10 April 2018

Watch the RAF100 Baton Relay arrive at CWGC Runnymede Memorial

Royal Air Force veterans and Air Cadets joined a poignant ceremony at the CWGC Runnymede Air Forces Memorial yesterday (Monday), as part of an international series of events marking the RAF’s 100th anniversary.

Photos courtesy of the RAF

The veterans, cadets and a team of RAF personnel, running in the 100-day RAF100 Baton Relay, joined a sunset ceremony led by Katy Harrison, the chaplain of 459 (Windsor) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.

Having run the baton 18 miles from Aldershot, RAF Flight Sergeant Jay Ferguson led the baton runners into the memorial. He said “We brought the baton to Runnymede, as part of the baton relay, for the significance of the site and to commemorate those who went before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be here today. The baton is visiting 100 key RAF locations and many more with significance to the RAF.”

The CWGC’s Peter Francis said: “It is fitting that this event has taken place at a place which marks the human price paid by members of the Commonwealth Air Forces. Today’s event gives thanks for their service and honours their sacrifice, but also reminds us of the importance of passing the baton of remembrance to a new generation so that the names of those listed here, and their memory, lives on.”

Before the ceremony, new members of 459 Squadron were inducted in the hallowed walls of the memorial, where heroes such as Noor Inayat Khan are remembered. Noor was a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force servicewoman in the Second World War who became a secret agent with the Special Operations Executive operating in Nazi-occupied France until she was captured and later executed.

The memorial, built and cared for by the CWGC commemorates more than 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe who have no known grave.

Latest News

Monday 23 April will mark 100 years since the Zeebrugge Raid. One of the most celebrated episodes of the First World War at sea, the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port and prevent the German navy from using it. More than 200 sailors and marines were killed and over 300 wounded. The dead are commemorated by the CWGC at sites in the UK and in Belgium, including Zeebrugge Churchyard which will be visited by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal over the weekend.

Today (18 April) is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them. We have asked the Commission’s conservation team to tell us about four of CWGC’s impressive, but lesser-known sites from around the world. Which one would you like to visit? Vote in our Twitter Poll.

A burial service was held at the Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery this morning for Captain H J I Walker and six unknown soldiers, more than 100 years after their death.