On 10th July 2018, I was lucky enough to go to the RAF 100 parade and flypast in London !! The RAF was formed on the 1st April 1918, from a mix of the Royal Flying Corp ( Army), and the Royal Naval Air Service. Since 1918, the RAF has participated in operations from the famous Battle Of Britain, in World War 2, to current operations, fighting in Afghanistan and Syria. However, the RAF also supports numerous humanitarian operations, for example, airlifting people out of danger, and delivering vital food, medicines and shelters to areas hit by natural disasters.
Back in London, the celebrations began with a march of over 1000 men and women of the Royal Air Force. All the Squadrons standards (flags) were paraded. The band of the RAF and the RAF pipes and drums, accompanied the march. I found this march very moving because their drill was immaculate and so was their uniform. I found it inspiring because they all looked very proud and as the crowd cheered some of them smiled.
The next part of the event was the flypast, 100 aircraft of the Royal Air Force flew over central London, down the Royal Mall, and over Buckingham Palace. This was the largest flypast in memorable history, even Heathrow airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, had to close for 25 minutes! It started off with helicopters, including the Chinook, followed by slower aircraft, such as shadow and training aircraft including the Prefects. The crowed roared as the Battle of Britain flight came into view. Lead by the Dakota, we saw Hurricanes, Spitfires, and then, amazingly, the only Lancaster capable of flying, named, The City Of Lincoln. Next in the flypast there were the heavy aircraft, for example, the Voyager, Globemaster, Rivet Joint, Sentry ( which my mum flew in for 10 years!). Next, it was the turn of the fast jets, the Hawks, Tornados and the RAF’s latest fighter jet, the Lighting.
Then the crowd gasped, as the Typhoons flew past in the formation of the figure, 100!! The flypast was brought to an end by Britain’s favourites, the Red Arrows, streaming red, white and blue smoke across the sky. I felt honoured to be there and I will never forget this truly astonishing experience. It was a once in a life time event and I was thrilled to see it in person and to share the celebration with my family. I am thinking of joining the RAF as a career and watching these events has made me more keen to do so.
Written by Cara Walker