The RAFs Anniversary in London

Below is a report by IFS Kristina Pisano of her experience of carrying out a pivitol role in the RAF’s anniversary celebrations:

Arriving at St Clement Danes Church in The Strand I walked into the beautifully decorated church of the RAF. The service to be held was to commemorate the formation of the Royal Air Force, formed on the 1st April 1918.

"I was greeted by the Vicar, dressed in smart Number 1s laden with gold lanyards. After a quick rehearsal with him of the prayer I was to read, it was quite a wait for the church to fill up with hundreds of people, mostly RAF personnel including the Chief of Air Staff and veterans. Wing Commander Sylvia Silver wished me good luck and so did a few other RAF Officers.

Air Cadets from the rest of the Wing filled the galleries above as an orchestra complete with a grand organ played overhead. When the service finally started my nerves began to kick in as my heart beat faster and faster!!! After many hymns and lessons read, it was finally time for the three other RAF regulars and me to step forward and one by one read out our prayers to approximately 250 people, a silent congregation, all eyes staring, heads bowed and all ears listening…

The service ended shortly after with a colorful departure of the Standards, banners of the Royal Air Force marching through the body of the Church. As people smartly filed out of the Church I received many congratulations and well done’s for my reading.

We were ushered across the street to The Royal Courts of Justice where we received a very civilized reception, complete with canapés and beverages for all. The cadets thoroughly enjoyed themselves as we mingled with high ranking officers, basic training recruits and many RAF veterans with shoulders full of medals.

The sun began to shine as the end of the day approached, ready for the spectacular finale of a fly-past of three RAF Tornado GR4’s from RAF Marham. They appeared in perfect formation roaring over St Clement Danes Church as the bells chimed ‘’The Royal Air Force March’’ and everyone else glared up in amazement towards the clear blue sky."