Letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Royal Air Force



Letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Royal Air Force


On the occasion of HM presenting a new colour to the Royal Air Force and providing some complimentary remarks.



Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



One page printed document mounted on an album page

Is Part Of


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.





[Buckingham Palace crest]

Air Chief Marshal Sir Neil Cameron, Officers, Airmen and Airwomen of the Royal Air Force,

It has given me the greatest pleasure to present a New Colour to the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom at this Review which marks my Silver Jubilee. I am delighted that this ceremony could take place in the presence of representatives of all Commands and Stations.

Nine years ago I attended the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force in my grandfather’s reign. In 1951, I presented the first of these Colours on behalf of my father, who had himself served with the Royal Air Force. I am glad to say that this close family association continues to the present day in a very active way. I know that I, and all those members of my family who have accepted appointments as Honorary Air Commodores, feel honoured and delighted to maintain this tradition.

Ever since the allied victories in 1945, to which the Royal Air Force made such conspicuous contributions, the development of military aviation has been remarkable. Unfortunately, the rise in costs has been equally remarkable. At the Coronation Review at Odiham, 640 aircraft took part; today we shall see 137 in the air, but their collective capabilities far surpass those of 24 years ago.

In spite of financial stringency, re-equipment of the Royal Air Force with new and even more sophisticated aircraft continues and this will make fresh demands on professional skills and ingenuity. I know the challenge will be accepted and I am confident that the Service will maintain the same record of success in international competitions and the same high standards of operational efficiency.

This Colour is symbolic of the confidence of the Nation in the Royal Air Force. It is also a tribute to the men and women whose devotion and sacrifice have given the Service such a splendid reputation throughout the world.

[signature Elizabeth R]

29th July, 1977.



H M Queen Elizabeth, “Letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Royal Air Force,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 27, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/36414.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.