The Royal Air Force Memorial, unveiled in 1923, overlooking the Thames on the Victoria Embankment in Central London (Photo: Centenary News)

Lookahead to the Royal Air Force Centenary

Posted on on 06 March 2018
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A mass flypast, 100-day baton relay and the unveiling of new galleries at the RAF Museum, Hendon, are among events coming up to mark the 100th birthday of Britain’s Royal Air Force.

There will also be community activities organised by RAF bases, and a touring display of aircraft from the past century in cities nationwide.  

Created on 1 April 1918, the RAF was the world’s first independent air force. The merger of the army’s Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service underlined the emerging importance of air power during the Great War.

Announcing its Centenary programme, the RAF said: "From the earliest veterans in the First World War, through to 'The Few' of the Battle of Britain, right up to those who have recently left, we want to highlight the commitment and sacrifice these men and women have made in service to their country."

The centrepiece of RAF100 will be a centenary service at Westminster Abbey on July 10, followed by a parade on the Mall and mass flypast. 

In the 100 days leading up to July 10, an RAF baton relay team will visit 100 sites associated with the Royal Air Force in Britain and overseas, starting in London on April 1, the RAF’s 100 birthday.

Its first day will include an Easter Sunday appearance at the RAF Museum's Foundation Day events in Hendon, Northwest London.

An impression of the new galleries at the RAF Museum at Hendon, opening later this year as part of the wider Centenary programme (Photo © Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum)

Hendon aerodrome was among Britain’s pioneering aviation centres. Now the home of the RAF Museum, it’s been undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment for the 2018 Centenary. New galleries exploring the RAF’s first 100 years, its role today and future contribution will open in June. Grass is being laid across the site to give a feel of the original airfield.

In 2014, the RAF Museum commemorated the start of the WW1 Centenary with the opening of a permanent new exhibition, First World War in the Air.

RAF100 also aims to inspire a legacy, with a youth outreach programme promoting interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among 9-15-year-olds.

Foundation Day events will be taking place on April 1 at the RAF Museum's twin sites - Hendon in Northwest London and Cosfordnear Wolverhampton.

Source: RAF100, RAF Museum

Images courtesy of Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum (Hendon redevelopments; Centenary News (RAF Memorial)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team