Gibraltar Raf Hq Mouchotte Building

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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GIBRALTAR RAF HQ - MOUCHOTTE building

Date: 14th September 2013

GIBRALTAR RAF HQ – Re-named MOUCHOTTE Building

Apart from renaming the HQ the event was linked to Battle of Britain weekend and in honour of the occasion Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stuart Peach came to Gibraltar. It was he who unveiled the plaque to René Mouchotte on the RAF HQ building. The two of us also unveiled a painting by Mandy Shepherd commissioned by RAF Gibraltar.

There was a great deal of interest in the renaming and I was kept busy with local interviews. It was also a great pleasure to see Hubert de Lisle in attendance representing the Mouchotte family. Hubert is married to the youngest daughter of René’s sister so is, in effect, René’s nephew-in-law.

To celebrate BOB Weekend we had two Typhoons on the Tarmac and were allowed to view them. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity so hitched up my dress and climbed into the cockpit.  I've sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire (great ambition to have a flight) and compared with that, the Typhoon cockpit was relatively roomy - but no place for a claustrophic.

In the evening we had a traditional Sunset ceremony outside the Officers’ Mess, a parade and the playing of the Last Post just as the Typhoons zoomed up into the sky and were gone almost before you realised they’d been – if you know what I mean.

This was followed by Dinner in the Mess with all the men looking resplendent either in Mess Dress or Black Tie. In attendance we had His Excellency, the Governor of Gibraltar, the Mayor and his Wife, Sir Stuart and other local and military dignatories including the honorary French Consul.  I can never enjoy a meal when I have to work and this was no exception.  I was to give  a talk on the story of ‘Searching for René’. There was no microphone and, though I’m used to projecting my voice, it was a large room with a very high ceiling. However, the acoustics were good and the ‘audience’ brilliant in that you could have heard a pin drop.

It was into the bar afterwards and enumerable offers to buy me a drink. I am always conscious of ‘being on duty’ and not letting the side down so refused all but two glasses of wine. I got to bed at 2.00 am but without a ‘thick head’ thank goodness.

 


 

GIBRALTAR RAF HQ - MOUCHOTTE building

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