On Tuesday 10th July, 100 musicians from Royal Air Force Music Services formed-up to take part in the RAF100 Centenary Parade. Musicians from the Central Band of the RAF, Band of the RAF College, Band of the RAF Regiment, Headquarters Music Services, and Band of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force joined forces and marched down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace in order to take position on the forecourt.
After a hot and lengthy few days of rehearsals at RAF Halton, the final preparation consisted of an overnight run-through with the band stepping off from Horse Guards Parade at 0320. It was an eerie yet exciting feeling to march down the Mall, only to hear the sound of our footsteps and the snare drum (we didn’t want to wake the sleeping residents!)
During the 100 aircraft flypast over Buckingham Palace, the band performed a compilation of various well-known music associated with flying. These included pieces such as 633 Squadron, Battle of Britain March, Dambusters and Lightning II. Unfortunately the band weren’t able to lift their heads and watch the fly-past, however this pales in comparison to the experience of providing music accompaniment to one of the most iconic fly-pasts in history in front of an estimated 70,000 members of the public.
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Prince of Wales, presented a new Queen's Colour to the Royal Air Force, received by the Queen’s Colour Squadron. Over 1,300 personnel from a full range of ranks and roles took part in the parade to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s 100th birthday. After heading the parade, Senior Drum Major, Warrant Officer Terry Gardner declared,
This was an honour to be a part of and in all my 35 years in the Royal Air Force, it was the best parade I have taken part in.
Article written by Senior Aircraftwoman Sabina Heywood