RAF 100: Romford MP Andrew Rosindell’s tribute to ‘revolutionary’ Royal Air Force

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell in Parliament. Picture: Parliament.TV

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell in Parliament. Picture: Parliament.TV - Credit: Parliament.TV

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell reflects on the gallant work of the RAF in both the past and present.

The Royal Air Force is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Let this be a great national celebration, as we honour the service the RAF has given over the past century.

The First World War transformed the nature of warfare on land, but the innovation went much further, with a true revolution in military affairs cemented in the form of air power.

Uniquely amongst the three services, the RAF are the only armed service established by an Act of Parliament, due to its immediate need.

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While considerably younger than the Army and Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force has been tested by many conflicts and has proved itself a world leader in the technical prowess of its aircraft and servicemen and women.

Undoubtedly, the RAF’s finest hour occurred during the summer months of 1940, during the Battle of Britain. Churchill memorably dubbed the RAF’s fighter pilots “The Few”.

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It is important we never forget the context of that battle.

Britain stood alone at this point and defeat would certainly have meant an invasion of our island nation.

The RAF not only destroyed the myth of Nazi invincibility, but saved the country and provided a key turning point for the fate of the whole Second World War.

We also have a very special connection in our borough of Havering.

In the first half of the 20th century, RAF Hornchurch was among the country’s most important military airfields.

Pilots stationed at Hornchurch became national heroes during the Battle of Britain, forming part of the front line of the country’s defences.

I also recently had the pleasure of visiting the Air Training Corps cadets from 6F (Romford) Squadron as their president, one of the oldest squadrons in the country.

With the ethos of the RAF instilled in these fine young people, you truly appreciate how much these individuals are great credit to society. What a tremendous example for all young people to follow.

That is why I’m extremely proud of my own father, Frederick William Rosindell, who served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

He was an RAF pilot and Flight Lieutenant, who flew transport planes.

He trained in the Royal Canadian Air Force and survived being shot down by the Luftwaffe over the east of England.

So, the Royal Air Force has a special place in my heart.

So as we celebrate the RAF’s past glories, let us also remember the gallant work the RAF is engaged in today and doubtless will do into the future.

Most recently, the RAF has been delivering aid to areas hit by conflict and extreme weather.

When our Overseas Territories in the Caribbean were in dire need after the devastation of Hurricane Irma recently, the RAF delivered humanitarian aid on the ground.

On a slightly more sobering note, RAF Typhoon squadrons still sit on emergency standby ready and frequently scramble to intercept suspicious planes approaching our airspace.

RAF 100 gives our nation a unique opportunity to recognise the achievements of the RAF and inspire future generations.

As it stands, the youngest branch of our military is currently engaged in 13 missions on four continents and in 22 countries.

The RAF’s history and achievements are astounding. I am glad to see the spirit and the fascination many of us have with flying reflected in the many special events and activities taking place at local, regional and national levels.

Let us wish our Royal Air Force another 100 years, protecting the skies of Britain!

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