The Gibraltar Government will mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force by moving a motion in the Gibraltar Parliament to confer the Freedom of the City on RAF Gibraltar.
The decision was announced by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on Sunday, which marked 100 years to the day since the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged to create the RAF, the world’s first independent air service.
This weekend the Queen sent her “heartfelt congratulations” to the service, which she said had “defended our freedom gallantly”.
During a breakfast reception at a building on the Strand, London – formerly Hotel Cecil which was the first headquarters of the RAF – a printed message from the Queen was read out by Aircraftsman Adam Wood.
The 16-year-old from Aylesbury, who is one of the youngest members of the RAF, told the room packed full of dignitaries including the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier and Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, that the Queen sent her “heartfelt congratulations” as he read her message.
“The anniversary of the world’s first independent Air Force is of great significance, and it is fitting to pay tribute to the tenacity, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served within its ranks over the last century, and who have defended our freedom gallantly,” the Queen said.
“Through its enduring focus on professionalism, excellence and innovation, the Royal Air Force stands as a shining example of inspiration around the world today and for the next generation.
“May the glory and honour that all ranks have bestowed on the Royal Air Force light its pathway to the future guarding our skies and reaching for the stars.”
The Queen finished the message with the Latin motto of theRAF, Per Ardua ad Astra, which translates to English as “through adversity to the stars”.
MAIN PHOTO: Former Spitfire pilot Squadron Leader Allan Scott, 96, prepares to fly as a passenger in a Spitfire as part of the RAF100 commemorations at Biggin Hill Airport in Kent this weekend. PA