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Swansea set to honour RAF in its centenary year

Swansea's Lord Mayor will be among those taking the salute on Friday as the city hosts Wales' official celebrations of the RAF's 100th anniversary.


More than 600 RAF personnel and cadets will be marching through the city on Saturday as part of commemorations of the creation of the RAF in 1918. It will be the biggest commemoration of its kind in Wales.

The city centre march is part of two days of celebrations in the city which will include a Civic Recognition ceremony at Swansea's Guildhall and fly-past on Friday followed by an official church service at St Mary's Church and fly-past on Saturday too.

Lord Mayor Cllr Phil Downing said: "It is a real honour to be part of such an historic occasion. The people of Swansea are proud of their city's long association with the RAF and I'm sure they will demonstrate that with a big turnout to see the march and flypast.

"I will be delighted to hand over a Civic Scroll of recognition on Friday to Air Commodore Adrian Williams, who as Air Officer for Wales, is the highest-ranking RAF Officer in the country."
Swansea's long association with the RAF dates back to the very beginning and includes a spell during World War II when an air base was set up on the edge of the city at Fairwood which later became Swansea Airport.

RAF Fairwood Common as it was known became fully operational in 1941 and was a key player in the night and day air defences of South Wales, South West England and the convoys coming into British waters during the Battle of the Atlantic.

When the airfield became Swansea Airport in the late 1950s, it was Group Captain Douglas Bader, who lost both legs in a flying accident before World War II, who was guest of honour at the opening event.
June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's Armed Forces Champion, said: "The two events are an opportunity for us as a city to show our support and respect for the RAF, its veterans and the cadets, some of whom may go on to serve in the years ahead.

"Of course, no-one can forget the sacrifices made by RAF personnel in theatres of war over the last 100 years, defending our country and our values. The RAF changed the course of world history and the Centenary is an historic event as well. So it makes sense that we honour those who served and those who continue to serve on this occasion too."

Friday, April 20
Noon - A short ceremony at the Rotunda, Guildhall, Swansea when the RAF Ensign will be raised and the Civic Scroll awarded by Lord Mayor Cllr Phil Downing to Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams. This event will include a fly-past at approximately 12.15pm

This will be attended by: Lord Mayor, Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Veteran Groups, Honorary Aldermen, Councillors and other invited guests.

Saturday, April 21
10:30 - Service in St Mary's Church in the city centre to mark the Centenary of the RAF. This is the official Wales event and will be attended by RAF veterans groups, the Secretary of State for Wales, MPs, AMs and civic leaders from across Wales.
11:45 - Parade to Guildhall and Reception. The parade will include more than 400 RAF personnel, including the Queen's Colour Squadron, RAF St Athan and more than 200 air cadets. This event will also include an RAF fly-past.

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