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RAF Benevolent Fund attend memorial of 1st Viscount Trenchard


Last week at the RAF Chapel, Westminster Abbey, the RAF Benevolent Fund hosted the annual memorial for Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard. The colourful wreath-laying service marked a first for the Fund with an impressive gathering which included both the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston and President of the RAF Benevolent Fund His Royal Highness The Duke Of Kent.

This year's annual ceremony was the first of its kind in which both the Chief of the Air Staff and The Duke of Kent together paid tribute to the Father of The Royal Air Force, Lord Hugh Trenchard.

Held yearly between the 9th-10th February to mark the passing of The Father of the Royal Air Force, the service led by The Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Canon in residence, echoed the usual sentiments; grace to those who serve and honour to the legacy that is now the RAF.

Wreaths of red ivory and blue were laid at the gravesite of Lord Trenchard, whose ashes remain buried at the eastern end of the magnificent Lady Chapel, built by King Henry VII. The chapel is dedicated to the men of the Royal Air Force who died in the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940. The stained glass windows of the chapel expelling glorious sunshine down on the site where the ashes of Lord Trenchard are kept in remembrance of him.

Shortly after the laying of the wreathes, The Reverend Dr James Hawkey led the prayers. One of which, offering reverence to the United Kingdom’s most prestigious aerial warfare and space force, which read;

As we Pray for the Royal Air Force and the work of the RAF Benevolent Fund, let us particularly pray for the forces of The Crown on active operational service, and let us pray for peace and justice in the troubled nations of the world.

Attended by the very pride of the Royal Air Force, Lord Trenchard’s grandson Lord Trenchard, 3rd Viscount Trenchard, The Viscountess Lady Trenchard, great granddaughter The Honourable Laura Trenchard, great grandson Frederick Trenchard and the fore frontiers of the RAF’s leading charity The RAF Benevolent Fund, Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of The Benevolent Fund, and Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr Richard Daniel, Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon; this year's memorial service, made for a commemorative and historic experience.

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard had an instrumental role in the establishment of the Royal Air Force.

As the nickname, 'Father of the Royal Air Force' suggests, Trenchard worked his way through the ranks to become the first Airman to hold the highest rank, Marshal of the RAF, in 1927. He founded training colleges for air cadets and officers and was founder of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The RAF Benevolent Fund extends our gratitude to the Trenchards. Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot spoke on behalf of the entire Fund, saying: "We are grateful for the service Marshal Hugh Trenchard paid towards Great Britain. The life and legacy of Hugh Trenchard remarkably captures the beauty of sacrificial giving, which will forever merit thanksgiving from those who serve, and those who are connected to loved ones serving in the Royal Air Force.

The Fund are immensely proud to have been joined by the Trenchard family, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent and Chief of The Air Staff Sir Michael Wigston to honour the memory of The Father of the Royal Air Force."

The wreath-laying memorial service was then followed by a lunch in which Controller, Chris Elliot was joined by His Royal Highness, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, Trustee Mr Richard Daniel the Trenchard Family and Paul Hughesdon at the RAF Club, London.