Royal Air Force marks 100th anniversary by inspiring Canadian youth

News Article / June 8, 2018

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From the British High Commission Ottawa

To celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF), school and cadet groups across Eastern Ontario and Western Québec are having an exclusive opportunity to learn about how pilots from the British and Canadian armed forces continue to work together to support peace and security around the world.

With inspiring future generations being such a big theme of RAF100 celebrations, the United Kingdom’s Naval and Air Attaché to Canada, Commander Neil Marriott of the Royal Navy, called on Ottawa-based RAF exchange officers Squadron Leader Drew Anderson and Squadron Leader Andy Wilson to offer a series of informative and exciting visits for school and youth groups, in partnership with volunteer group Vintage Wings of Canada.

During each session, 30 teenagers have been invited to visit Vintage Wings' impressive aircraft collection at the Gatineau Airport, where they receive an informal presentation on the history of the RAF by current Air Force service members. They also learn about Canada’s role in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War, and how the RAF and RCAF continue to cooperate today.

At least seven school and cadet groups have been participating in the “ground schools”, including trips planned for the coming weeks.

“We’ve got a fantastic opportunity here to help the next generation learn a little bit of our shared history while at the same time maybe inspiring some of them to consider a career in aerospace," said RAF Squadron Leader Drew Anderson, who is currently on exchange with the RCAF. “The volunteer staff at Vintage Wings of Canada have been fantastic and everyone is fully supportive of our RAF100 outreach activities. It’s also important to remember that this is not a museum—these aircraft actually fly—and these youth are really excited to get so close to such beautiful and functioning classic aircraft.”

“As an organization, we are all about inspiring young people,” said Don Buchan from Vintage Wings, “so the RAF100 commemoration gave us the catalyst we were looking for to put together an interesting and informative program that we could use to reach a lot of local youths.”

The RAF is capitalizing on its centenary year to Commemorate 100 years of extraordinary success, achievement and sacrifice, Celebrate the professionalism and dedication of today’s RAF, which is airborne 24/7 supporting UK and allied interests around the world, and Inspire future generations by telling its unique story.

“The focus of these events is to celebrate the history of the RAF and demonstrate its close relationship with the RCAF over the last century and today, at home and overseas,” Commander Marriott told the youths in attendance.

“We will inform you of the significant scientific leaps in aeronautics that were required to form the modern Air Forces of today, hopefully inspiring you to be Canada’s future scientists, engineers, medical professionals – or even pilots.”

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