Gary Bunkell is a trustee of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation (RAuxAF), raising awareness of the RAuxAF centenary in 2024.
The first initiative occurred in May, when a locomotive was temporarily re-named from 92 Squadron to Royal Auxiliary Air Force at a special event attended by AVM Ranald Munro. In addition to the naming, the engine was painted in the colours of the QVRM/KVRM Medal Association.
RAuxAF holders of the medal were invited by the Foundation to attend. These guests included Group Captain G W Bunkell CBE QVRM AE RAuxAF (Ret’d). Gary has 35 years of reserve Service, he is treasurer to the King’s Volunteer Reserves Medal Association, a member of the Suffolk RFCA forum and Vice Chair (Air) for East Anglia RFCA. Also in attendance, as a Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal recipient, was Wing Commander Mike Almond QVRM AE MRAeS DM FRCP DL VR. Mike chairs the Essex RFCA forum and has been a reservist since 1977.
The RAuxAF Foundation is working with the RAF Reserves on initiatives that will help celebrate the anniversary and increase awareness amongst the public. The RAF celebrated its centenary in 2018, and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force is the part-time volunteer element which supported the regular Royal Air Force on operations since 1924.
The Foundation’s main role is to promote awareness of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and its history. The Foundation created and maintains a Roll of Honour displaying the names of those who lost their lives in service inside St Clement Danes church. And at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, the RAuxAF Foundation created a RAuxAF Memorial.
As a trustee of the RAuxAF Foundation, Gary Bunkell said: “Those individuals need to be remembered and the current generation of serving members need to be recognised for their commitment. The centenary offers the opportunity to do just that.”
Find out more about the locomotive renaming ceremony on the RAuxAF Foundation website here.