Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force

Stone Town Mayor Jim Davies pictured at the RAF100 exhibition at RAF Lyneham.

In 1918 the Kaiser’s army began a massive attack on a scale that drowned out a milestone in military history: the formation of the world’s first independent air force, the Royal Air Force, on April 1st, 1918.

Under the title ‘RAF100’ the RAF and the RAF Association (RAFA) are arranging and coordinating many events country-wide to celebrate this centenary, and Stone will not be left out.

Jim Davies is familiar to many in the town as our current Town Mayor but he has another title, Squadron Leader Jim Davies RAF (Retired), and he has been the President of the Stone & District Branch of RAFA since 1997. Jim and Lin, his wife, have just come back from one of the first of the RAF100 events, an exhibition at what was RAF Lyneham, a major RAF base in Wiltshire where Jim served in the 1980s and where they met and married. They were able to give the organisers a lot of fascinating information which is now part of that exhibition.

Jim has now brought the spirit of RAF100 to Stone where our RAFA Branch is arranging a number of events to mark, celebrate and commemorate the contribution that Stone and its people have made to the RAF over its 100 years’ history. None more so, of course, than each of those brave 18 men whose names stand out proudly on the war memorial in Granville Square. Jim is compiling a record of Stone’s contribution to the RAF since 1918 and would love to hear from readers of the Gazette who either have served in the RAF themselves or have family members who have done so and who have an interesting story to tell.

Jim would particularly like to hear from relatives of those RAF men on the war memorial but he’s sure that there are many amusing, uplifting, heroic and poignant stories to be discovered in other families’ memories.

Those stories need not be restricted to just World War Two (see the timeline at www.raf.mod.uk/raf100/timeline). The experiences of all who’ve worn the light blue uniform at any time and at any place in the service of our Queen (and King) will be of great interest.

Please contact Jim at rafa@astonbystone.u-net.com or on 01889 505094. Jim will be sharing the fruits of his research with us in these pages in future editions.

One of the four WWII panels on Stone’s war memorial. This one shows nine RAF names (RAF and RAFVR); there are 18 in total.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of the major events being planned:

Saturday, April 7: raising of the RAF Ensign at the top of the High Street at 11.30am.

Saturday, June 9: RAFA at Stone Carnival, Westbridge Park. Sunday,

September 2: Service of Celebration and Commemoration, St Michael’s & St Wulfad’s Church. Thursday,

September 6: Air Force Night at the Lymestone Brewery.

Please put these dates in your diaries and watch these pages for further information.