Ex-service groups join Mayor on parade to mark RAF centenary

Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck with those on parade during the commemoration of 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid
Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck with those on parade during the commemoration of 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

The flag of the RAF is flying high in Hartlepool to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

The RAF ensign was raised by the Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck outside the civic centre.

Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck is presented with the RAF ensign flag by David Stacey to commemorate 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck is presented with the RAF ensign flag by David Stacey to commemorate 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

A ceremony was arranged by the Hartlepool branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) to commemorate the special anniversary which falls on Sunday.

It will continue to fly over the whole of Easter until Tuesday.

David Stacey, chairman of the Hartlepool RAFA, was delighted with how the ceremony went.

He said: “As part of our celebrations the RAFA in Hartlepool approached the council and asked them for permission to fly the RAF ensign on the civic centre flag pole.

The RAF Standard flying on the centre flagpole at the end of the commemoration of 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

The RAF Standard flying on the centre flagpole at the end of the commemoration of 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

“The council made a very quick decision bearing in mind it is a very special occasion.

“We can only celebrate the 100th anniversary once and the council duly obliged.

“The Mayor made a speech saying how proud he was to fly the ensign and hoped the town would recognise what the RAF has done in its 100 years and what it continues to do now.”

The RAF was formed on April 1, in 1918, from the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Force.

Standards were lowered during the flag raising.

Standards were lowered during the flag raising.

Standard bearers for the Hartlepool branch of the Royal British Legion, RAFA and Women’s Royal Air Corps (WRAC) attended.

Hartlepool council’s armed forces champion Councillor Allan Barclay, and representatives from the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Association were also present.

On Sunday, April 8, St Aidan’s Church, in Oxford Street, Hartlepool, will celebrate the anniversary when anyone who has served in the forces will be especially welcome.

The service starts at 10.30am.

Former RAF member Kevin Craddy (92) during the flag raising to commemorate 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

Former RAF member Kevin Craddy (92) during the flag raising to commemorate 100 years of the RAF. Picture by Frank Reid

The Hartlepool branch of the RAFA is looking for more people to join their ranks, of serving and ex-members of the RAF.

It is particularly keen to welcome younger people who have served in recent conflicts.

The branch meets at the Olde Durhams Club, in St Aidan’s Street, on the last Tuesday of the month.

For more details call 07907 874654.