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November 2018 Meeting

On Friday 9th November 2018 at The Abbey Centre 21 members and 6 visitors enjoyed an excellent talk by Group Captain Mark Heffron on "100 years of the Royal Air Force".

Mark has been in the RAF for 33 years and has managed anything except for flying, engineering and nursing. That leaves a lot including Human Resources, Finances, Strategy and Infrastructure, and, in the past, command of RAF High Wycombe.

Mark picked out a few themes and looked to dispel some myths along the way. The RAF was formed on 1st April 1918 when the Royal Naval Air Service (formed in 1914) and the Royal Flying Corps (formed in 1912) were brought together. Which makes the RAF the oldest independent Air Force. During WW1, the life expectancy of the servicemen was 20 minutes. The distinctive RAF blue uniform is due to material captured from the Prussian cavalry, and formations and ranks were chosen that reflected the air as opposed the sea and land.

The Women's Royal Air Force was created on the same day as the RAF but was disbanded on 1920. The organisation was formed again in 1939 and called the WAAF and provided numerous support roles, including as plotters. It was finally re-invented in 1949 as the WRAF, and in 1994 was fully amalgamated into the RAF. We can claim the first female: pilot in 1952; combined officer training in 1970; and fast jet pilot in 1994. There are now 3 female Air Vice-Marshalls. Mark teased us by asking what is the only role in the RAF that a woman cannot do. (Answer; RAF Roman Catholic chaplain.) A lot more detail is available at this link: RAF timeline Mark went on to tell us about the celebrations; what their objective was and what they achieved and the hour long presentation was going to conclude with a video. to see it click here. per ardua ad astra

December 2018 Meeting

Sixteen members met this afternoon and had some light hearted fun trying to work out from some photos which buildings in Daventry had the item featured. The answers ranged from the Moot Hall to the Burton Memorial and a few in between. A number of people made the observation that you need to walk around the town and look up. As always some more interesting facts came to light including that the weather vane on the Moot Hall celebrates the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign in 1897. We had a further set of photographs of Northamptonshire churches to identify and these were more challenging.