Today is the Centenary of the Royal Air Force (Constitution) Act. The Act was the work of David Lloyd George and Jan Christiaan Smuts as a response to the unopposed German air raids which took place over London during the summer of 1917.

The vision set out by the then General Smuts was to have a group of professional and qualified airmen able to advise and direct operations. The amalgamation of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps on 1 April 1918 saw the creation of the Royal Air Force.

The RAF has been integral to our military campaigns. Helping us win the First and Second World Wars. Southampton also played a pivotal role during the Battle of Britain with the design and manufacture of Spitfire.

The contribution the RAF played during the Cold War to deliver the essential supplies to West Berlin was the first humanitarian exercise in modern history and would continue to fly around the world proving humanitarian support.

Our military campaigns in the Falklands, the first Gulf War and more recently against Daesh in Syria and Iraq just show what we can do in the skies to protect sovereign territory and defeat modern terrorism.
As recently as September our brave servicemen have been assisting the people of the Caribbean during the hurricane season with essential freight and humanitarian aid.

Looking back over the past century, it is clear to see that the professionalism and dedication of RAF servicemen and women have constantly delivered for the people of Britain and around the world.

Thank you.