Thursday 4th October 2018
Preparations are gathering pace for the special joint graduation taking place on Thursday 4th October at RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire. In a first for the RAF, non-commissioned Airmen and Officers will graduate together in front of their families, marking the end of their training and entry into the Service.
Recruit Samuel Cook, who in normal circumstances would be passing out at RAF Halton alongside his fellow airmen, said:
“I’m really looking forward to celebrating my graduation at RAF College Cranwell. The day will be made even more special because it is also my son’s birthday. He, and the rest of my family, is a key reason why I joined the RAF, knowing how much I can achieve and how proud I can make them during my service career.”
The 91 Recruits who have completed their initial training at RAF Halton will graduate alongside 106 Officer Cadets in front of College Hall, the spiritual home of the Service and the location for officer training since the RAF was established in 1918. Notable former graduates from RAF Cranwell include Sir Frank Whittle, Sir Douglas Bader and both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.
The joint graduation also marks the conclusion of the official RAF100 celebrations which have commemorated the first 100 years of the world’s first independent air force. As part of the legacy of the Centenary, work is underway for a single point of entry for Airmen and Officers at RAF College Cranwell. The single gateway approach is based on the meritocratic principles of Lord Trenchard – the RAF’s founding father – who created the Service on the idea of opportunities for all, based on merit and regardless of background.
Group Captain Paul McClurg will be undertaking Parade Commander duties on this special occasion. Reflecting on the importance of the event, he said:
“Today is one of the proudest days of a career that has spanned almost 35 years as both an airman and officer. The privilege of undertaking the Parade Commander role at this unique event has been something I aspired to when I undertook my Initial Officer Training. The fact that I will be on the same parade square that I graduated from exactly 23 years ago to the day makes the event even more special. The Joint Graduation represents the egalitarian values of the Royal Air Force and is a truly fitting end to our 100th birthday celebrations.”
Update – video of the event today released
For the first time in our 100 year history, Officers and Airmen are graduating together at RAF College Cranwell. We want to wish those graduating all the best for their future, may it be challenging, exciting and everything you hoped for and more. #RAF100 pic.twitter.com/6CTe8LgX41
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) October 4, 2018
Top image: A full dress rehearsal for the graduation parade of Initial Officer Training Course 55 and Beckett intake from the Recruit Training School RAF Halton, took place on the RAF College parade square at RAFC Cranwell on Tuesday 2 October 2018. The event will be the first time Recruits have graduated alongside Officer cadets.