RAF Odiham was the setting for a royal visit on Friday as The Duke of Gloucester presented a new standard to 27 Squadron.

His Royal Highness, who is RAF Odiham's Honorary Air Commodore, visited the airbase to hand over the standard to the squadron, many of whom have recently seen active service in Afghanistan.

A ceremonial parade marked the presentation of the standard - the third such event in the history of the 92-year-old unit which is now a Chinook helicopter squadron.

A new standard is awarded on completion of 25 years of service, or by earning the Sovereign's appreciation for especially outstanding operations.

The rectangular blue silk flag, which is bordered with roses, thistles, shamrocks and leeks, was first presented to 27 Squadron in 1955.

The silk standard displays nine battle honours, including the Gulf in 1991 and Ypres in 1917.

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force provided music on Friday and a pair of Chinooks formed the backdrop to the indoor parade which saw the families of the 100-strong squadron personnel proudly looking on.

After the consecration of the standard by Reverend Air Vice Marshal Peter Mills, The Duke presented the standard to squadron standard-bearer Flight Lieutenant Peter Nuttall, before addressing the squadron members.

The Duke said: "I congratulate all of you on this splendid parade. I hope that your standard will be a reminder to you of your predecessors, and to your successors it will be a reminder of your achievements."

The band then continued to play as 27 Squadron paraded the standard, before three cheers were given for The Duke.

Flt Lt Nuttall told The Gazette: "I have been the squadron standard bearer for about three years. I don't usually get nervous but I was today - this is the biggest occasion I can remember. My wife, son and daughter are here today and it is really nice to be able to take part in something which they can attend too."

Parade commander Wing Commander Steve Shell said: "We have been rehearsing the parade since Monday, but preparations have been going on for months.

"For a squadron that has spent the last two years on operations, to get the other side of things and have a formal presentation is very nice indeed."

Having been established in 1915, 27 Squadron has operated in almost every major conflict in a large variety of roles.

Odiham became the squadron's base in 1993.

The ceremony also saw the announcement of the establishment of 27 Squadron Association for past and present personnel.

Station commander Group Captain Sean Reynolds said: "Today was a special day, not only for the squadron but also for the station itself."