Her Majesty The Queen Approves A Unit Badge For No 8 Raf Force Protection Wing Headquarters
With the formation of a new Unit, one of the considerations of the Officer Commanding (OC) is whether it qualifies for a formal unit badge (or crest as we colloquially call them in the RAF).
As deployable warfighting Force Elements, Force Protection Wing Headquarters meet the qualifying criteria, and one of the many tasks whilst establishing 8 FP Wg HQ at RAF Waddington was to design a crest that would symbolise and embody the history, ethos and role of the unit. Having canvassed the ideas of the Officers and Airmen, Wing Commander Greg Burchill (the OC) produced a draft crest, consisting of a device and motto. This was passed through the chain-of-command for endorsement by the Commandant General RAF Regiment and by the Air Member for Personnel. The design was then submitted to the Garter King of Arms (Inspector of RAF Badges) to be formally painted and presented to Her Majesty the Queen for final approval and signature.
The device on the badge is a Burmese Chinthe with crossed Khopesh swords (weapons used by Ancient Egyptian warriors). This reflects the previous service of the Wg HQ’s antecedent RAF Regiment Wg HQs – 1308 Wg in Burma during the Second World War, 8 Wg in Egypt and Cyprus in the 1950s. The Chinthe represents both the Burmese association and the role of the unit, to guard and protect. The Khopesh swords are a burnished deep red colour reflecting the rising sun of the Middle-East and depict the strong associations of the unit with Egypt and the wider region. In the present day they represent the specialist dismounted close combat role of RAF Regiment field squadrons under command of the Wg HQ, emphasising the ethos of offensive action. The secondary ceremonial role of the RAF Regiment is reflected in the ceremonial significance of the Khopesh sword in Ancient Egyptian culture. The dark green colour of the sword hilts is symbolic of the flags of the 3 countries in which the antecedent units served operationally (Burma, Egypt, Cyprus). It also symbolises the link with the 2 counties where the Wg HQ has re-formed – RAF Yatesbury (8 Wg HQ RAF Regt) and RAF Waddington (8 RAF FP Wg HQ) – featuring prominently in the county Coats of Arms of Wiltshire and Lincolnshire.
The motto, Sapiendo Propugnare (Wisdom in Defence), is suggestive of two things. Firstly, there is great foresight, prudence and insight in deploying air-minded ground combat units to protect air assets. Secondly, 8 RAF FP Wg HQ, as the command and control organisation, will provide intelligence, astuteness, judgement, knowledge and reason to such defence. The motto also echoes the association with Egypt, where the sign for wisdom, the Sphynx, is also a symbol of protection.
The formal signed painting was presented to the Officers and Airmen of 8 RAF FP Wg HQ by Commander-in-Chief Air Command Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant KCB CBE MA BA RAF at RAF Waddington on 9 June 2011.