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Royal Air Force turns 100

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Sixth Former and RAF cadet James recently helped mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF. Here he writes about the celebrations around the City.

“On April 1 1918, in the final year of the First World War, the Royal Air Force was formed. Although before this, the British Army and Navy had used aircraft in combat and for reconnaissance, it was decided an independent Air Force was required. The Royal Air Force was the first independent air force in the world and has been a vital part of Britain's defense ever since. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and what an eventful 100 years it’s been including the pivotal battles of World War Two and combat missions around the world.

To celebrate this history, the City of London Corporation hosted displays and events from Thursday to Sunday in the Guildhall attended by City of London School cadets. The celebrations started on Thursday with a reception attended by a host of dignitaries including the Lord Mayor, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, veterans, serving officers and airmen of the Royal Air Force.

The event was an excellent opportunity for CLS RAF cadets to speak to men and women at the forefront of the Royal Air Force’s operations and veterans who took part in previous air missions. The reception provided great insight into the Royal Air Force and was an incredibly interesting event.

From Friday to Sunday BAE systems, Rolls Royce, Brooklands museum and the Royal Air Force Museum had displays of aircraft and engines in the Guildhall courtyard. On display were two World War One aircraft (the S.E.5 and the Camel), the Hurricane and Spitfire and a Eurofighter Typhoon. Museum staff from Brooklands were on hand to describe the development of aircraft in the early stages and lead up to the formation of the Royal Air Force in World War One and to talk about the dangers of the technological pioneers of that time. Issues such as shooting off one's own propellers or in air fires were commonplace and it was a dangerous time for pilots. Staff from the Royal Air Force museum in Hendon explained how vital the Hurricane and Spitfire were in World War Two.

Engineers from Rolls Royce showed the development from radial engines, to V12 aircraft engines to modern jets. In addition, there were opportunities to sit in an aircraft seat from a decommissioned Tornado in a full-scale model of the high tech fighter jet. Finally, we saw how BAE systems is at the forefront of modern engineering with a display of their latest 3D printing techniques, Virtual Reality equipment and robotic and AI technology. The displays captured both the history and engineering excellence of the Royal Air Force and its partners and was very informative.”

CLS RAF cadets spoke to men and women at the forefront of the Royal Air Force’s operations.
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