Celebrating RAF 100
To mark its centenary, former and serving members of the Royal Air Force took part in events in London to commemorate 100 years of astonishing service and dedication to the Nation’s defence.
The day began with a breakfast reception on the site of the former Hotel Cecil at 80 The Strand – the first headquarters of the newly-formed RAF in 1918.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hiller, Chief of the Air Staff, and Air Marshal Sir Baz North (RAFA President) gave opening addresses. Then, 16-year-old Aircraftsman Adam Wood, the youngest serving member of the RAF, had the honour of reading out a special centenary message from Her Majesty the Queen to the assembled guests.
This was followed by the traditional Founders’ Day Service at St Clement Danes, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, where the Royal Air Forces’ Association Standards were led in procession from Lincoln’s Inn Fields by a band from the Royal Air Force Pipes and Drums. The service provided an opportunity for quiet reflection and commemoration of those who have served over the past 100 years.
Following the service, assembled guests enjoyed a reception at the Royal Courts of Justice, which concluded with the launch of the RAF 100 Baton Relay. The baton, designed by RAF apprentices to represent the RAF’s century of service to the Nation, will visit every region of the UK and several overseas locations from 1 April to 10 July 2018.
The RAF100 Baton Relay was launched by Air Commodore (ret’d) Charles Clarke OBE, a Long March veteran, who emerged onto the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice and symbolically handed the baton to 16-year-old Aircraftsman Adam Wood.
Flanked by members of the Air Cadets and joined by fellow relay runners, AC Wood set off to the ringing of an original RAF scramble bell, launching the RAF100 programme of events to commemorate and celebrate the past 100 years and inspire the next generation of the RAF.