I was invited by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff to meet at RAF Northolt in north west London to add input to the celebration of the Royal Air Force’s 100 anniversary on 1st April 2018. I met there with many other veterans and serving RAF people to try to work out the best way for the celebration of this important milestone.
All well and good but the main proviso is that no public money will be allocated to help, it all has to be self-funded; perhaps from savings. The main intent of the event as stated by The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford is to deliver a Centenary through the three work-strands of Commemorate, Celebrate and Innovate. It is very exciting to be involved in this project, and our input can be as little or as much as we want to get involved. There will be subcommittees to cover various activities but the essence of the whole celebration is that it will not be centred on one day, but the whole of 2018. This is because the 1st April 2018 is Easter Sunday, a bit of an awkward day to have out and out celebrations! I was invited in my capacity as Chairman of the 3(Fighter) Squadron Association which seeks to bring together those who served on the squadron at any time in its history since its formation as a Royal Flying Corps squadron on 12th May 1912. This therefore makes it the oldest military flying unit in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. There is a website which gives some information and an opportunity to volunteer, here:
I have some of my own ideas and there will be plenty of opportunity to have an input to the celebrations, because after all, the RAF is intrinsically linked to the history of the 20th and 21st Centuries, especially in times of war and keeping the peace. One of the main tasks is to make the celebrations inclusive, so anyone in the country, whatever class or station in life, can be a part of the family. I think this will be one of the most difficult things to achieve. There may be awareness in most areas but perhaps in some inner-city and rural areas there is not much connection to the RAF, or indeed any reason why there should be. To make it fully inclusive will require some work but also help from hopefully some committed celebrities who have a connection, so that a role model can be looked up to. If anyone who reads this blog has an input into 1/4/2018, please leave a comment or email me.