Centenary celebrations for RAF100 culminated in London on 10th July with a flypast and parade and Royal Air Force Wittering helped in a big way.
Hawk jets from 100 Squadron, usually based at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire, arrived at RAF Wittering on Monday, making use of the station's long runway, wide taxiways and spacious airfield.
The station was first founded as Stamford Aerodrome in 1916 and pre-dates the formation of the Royal Air Force by nearly two years. In 1918 it became RAF Wittering, one of the founding stations of the Royal Air Force.
Wing Commander Nick Maxey is responsible for the safe operation of RAF Wittering's airfield and airspace. He said "This airfield was built on jet power and to have jets back at Wittering has been brilliant for both the station and for the wider community - in the end this station was built for it."
13 Hawk aircraft took their place in a spectacular flypast featuring virtually all the RAF's current aircraft types. On the ground, the Mall in London became a river of Royal Air Force blue as over a thousand regulars and reservists, including dozens from RAF Wittering, paraded through the capital.
A service in Westminster Abbey, commemorating the service and sacrifices made by Royal Air Force personnel was held. Senior Aircraftman Kia Sandvig from Personnel Services Flight at RAF Wittering was a candle-bearer during the service. She said: "I was so nervous to begin with but the whole ceremony felt relaxed and a wonderful celebration of everything the RAF has achieved. Getting the opportunity to be so close to the Royal Family was amazing and the whole day made me so proud to serve."
Flying Officer Josh Main from Operations Wing was at the historic display in Horseguards Parade, dressed in a World War One flying suit. Josh, who joined the RAF only eighteen months ago, said: "It was boiling hot in the suit, but the day was great fun. The people were so enthusiastic about what we do. I'm really at the beginning of my Royal Air Force career but being part of yesterday you could see what we've achieved and where we're going. It was great I loved every minute."
Transporting 1,800 people, including 16 VIP moves within London, and all the equipment to make the RAF100 parade happen fell to Royal Air Force Wittering's specialist logistics units. Around 30 personnel from No 85 Expeditionary Logistic Wing directed the operation, which involved another 65 regular and reserve drivers from across the RAF.
Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Wittering. He said: "Anyone in London yesterday would have been immersed in a celebratory atmosphere. The sense of occasion as we marked 100 years of the Royal Air Force was loud and clear, and I count myself very fortunate indeed to be the Commanding Officer of a founding station during the RAF's Centenary year."
The Station Commander continued: "Royal Air Force Wittering has made a material contribution to RAF100. Not only by participating in yesterday's celebrations, but our men and women have also been fundraising for the RAF100 Appeal, commemorating those who served before and gave so much, and inspiring the next generation through a series of youth engagement and STEM events. They have willingly given of themselves at every stage whilst continuing to support deployed operations around the world; I am immensely proud of the whole team at RAF Wittering."