To mark Black History Month this year, we are celebrating the diversity of our RAF Family. Actor Ricky Whittle describes his RAF pilot father as a 'beautiful, brown-eyed black king from Jamaica’.
In this guest blog, he tells us what it was like to grow up as part of the RAF Family and what his heritage means to him.
"Growing up my father was my very own superhero and still is. It was his qualities as a father and officer in the RAF that have helped mould me into the man I am today.
"I am so grateful for all the worldwide travel, friendships along the way, life experiences, education and exposure to all the beautiful cultures and countries this world and life had to offer. He taught me to strive to be the very best version of myself, to never let anyone define me but myself, to dream big and live, don't just exist. He worked hard to make his dreams come true and inspired me to do the same. I think he did a pretty good job.
"At times the racism was intense and fights were daily, but my parents taught me humour, generosity, empathy. They taught me morals, the difference between right and wrong, equality, respect, manners. Most importantly they gave me strength, belief and filled me with love and courage.
"I'm not white enough for some, not black enough for others. Well, let me remind you, I am neither and both. I am black and I am Caucasian because to ignore or lean toward one erases a parent and their contribution to my creation and life. I couldn't be more proud of my father and mother and the man they made me. Bringing two cultures and races together, traveling, teaching me strength and beauty comes from within; to stand up for myself and others who can't. Nobody defines me but myself and my actions."