`

Air museum central to major Paris event

ACM Sir Stephen Hillier; Lord Edward Llewellyn, British Ambassador to France; General Andre Lanata and General Le Ray, Governor of Paris with the AVRO 504 from Elvington Air Museum.
ACM Sir Stephen Hillier; Lord Edward Llewellyn, British Ambassador to France; General Andre Lanata and General Le Ray, Governor of Paris with the AVRO 504 from Elvington Air Museum.

The Allied Air Forces Memorial, which is based at Elvington, achieved something quite extraordinary by coordinating a major diplomatic event between the Royal Air Force and the French Armee de l’Air and the British Embassy.

The event celebrated more than 100 years of cooperation between the Air Forces of Britain and France, recognising that the Royal Air Force was in fact ‘born’ on the fields of France at St Omer on April 1st, 1918.

At the request of the Royal Air Force, the museum pledged an example of a WWI AVRO 504 bi-plane and an exhibition stand to be transported to the heart of Paris to l’Hotel des Invalides.

The venue is the home to Napoleon’s tomb and the venue for many French occasions of state and a hugely impressive location to stage the historic celebration.

Museum director, Ian Reed ONM FRAeS, said: “This was an unprecedented occasion and the first time that a UK museum has undertaken a display of this kind in perhaps the most prestigious location in France.

“We are very privileged to be asked by the Royal Air Force to assist in bringing to fruition this unique celebration of co-operation between the two country’s air forces, especially in this year of RAF100.

“The ties which bind our two countries remain strong, even as Brexit looms, and will remain so into the future, as announced here on Friday 25 May by the heads of the British and French Air Forces.”