Swansea hosts centenary parade

Swansea played host to 450 members of the Royal Air Force who took part in the parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the service.

Events in the city started on Friday when the Royal Air Force Ensign was raised at Brangwyn Hall, followed by a centenary concert in the evening.

Saturday started with a church service at St Mary’s Church in the city centre. Afterwards, the parade formed and marched off down Princess Way and Oxford Street to Brangwyn Hall.

On parade were the Royal Air Force’s elite drill team, the Queen’s Colour Squadron, along with 200 airmen and women from St Athan including staff and trainees from Number 4 School of Technical Training and the Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell. Also marching were Air Cadets drawn from across South Wales accompanied by their own band.

Salutes were taken by the Secretary of State of Wales, The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP; The RAF Air Member of Personnel and Capability, Air Marshal Sean Reynolds; The Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan Mr D Byron Lewis; and Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams.

The parade was the first major ceremonial event marking the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary in Wales and will be followed by several different events across the country in the next few months.

Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, Air Member of Personnel and Capability, said: “Our 100th anniversary celebrations give us a unique platform from which to showcase the character of the RAF and the opportunities we offer. We want people across the UK to be inspired to find out more about why working in the RAF is so extraordinary and to realise that the world-class training and opportunities that we offer make it an outstanding place to learn, develop and progress. We want young people to be ambitious and realise their potential, so that we can continue to be a dynamic force for good across the nation and can continue to protect the nation, as we have done so successfully throughout our first one hundred years.”

Commenting on the day, the senior RAF Officer in Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams said: "It was a huge privilege for the RAF to be on parade in Swansea and we are delighted to have also received a Civic Honour from the City and County of Swansea Council as part of our centenary.  We are extremely grateful to the people of Wales for the fantastic support they have always given us and this was our chance, as we celebrate our centenary as the world’s first independent air force, to say thank you to everyone and also to commemorate all those who have served in the RAF over our 100 years. We hope the people of South Wales enjoyed seeing and meeting the fine men and women that serve in today’s RAF."

The Parade Commander, Wing Commander Steve Rowley, was proud that the majority of the parade was made up of trainees from St Athan. “They are the engineering future of the RAF” he said. Participation in the parade was also a source of family pride for Steve as he is the third generation of his family to serve in the RAF. Like him, his father served at St Athan.

“The RAF has always enjoyed the backing of local communities and the RAF100 Parade in Swansea was our chance to say thank you for this support”, he added.