Date confirmed for formal handover of Moray military base

Kinloss Army RAF
Army Takeover: Lt Colonel Andy Sturrock and Group Captain JJ Johnston.© Stuart Crowther/STV

RAF Kinloss is to become known as ‘Kinloss Barracks’ when the RAF formally hand over the base to the Army later this month.

A small private ceremony is to be held on July 26 to mark the withdrawal of the RAF from the Moray base and officially welcome the arrival of 39 Engineer Regiment.

With an advance party already in place the final elements of the Regiment are expected to have moved from their Waterbeach base in Cambridgeshire by the end of August.

However, not all of the 716 personnel will move immediately, with many committed to supporting the Olympic Games while others are on operations in Afghanistan and on exercise in Kenya. The Regiment is expected to be at full force in Moray by October.

The move has been timed to allow as many families as possible to arrive before the start of the Scottish school term. After this summer’s move 39 Engineer Regiment will, at full strength, have 51 Officers and 665 other ranks based in Kinloss Barracks.

RAF Kinloss has been accelerating its drawdown of personnel and by the time the Army officially take control there are expected to be fewer than 200 airmen and women based there, which includes a rear party that will assist the Army to move in.

Remaining RAF personnel are for the most part leaving the service over the next six months and will transfer to RAF Lossiemouth for the remainder of their obligation.

Final Salute

Group Captain JJ Johnston, the last RAF station commander to serve at the base, said: “The RAF at Kinloss has played a significant role in Moray throughout the last 73 years, and I know that 39 Engineer Regiment will forge the same warm links with the local community.

“This is the start of a new military era in Moray and I know Lt Col Sturrock and his staff will enjoy immensely everything life has to offer in this wonderful region.

“Yes, July 26 will be a sad day for the ’light blues’, but we know that the future is bright with the arrival of 39 Engineer Regiment.”

New Chapter

The CO of 39 Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Sturrock, said: “It is clear that Kinloss has much to offer the Regiment, not least the opportunity to build a similar relationship with the community in Moray to that which we have had in Cambridgeshire.

“We have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome and offers of support that we have already received. We know that the facilities and accommodation at Kinloss are first class and that Moray is a beautiful part of the country that offers much for our soldiers and our families.

“We are also delighted to be the first regular Royal Engineer regiment to be based in Scotland and look forward to making it our home. We know that the RAF are very sorry to be leaving Kinloss after 73 years service and we will be proud to retain the legacy of that service as an integral part of the history of our new barracks.”

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