Today is the 100th birthday of the Royal Air Force, the world’s oldest independent air force. Once upon a long ago, I served in the RAF. Why did I choose the RAF? Well, I got a bit too seasick for the Navy. And bullet dodging with the British Army wasn’t something that appealed to me. The application process was quite the balava. In between posting my application form and turning up for basic training at RAF Halton, eighteen months passed. Numerous tests, interviews and a pair of medicals filled the time. Two medicals, rather than the usual one, because I failed the first for being a couple of pounds underweight, courtesy of a ten day bout of flu.
I entered the RAF in May 1999. I exited about five days later, thanks to another failed medical. I’m a bit deaf in one ear, you see. And it turns out the RAF prefer their air traffic controllers to have exemplary hearing. Most unfortunate. Think of all the things I missed out on. Iraq and Afghanistan, for example. I think things turned out for the best, if we’re going to be honest. I suspect that my time in Mexico was most enjoyable than a lengthy stint in Kabul. And whilst I do still have a fascination for military aircraft, I prefer to watch them at Bournemouth air show each year. And watch documentaries to marvel at the feats of those fabulous flying men from the safety of my sofa.
But still. The RAF are on my CV. As a footnote. Something to catch the eye and impress, without being sufficiently developed so as to provoke a question or conversation. So happy birthday RAF.