Stories / RAF 81 Squadron – The Men Behind The Wings

RAF 81 Squadron – The Men Behind The Wings

Step into the Tiger Tavern and you’ll see memorabilia from days of past. Most significantly, you’ll see plaques with the emblem of many military units – fans of Tiger Beer for many decades. One, however, stands out.

The Royal Air Force (UK) 81 Squadron was first established in 1917. In the 1940s, the squadron made its way to Malaya and settled in Seletar Air Base in 1946 as a photo reconnaissance unit. Aerial photography was taken from the planes, and used not only for mapping purposes, but also to gather intelligence on hostile forces. The unit went on to support the Malayan Emergency, Burma Insurgency and the Konfrontasi. The unit disbanded in 1970.

In 2008, Al Taylor, who used to serve in the RAF 81 Squadron returned to Singapore for the first time in over 50 years. Every August since then, members of the RAF Squadron still meet up to catch up with old buddies over a pint of their favourite Tiger Beer right here at the Tiger Tavern!

They speak animatedly about how Tiger Beer was there throughout good times and bad, and how camaraderie was celebrated over a pint of what they dub “medication”. They also share a Tiger Tops – Tiger Beer topped off with a dash of lemonade!

Each time they meet, they also pay a small tribute to the men and women who had served the services throughout the years. By the commemorative RAF 81 Squadron plaque, they each lay a poppy – a symbol in remembrance to those who had paid the price or given their all for peace and freedom.

Through all their stories, it’s heartening to know that Tiger Beer is a brand that people still hold dear, making up many a memorable moment of good times today, and in days of past.


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