute perfection and dignity."

Chief technician, ground engineer Stu Collins said it was "a huge honour".

"It was an important and historical event and to hear the Queen's Colour Squadron march her on to the back of the aircraft was very humbling and I am very proud to have been part of that."

Air loadmaster Mark Hamer said he had never experienced anything like it in 32 years in the Air Force.

He said: "The gravity of who we had on board and the significance of who we had on board makes it a real special day."

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