Fund commemorates 100th Anniversary of the RAF Memorial
On Sunday 16 July, the Fund commemorated the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the RAF Memorial.
The RAF Memorial is the official memorial of the Royal Air Force and its constituent services. Built of Portland stone, the Memorial stands on the Whitehall Stairs on the Victoria Embankment in Westminster.
The Memorial is topped with a gilded eagle, looking south towards France. It is a striking tribute to the brave men and women of the RAF – past, present, and future.
The service on Sunday was attended by the Chaplain in Chief and Archdeacon for the RAF, the Venerable Dr (AVM) Legood, with wreaths laid by Flight Sergeant Sunita Aven on behalf of the RAF and Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund. The ceremony also included attendance from The King’s Colour Squadron and a minute’s silence in tribute.
The Memorial was originally created to remember the airmen who died in the Great War and has stood on the banks of the River Thames since 1923. In 1946, additional inscriptions were added in memory of those who died in the Second World War.
After the First World War, the Fund's initial objective was to raise money to build the Memorial. Now, one hundred years on from the unveiling, the Fund continues to maintain the Grade II listed structure, and host annual remembrance services.
It was The Prince of Wales, later to be crowned King Edward VIII, who unveiled the Memorial. He said: "This monument, erected by the Royal Air Force Fund, which I am about to unveil, will stand as a lasting tribute in the heart of this great city to the memory of all ranks of the Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force, and every other Air Force who played their part in the War, braving with high spirit the unknown dangers of warfare in a new element and dying to give us the final victory.
"Their exploits and undoubted courage have established a tradition for the new Service which our cloud armies of the future, whether in peace or war, will, I feel sure, follow with devoted pride: and the nation on whose behalf I am asked to accept this Memorial, and to whom I am to dedicate it, will ever thankfully remember the gallant lives and great deeds it commemorates."