The Royal Air Force announced its sixth Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft will be named Guernsey’s Reply, in honor of the close bond between 201 Squadron, the island of Guernsey and Flight Lieutenant Herbert Machon OBE.
‘Herbie’ Machon left his home in Guernsey shortly before the German occupation during WWII and joined the British Military. He was destined to fly Spitfires in the RAF and, in honor and memory of his countrymen living under occupation, he named his Mk XVI Spitfire “Guernsey’s Reply”.
The sixth RAF Poseidon, with registration number ZP 806, is due to be delivered in September 2021. Guernsey’s Reply is undergoing its final checks at the Boeing factory in Seattle before joining the growing fleet.
The first five Poseidon aircraft have been named Pride of Moray, City of Elgin, Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, Spirit of Reykjavik and Fulmar.
The RAF Poseidon fleet, which will total nine aircraft, is already providing maritime patrol capabilities after reaching initial operational capability in April 2020.
“The longstanding bond between Guernsey and 201 Squadron has endured world war and the unit’s disbandment, when the Squadron’s standard was lodged in Government House for safekeeping. I am delighted now to be able to return it to its rightful owners, as we begin a new and exciting chapter in the Squadron’s affiliation with Guernsey,” Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey, commented.
When 201 Squadron was disbanded in 2011, it was the last maritime squadron to retain a local affiliation and carried the moniker ‘Guernsey’s Own’ commemorating a link forged in the challenging days just before the Second World War.
After a 10-year hiatus, 201 Squadron will return at RAF Lossiemouth later in the year and will be the second squadron operating the Poseidon MPA alongside 120 Squadron.