RAF baton arrives at BAE Systems Warton

Workers at BAE Systems’ Warton and Samlesbury plants took part in the celebrations of the RAF’s 100th anniversary this year.

A baton touring the country visited Lancashire and was run on to the Warton site by employee Matt Byrnes, a reservist in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and part of the team developing future capability for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Staff at BAE Systems Warton welcome the RAF baton touring the country for the RAF's 100th anniversary year

Staff at BAE Systems Warton welcome the RAF baton touring the country for the RAF's 100th anniversary year

From there, it was taken by Graham Hanson, an engineer working on the Tornado aircraft, from the assembly facility to the 'gate guardian' of the English Electric Lightning, the Cold War inceptor aircraft which stands on the site at Warton, and handed to Bernie Worsfold, who served with the RAF and went on to work for British Aerospace at the site.

The baton was then taken by a superbike, owned by the RAF and Regular Reserves Kawasaki team which competes in the British Superbikes championship, to a waiting Typhoon jet on the runway at Warton and handed to and Nat Makepeace, part of the Flight Operations team which tests aircraft from the aerodrome at Warton.

t then travelled down the M6 motorway to the company's advanced manufacturing hub at Samlesbury, where the company produces the rear section of the F-35 Lightning, the latest combat aircraft to join the RAF's frontline which is due to come in to service later this year.

It was met by employees and taken through the assembly line on site before concluding its tour of BAE Systems' facilities at the Academy for Skills & Knowledge, which is used to train the companies apprentices, graduates and deliver lifelong learning to its workforce.

Squadron Leader Will Thurrell, Officer Commanding, Typhoon Support Integration Team who is based at Warton, was part of the RAF contingent at the site to welcome the baton.

He said: "It is a great privilege to be welcoming the baton.

"Some of the most iconic aircraft of the jet age were designed and built at Warton and Samlesbury, and that continues today with the Typhoon and F-35 Lightning.

"It is appropriate we welcomed the baton here at Warton to recognise this history and the continuing strong links between BAE Systems and the RAF."

Fylde MP Mark Menzies was present at the event.

He said: "This is a momentous year as the RAF marks its centenary, and the workers at BAE Systems in Warton have every right to proudly celebrate.

"The highly-skilled workforce in Fylde has helped equip the RAF with world-beating planes for decades.

"I was delighted to welcome the baton to BAE as it makes its way across the country to various RAF-related sites before arriving on Horseguards Parade on July 10.

"The visit was a real reminder of the groundbreaking aircraft we have developed here in Fylde, including Typhoon, the Lightning and Hawk."