The RAF’s 100th anniversary celebrations were kick-started in style as Oxfordshire marked the ‘tremendous contribution’ made by its forces.
A special centenary baton is being taken on 100 stops over 100 days to commemorate the RAF’s foundation in April 1918.
Its first stop in the county was at RAF Benson, where it remained overnight on April 3 before flying in dramatic fashion to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington via Puma helicopter.
It was then carried on a tour through the hospital by RAF personnel.
Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust’s armed forces champion, David Smith, said receiving the baton was an ‘honour’ for the hospital.
He added: “It’s fantastic that we’re able to be part of the baton route, and able to take time to celebrate the RAF’s contribution to our hospital and local area.
“The Trust is also taking this opportunity to thank all of our military staff for their hard work and dedication – they’re an invaluable part of our hospital and an asset to us.”
It was RAF Brize Norton’s turn to celebrate last Thursday with its commander, Timothy Jones, Horus 7’s Rugby Team, the station’s Go Karting club, the Triathlon Club, the Saddle Club, station personnel and their families all in attendance.
The west Oxfordshire base is the RAF’s largest base, with about 5,800 service personnel, 1,200 contractors and about 300 civilian staff.
The baton, which features the RAF crest and RAF100 logo, was designed by young RAF recruits using materials that symbolise aircraft construction through the ages.
It will return to Oxfordshire when it makes an appearance at the Henley Royal Regatta on July 6.
The baton will end its journey at Horseguards Parade in London on July 10, 100 days after it set off from the Royal Courts of Justice, in the capital, on April 1.
Visit raf.mod.uk/raf100/ for more information.