On 1 April, to mark our centenary, former and serving members of the Royal Air Force gathered in their best blues for a range of events in London.
The day started with a breakfast reception hosted by Pearson at the 80 Strand London, site of the former Hotel Cecil and the first headquarters of the newly-formed RAF in 1918. In attendance were Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier and members of the RAF100 baton relay team, among other guests.
The honour of reading out a special centenary message from Her Majesty the Queen went to 16-year-old Aircraftman Adam Wood, the youngest serving member of the RAF.
"I’m really proud to have been chosen to read out the message from the Queen and then, as one of the youngest airmen in the RAF, to receive the baton from Air Commodore Clarke."
Aircraftman Adam Wood
St Clements Dane, the official church of the Royal Air Force, then gave the traditional Founders’ Day Service. This was followed by a reception for the guests at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The launch of the RAF100 baton relay began the celebratory events. Flanked by Air Cadets and relay runners, the rousing ringing of an RAF scramble bell synonymous with the Battle of Britain, commenced the relay. This was sounded by esteemed veteran, World War Two flying ace and one of the ‘Few’ Wing Commander (retired) Paul Farnest.
Long March survivor and veteran of the RAF, Air Commodore Charles Clarke had the honour of being the first person to pass the baton; on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice to Aircraftsman Adam Wood.
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.
"I never expected this anniversary to take place in my lifetime, but I am full of admiration for the current generation coming through – they are such a wonderful crowd."
Air Commodore Charles Clarke
This marks the beginning of RAF100, a national campaign that will feature events, activities and other initiatives running nationwide from April to the end of September 2018. For information on events visit our what's on section and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.