In 1941, Lady MacRobert lost two sons within six weeks of each other. Both flew with the RAF. Roderic (25) was killed leading a Hurricane aircraft attack on German positons in Iraq, while Ian (24) was declared missing in action after his Blenheim aircraft failed to return from a search and rescue mission. His body was never found. Alasdair, their older brother, died in a 1938 civil aviation accident.
In response, Lady MacRobert bought a £25,000 Stirling bomber aircraft for the RAF, stipulating that it be called MacRobert’s Reply. It flew 12 operational missions. She later donated a further £20,000 for the purchase of four Hurricane fighters, named after Lady MacRobert and her three sons.
A succession of RAF aircraft have carried the MacRobert name ever since.
“In this season of remembrance, the MacRobert’s legacy epitomises the contribution made by Scotland and the Scots to the defence and national security of the United Kingdom, both historically and today,” said the First Secretary of State.
“The new Sir Roderic belongs to 6 Squadron which maintains the Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) mission, alongside sister aircraft from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. Together they protect UK airspace from rogue aircraft and other threats by providing crews and aircraft at high states of readiness 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Chris Hockley, Chief Executive of MacRobert Trust, added: “It is fantastic that 6 Squadron are taking on the mantle as our affiliated Squadron, strengthening the bond that we are lucky enough to have with the RAF and RAF Lossiemouth.
“We look forward with huge enthusiasm to getting to know the new members of the MacRobert ‘family’ – the men and women of 6 Squadron and to seeing Sir Roderic in the skies above Douneside.”
From 2020 onwards, RAF Lossiemouth will house a £3Bn fleet of Poseidon P8-A Maritime Patrol Aircraft. They will bolster the UK’s surveillance capabilities and conduct anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and intelligence gathering operations.
Crucially, Poseidon will substantially increase the Lossiemouth workforce, with more than 2,000 personnel required on site. £400M is to be invested in new support infrastructure for the nine Poseidon aircraft and full operational capability is expected by 2024.
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