As part of the events marking RAF100, Lord Edward Llewellyn, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to France, hosted Madame Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the Chief of the Air Staff; and his homologue General André Lanata, the Chief of the French Air Force, at his Residence in Paris on Thursday.
More than 2000 guests attended to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and recognise the dedication of those who have served, and continue to serve, in the RAF over the last 100 years. Attendees were able to enjoy a reconstructed Spitfire on display during the event, and were greeted with music from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and a Continuity Drill Display from the Queen’s Colour Squadron.
To mark 100 years of bilateral cooperation in the air, two vintage aircraft from World War I were on a free-to-public display in the central courtyard of Les Invalides from Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 May. The aircraft were an AVRO 504C British biplane fighter (on loan from the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, in Yorkshire, also home of the Allied Air Forces Memorial), and a French SPAD VII in Georges Guynemer’s colours (on loan from the Conservatoire de l'Air et l’Espace d‘Aquitaine). This was the first time that a UK aviation museum had been granted permission to stage a display in the Cour d’honneur at Les Invalides.
As part of a related VIP invitation-only event at Les Invalides on Friday morning, the 2 Air Force Chiefs gave a combined presentation to an audience of 150 people, which included the Ambassador and General Bruno Le Ray, Military Governor of Paris. Ahead of the presentation, and in front of the vintage aircraft, music was provided by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and their counterpart French Air Force band, culminating with a flypast of a French twin-seat Rafale of the 2/30 Fighter Squadron, jointly crewed by the British exchange officer pilot and a French pilot, both from that squadron.