Thanksgiving and Commemoration Service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral
The RAF Regiment started its 75th anniversary celebrations of its formation with a Thanksgiving and Commemoration Service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral at 11am on 1st of February 17. The service was led by the Dean, the Reverend Canon Dr Frances Ward, who blessed the RAF Regiment 75th Anniversary Prayer Candle which was processed to the alter by Leading Aircraftman Gell, prize-winner of the recent trainee gunner course.
Readings at the service were given by Air Commodore Frank Clifford, Commandant General of the RAF Regiment and retired Squadron Leader Peter Lawrence, national chairman of the RAF Regiment Association. The Homily was given by The Reverend (Group Captain) Tim Wright, RAF Deputy Chaplain-in-Chief, (Operations).
The event was attended by more than 600 RAF personnel, former Commandant Generals and Regiments veterans and dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Clare Lady Euston and the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the RAF Regiment Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
Sir Stephen in his address said: “The Royal Air Force is extremely proud of what the RAF Regiment has done over the past 75 years. They have succeeded in the job they have been given and continue to set standards.” St Edmundsbury Cathedral is the custodian of the RAF Regiment Memorial and standards as a mark of the Regiment’s close association with Suffolk.
Olive Hathaway, 84, whose late husband Harry was a Warrant Officer in the regiment, said “My husband started in the RAF Regiment as a ground gunner in Burma and spent the next 34 years serving with the corps. It is a powerfully moving day, with some sadness too”.
Regt75 Formation Reception
Following the Service of Thanksgiving at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, invited guests joined serving members and senior Corps commanders for the Regiment75 Formation reception at the RAF Regiment Heritage Centre, RAF Honington.
Air Commodore Frank Clifford OBE, Commandant General of the RAF Regiment, hosted the informal event with Air Officer No 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Parker OBE, as the chief guest of honour. Two Founder Members of the Corps, Mr Len Hale and Mr Kelvin Glendenning OBE, were recognised and honoured by the gathering.
The Heritage Centre afforded guest and serving members the opportunity to travel down memory lane of the history of the RAF Regiment and to look at close quarters many of the iconic weapons, and equipment. A particularly interest was the newly installed Roll of Honour Room recording the ultimate sacrifice made by the former members of the Corps in varied theatres of operations. In his concluding speech at the reception, Air Commodore Clifford, addressing the Corps members assembled said, “we are standing on the shoulders of giants” and the Regiment’s enviable reputation will surely be assured by our next generation present today.