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100 Years Of Naval Aviation

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Rear Admiral Simon Charlier, Chief of Staff (Aviation), will mark the launch of the One Hundredth Anniversary of Naval Aviation at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose on Wednesday 11 March 2009. 

To highlight the event, some of Culdrose’s aircraft are being painted in eye-catching colours and Admiral Charlier will be available for questions on “Fly Navy 100”.
The highlight of the anniversary events this year will be on 7 May 2009 at Greenwich, London, with a flypast of historic and current Fleet Air Arm aircraft over the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on 8 May 2009 will formally recognise and pay tribute to the sacrifices made during the history of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Arm.
The anniversary marks the Admiralty’s far-sighted and visionary decision on 7 May 1909 to order the first airship, HMS Airship 1, and embark on a development programme for military aviation.  Consequently, when, five years later, World War One broke out, the Royal Navy was not only prepared but in the vanguard.  It was the Royal Navy who carried out the first strategic bombing from the air, the first air to air kill, the first sinking of a ship using a torpedo from the air and the first use of aircraft in a sea battle.

The Fleet Air Arm, as these brave pioneers became known, went on to perform with valour and distinction including actions such as the Taranto Raid, the Channel Dash, involvement in the sinking of the Bismarck and more recently the Falklands Conflict, Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.  The Fleet Air Arm has won 4 VCs during its history, the first being awarded to Lt Warneford in 1915 for downing a German Airship.