RAF Music Services News

101 years on...

On the 7th April 2019 with the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Hillier in attendance, the annual service to commemorate the formation of the Royal Air Force was held at St. Clement Danes Church in London.

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force were present to provide musical support for the church service that marked 101 years almost to the day, when the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air Flying Corps joined forces to birth the Royal Air Force on the 1st April 1918.

RAF band play music in church.
Wing Commander Piers Morrell and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force inside St. Clement Danes Church.
Photograph: RAF Northolt Photographic Section.

Under the direction of their Principal Director of Music, Wing Commander Piers Morrell, the band were positioned high up in the gallery of the church which first saw them providing pre-service music as the guests arrived.  A reflective programme of music welcomed the guests into the church, including Wing Commander (Retd) Barrie Hingley’s Elegy on the RAF March and Michael Kamen’s Band of Brothers, arranged by Warrant Officer Ian Laidler.

The celebratory service of the world’s oldest independent Air Force began with the arrival of many Association Branch Standards, including the Queens Colour, which was triumphantly welcomed by the Bliss Fanfare and marched in under the Royal Air Force March Past.

Military church service.
The Queen's Colour is marched into the church accompanied with the Royal Air Force March Past.
Photograph: RAF Northolt Photographic Section.

Throughout the service which was led by St. Clement Danes’ Resident Chaplain, Reverend David Osborn, the Central Band of the Royal Air Force performed alongside the Choir of St. Clement Danes under their Director of Music, Mr Simon Over during the congregational signing of the Hymns.

Following the Final Blessing, the band performed the recessional music of Wing Commander (Retd) Barrie Hingley’s Ceremonial March – ‘Lord Trenchard’, and as the congregation departed from the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, the joyous Bells of St. Clement Danes rang the famous Oranges and Lemons.


Article: Senior Aircraftman Adam Rosbottom.

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