Slideshow: Queen's praise for RAF reservists

Chris BishopThe Queen praised the vital role of RAF reservists today as she presented new colours to three auxiliary squadrons.Chris Bishop

The Queen praised the vital role of RAF reservists today as she presented a new Sovereign Colour and 2 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadrons with their first Squadron Standards.

Hundreds of families, friends and dignitaries gathered beside the runway at RAF Marham to watch a new Sovereign's Colour being presented to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and 2 new squadron colours being presented to Marham-based 2620 County of Norfolk Sqn, and Honington-based 2623 East Anglian Sqn.

Men and women from all three squadrons were on parade as the Queen arrived by Limousine, wearing a violet silk dress with matching wool coat and hat. Helicopters, a Hercules transport plane and three of Marham's Tornado jets performed a fly-past.

After presenting the colours, the Queen paid tribute to the reservists, who are deployed alongside regular members of the RAF Regiment on active service.

"Since I presented your first colours in 1989, world events have led to fundamental changes in all our armed forces, not least our auxiliary forces," the Queen said.

"Since 1989 more than 2,000 of your men and women have been called for active service and have served with distinction alongside your regular counterparts on operations at home and elsewhere. It's a record of which you can be justly proud.

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""You have sadly suffered casualties and your country owes a debt of gratitude to families, friends and employers whose support and encouragement to your volunteer service is absolutely vital."

After a ceremonial march-past, the Queen met service personnel and their families at a reception on the base.