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Founders Day 2024: Video
Founders Day 2024: Image

Under a Lincolnshire sky, dry and breezy, the Founder’s Day Ceremony took place at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell on 2nd February 2024.

The parade was brought to attention by the College Warrant Officer and came to the salute as the Ensign was raised over the College.

Those on parade included Senior Officers, RAFOTA and College Staff, and an Officer Cadet cadre.

The Cranwellian Association was represented by the President, ACM Sir Michael Graydon, accompanied by a number of our members.

Founders Day 2024: Text
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Founders Day 2024: Image

The ceremony was led by the College Chaplain, with addresses from:

An Officer Cadet giving Trenchard’s Vision

The Commandant – The Future

An Officer Cadet giving a Reading from Job 3

The Chaplain

Concluding with the College Prayer and the Blessing

( See Texts below )

Founders Day 2024: Text
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Founders Day 2024: Image
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Founders Day 2024: Image

As the Ceremony concluded, and as befits the day, we gathered before the statue of our Founder, the Lord Trenchard

Founders Day 2024: Text
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Founders Day 2024: Image


Good morning, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to celebrate the 103rd anniversary of Founders’ Day, and I am especially pleased to welcome back members of the Cranwellian Association, including their president, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon. 

Given the current challenges on NATO’s Eastern flank, Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing tension across the Middle East and not forgetting the impact of inflation upon the UK economy, it is almost inevitable our focus is on today’s issue or the next challenge, however it is important that we take a moment to commemorate this Founders’ Day to reflect on our past, to consider what remains important and shaped who we in the Royal Air Force are today.

Since its inception in 1920, the College has strived to deliver training that prepares our people to meet the next challenge, underpinned by our core values of respect, integrity, service and excellence.

The hard-won reputation of the Royal Air Force, rests on the shoulders of those who have served before us.  Over a century ago, our predecessors arrived here; members of a new Service, under the watchful eye of Lord Trenchard, their challenge was to design, build and train a new Service. 

Their vision and hard work ensured the institutions, ethos and heritage of the Royal Air Force exist today. 

As I reflect on my time as the 43rd Commandant of the RAF College, and the many challenges that we all have faced over the last few years, those qualities of service, innovation, sacrifice, vision and hard work have never been more needed, nor more evident, and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved by you all. 

Looking to the future with Project PORTAL and the ambition to create a single gateway into the Royal Air Force, I am proud of the levels of ambition, to train and develop a world-class, integrated, capable and inclusive Air Force that can deliver decisive and lethal effects across all domains.  

For us here at Cranwell we will continue to support this vision and endeavour to ensure we have the Equipment, Infrastructure, Training, and above all else, People to prepare the next generation of RAF aviators to protect our nation into the future. 

So, my sincere thanks to you for parading today - you are a credit to those who have come before you.  Remembering our history and what made the Royal Air Force is a key part of our ethos – an ethos we must treasure, an ethos that will remain constant and an ethos that is the foundation for our current and future success. Thank you. 

Founders Day 2024: Text


Proverbs 3

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,  for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.  She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.   Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.  By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place … 

Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you …  Then you will go on your way in safety, 
and your foot will not stumble.

Chaplain’s  Address: 

 That reading from the Old Testament is an assertion that the very foundation of the world is not straightforwardly its physical existence, but the principle – or the virtue – of wisdom.  That we only understand our world, and how to navigate it properly – indeed, how to be who we’re supposed to be in it – if we grasp this non-material, dare I say, spiritual, foundation.

And for all that we love the glorious building that provides our backdrop today, the RAF College, Lord Trenchard’s gift to us, is not simply bricks and mortar.  There was a college before College Hall was built, and if College Hall were one day to fall, there would still be a college.  Because the essence of this place is not the building, or even the people, but the spirit they embody.

That spirit includes a certain kind of wisdom about how to train, lead and inspire others; about knowing ourselves in order to be able to be what others need us to be; about understanding what people need to be at their best; about recognising the nature of air power and its potential effects and how it must therefore be used wisely.  It’s a wisdom that has always recognised change and technological development, but has sought to accompany that with moral and ethical growth, seeking to understand not simply what we can do, but what we ought to do.  That asks what is our duty and responsibility to others, more than asking what are our rights.

Edmund Burke wrote that history is a pact between the dead, the living and the yet unborn.  Our duty is not just to ourselves, not even simply to this moment in history, but also to those who built what we have, and to those who will live in what we build.  We’re not simply independent individuals; we’re more than contracted employees of a faceless organisation.  We are the inheritors, the stewards, of a wisdom and an ethos – something set in train by Trenchard, and something that we need to grow and one day hand on to those who follow us.  

Founders Day 2024: Text
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