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RAF Honington West Suffolk

RAF Honington welcomes new station commander

Air Commodore Scott Miller, Warrant Officer Mac McDonald, Group Captain Matt Radnall and Group Captain Piers Holland – Photo: RAF Honington

RAF Honington today welcomed Group Captain Piers ‘Dutch’ Holland as he takes on his new role as Station Commander.

Group Captain Matt M Radnall MA RAF handed over command to Group Captain Piers ‘Dutch’ Holland MBE MA RAF in a Covid secure manner on the Station this afternoon.

Group Captain Holland said: “Command of RAF Honington – as the home of RAF Force Protection – is a career highlight, and I look forward to serving everyone based here, particularly at this most difficult of times for us as a Nation, Service and Force. I will work tirelessly to lead, support and represent everyone who lives and works at RAF Honington.”

Following the brief handover ceremony, Group Captain Holland’s first action was to visit the Station Memorial sites to lay wreaths and pay his respects to the fallen.

Group Captain Holland commissioned into the RAF Regiment in 1991 and most recently carried out the role of Group Captain Air FP Staff and Deputy to the Commandant General RAF Regiment in the Force Protection Headquarters, also based here at RAF Honington. The incoming Station Commander has historical links to the Station too. In 1937 his grandfather enlisted into the RAF right here at RAF Honington and went on to serve for some 37 years. Dutch is married to Elizabeth who is a Base Support Group Reservist. They have 2 children (Isabel 19 and Thomas 18) and they reside in their own house here in rural Suffolk.

Reflecting on Group Captain Radnall’s time at RAF Honington since he took over command in December 2018, there has been such a wide range of events that include graduating the first female Gunner and junior Regiment Officers, the departure of 20 Wing followed later by 15 Sqn RAF Regt, joint Exercises, and the Freedom of Thetford, to more local community projects such as Spring clean-ups, football matches and even donating pantomime costumes to the local theatre. The majority of his second year of course has been spent leading the Station through the pandemic. He is now posted to the Department of Defence Communications in the Ministry of Defence, where he will take on his new role in Strategy for the RAF.

Group Captain Radnall said: “It has been a real privilege to command RAF Honington for the past 2 years and I am immensely proud of what our people have been able to achieve, particularly in the past year. Their dedication to deliver and enable Force Protection for the RAF in the UK and overseas is humbling. I have also been extremely grateful for the support we have received as a Station from the local community and for the interest shown in our contribution to Defence. I depart with a heavy heart, but nonetheless confident the Station is in safe hands under the command of Group Captain ‘Dutch’ Holland. My very best wishes for the future to him and all Station personnel.”

The Force Protection Force Commander, Air Commodore Miller, thanked Group Captain Radnall for his exceptional leadership of RAF Honington over an extremely demanding two-year period. He highlighted that Group Captain Radnall’s contribution to the Service and to the people of RAF Honington was remarkable and the FP Force is much stronger for it. Air Commodore Miller wished Group Captain Radnall every success in his next appointment in the Ministry of Defence and looks forward to working with him again in the future.