Celebrations are underway across the United Kingdom to commemorate the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force, the world’s first independent air force.
The RAF was formed on April 1 1918 with the merger of the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
In our 100th year, we will commemorate those who have gone before, thank our service men and women and inspire the next generation so that together, we can continue to help shape our world for the next 100 years and beyond #RAF100 pic.twitter.com/sQ8puifGye
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) April 1, 2018
The anniversary was marked by a gala concert at Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday night, and on Sunday a church service, cake, and the launch of a baton relay, which will visit 100 sites with a connection to the RAF over 100 days.
A birthday wouldn't be complete without cake! Thank you to the team who made today such a memorable day. @RAF100_Appeal #RAF100 #RAFBatonRelay @RAFMusic @RafRegtRecruit @RAFMediaReserve @RoyalAirForce pic.twitter.com/UCoAJgA1e9
— ACM Stephen Hillier (@ChiefofAirStaff) April 1, 2018
But the “pinnacle” of RAF100 celebrations is set to be a flypast of up to 100 aircraft over the Mall and Buckingham Palace in London on July 10.
To mark the centenary the BBC has produced this excellent documentary featuring Ewan McGregor and his RAF pilot brother Colin, combining history and wonderful flying sequences to explore 100 years of pioneering and special missions.
The celebrations could also represent something of a preview for the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force in 2021.
‘Per ardua ad astra' and congratulations from down under on your centenary @RoyalAirForce!
— RAAF – Aus_AirForce (@Aus_AirForce) March 31, 2018