A milestone was reached in Buckinghamshire this month when the first-ever Polish RAF reservist graduated from the recruit training squadron at RAF Halton.
Senior Aircraftman Agnieszka Rudel, a reservist from the 7644 RAuxAF (media reserves) squadron, will go down in the record books as the first person to achieve the landmark feat.
The important moment was marked by the attendance of the Acting Defence, Military, Naval and Air Attaché for the Polish Embassy in the UK, Lieutenant Colonel Dorota Kawecka, to SAC Rudel’s passing-out parade at RAF Halton earlier last month.
SAC Rudel, who became a British citizen in 2012, works as a producer and videographer for Yell.com in her civilian job.
As a reservist she has worked on a wide variety of tasks from videoing air-to- air refuelling and covering RAF exercises to working with RAF police dog-handlers telling their story through video.
She said on the day: “I am so proud to be graduating, it was very special to have my father here to be a part of the occasion”.
Lt Col Kawecka, who began her visit to the RAF base by attending the graduation ceremony of regular recruits who have completed their basic training, also laid a wreath with SAC Rudel at the Polish Monument to remember Polish apprentices who were at RAF Halton during the Second World War.
The graduation parade also included 7644 Squadron’s Warrant Officer Kenneth Watson as Colour Warrant Officer, the first reservist to have that honour.
WO Watson joined the 7644 RAuxAF (media reserves) squadron in 2015 after retiring from his role as Station Warrant Officer at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
WO Watson said: “I always wanted to be Colour Warrant Officer when I was a regular but never had the opportunity. It was a great honour to be able to do so when one of our squadron was graduating”.
RAF Halton was established in the first days of the fledgling RAF in 1918. Prior to this, the land was used by the Army for flying and training troops with the permission of Alfred de Rothschild until the War Office bought the estate in 1919.
Now the base is home to service personnel of all three services, the civil service and defence contractors.