CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

100 years of the Royal Airforce

PUBLISHED: 11:31 03 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 April 2018

The Royal Air Force marked its 90th anniversary in style with its biggest ever parade for the presentation of new Queens Colours to the RAF in the United Kingdom and the RAF Regiment (c) MOD Crown Copyright

The Royal Air Force marked its 90th anniversary in style with its biggest ever parade for the presentation of new Queens Colours to the RAF in the United Kingdom and the RAF Regiment (c) MOD Crown Copyright

MOD Crown Copyright

This year sees the curtain rise on a series of high profile, national events being staged to mark the RAF’s Centenary. Playing its part will be the Fairford-based team behind the Air Tattoo, as Richard Arquati explains.

Founded on April 1 1918 at the end of the First World War, the RAF is the oldest independent air force in the world.

Few of us can look back over the period since and find ourselves untouched by the courage, capability and achievements of the men and women who served – and continue to serve – in our Royal Air Force. Indeed, thanks to the 1939 and 1948 National Service Acts of Parliament, many of us will be aware of far more personal associations with the RAF within our own family histories.

To mark this key anniversary, a series of events and initiatives are being planned around the UK that seek to Commemorate the RAF’s history, Celebrate the vital role it is currently playing and Inspire the next generation of Servicemen and women.

Providing the launch pad for this is a special Centenary Gala at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday, March 31.

This high-profile event is being organised by RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, the Fairford event company behind the staging of the annual Royal International Air Tattoo.

Staged in the presence of a Royal guest, the gala promises a rousing night of music, comedy, ceremonial drill, screen footage plus a line-up of special guests. Featuring the Bands of the Royal Air Force, the RAF Squadronaires and the Queen’s Colour Squadron, the Centenary Gala will be a colourful and celebratory evening, with proceeds going to Fairford-based charity the RAF Charitable Trust.

The following morning, on Easter Day, a special service is due to be held at St Clement Danes, the central church of the Royal Air Force, in the Strand, London. At the same time, a Centenary Baton Relay will begin its journey from the Royal Courts of Justice to 100 sites around the UK that are associated with the RAF before arriving back in London, at Horse Guards Parade, 100 days later – on July 10.

HRH The Queen at the Air Tattoo in 2008 (c) MOD Crown CopyrightHRH The Queen at the Air Tattoo in 2008 (c) MOD Crown Copyright

No RAF commemoration would be complete without a show-stopping massed flypast, and this year two are scheduled, one along The Mall on July 10 and another three days later at the RAF100 themed Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

Taking place on July 13-15, the Air Tattoo will host an international celebration of the Royal Air Force at 100. As well as featuring aircraft from the RAF’s past, present and future, many military air arms from around the world are expected to be represented to celebrate the close and enduring friendships they’ve forged with the Royal Air Force over the years.

And, in addition to a full eight-hour flying display on the Friday (July 13) that will include a dramatic centenary flypast, there will also be a rarely-performed Royal Review of RAF aircraft.

Running alongside, throughout this year, will be the RAF100 Appeal by the Service’s four major charities - the RAF Charitable Trust, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association and the RAF Museum. They have joined together under one banner to ensure that all members of the RAF family – past, present and future – are honoured, supported and inspired.

From the youngest child to the oldest veteran, those currently serving their country and their brave families at home, the RAF100 Appeal provides the nation with an opportunity to pause and say: “thank you for what you’ve done, for what you’re doing and for what we can depend on you to do in the future.”

The appeal will run until the end of the year, with money raised going to ensure that the Royal Air Force and its heritage remains woven into the fabric of British life.

Since 1918, the Royal Air Force has been defending our nation’s airspace and combatting aggressors as well as providing vital humanitarian support and aerial surveillance around the globe. Make sure you don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to mark this special centenary as the nation prepares to salute our Royal Air Force - past, present and future.

Various aircraft fly overhead during rehearsals at RAF Fairford in preparation for the RAF Colours and RAF Regiment Colours parade presented by HM the Queen (c) 
Cpl Scott RobertsonVarious aircraft fly overhead during rehearsals at RAF Fairford in preparation for the RAF Colours and RAF Regiment Colours parade presented by HM the Queen (c) Cpl Scott Robertson

Key events:

RAF 100 Centenary Gala

Royal Albert Hall, London - March 31

RAF100 Baton Relay commences

April 1

National Aircraft Tour

Cardiff City Hall Gardens - May 16/20

RAF Cosford Airshow

June 10

RAF Museum re-opening ceremony

London - June 21

National Aircraft Tour

Horse Guards Parade, London - July 6/10

RAF100 Parade & Flypast

The Mall, London - July 10

Royal International Air Tattoo

RAF Fairford - July 13/15

Northern Ireland Airshow

Portrush - August 4/5

National Aircraft Tour

Newcastle, N Ireland - August 4/5

National Aircraft Tour

Victoria Square, Birmingham - August 25/27

National Aircraft Tour

Glasgow Science Centre - September 1/2

National Aircraft Tour

Cathedral Gardens, Manchester - September 15/16


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search