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"My great-grandfather was one of the first to join the Royal Air Force"

For one family, the Royal Air Force's centenary isn't just a national celebration – it's a very personal one. For them, 1 April 1918 marked the beginning of four generations of service.

Nik Bartram generations

Flt Lt Nik Bartram follows in the footsteps of his father, paternal grandfather and maternal great grandfather as a Voyager pilot on 10 Squadron. It all began with Edgar Cooke, who as an RFC pilot on 12 Squadron, was one of the first transferred to the junior service on its day of foundation.

Nik said: "I am massively proud of my family's RAF service. To have 100 years worth of history in the service is very special. It has always felt natural to me, to be a part of the RAF. Particularly to go from joining up as non-commissioned then go on to gain my wings, it is better than I ever imagined."

Nik's father Chris, followed his own father's wartime service and joined as a boy entrant in 1959. His father before him, George, had been too old for the frontline when he answered his country's call by joining the RAF Regiment during the Second World War, but he still spent the war serving in stores in Burma.

Chris decided the Royal Air Force was the life for him at the tender age of 16 and served his country for 10 years in the Supply Branch, seeing service in Bahrain and Germany. 

For Nik, joining a service was never in doubt, which service was the question as his mother served as a naval officer in the Fleet Air Arm!

Nik added: "Throughout my varied service from a Chinook crewman in Afghanistan to a Voyager pilot today, I have known it does not matter how long you serve, you can always apply for support from the RAF Benevolent Fund and someone is there to listen to you. Nowhere in civilian life where you can get that kind of support."

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