The Driffield Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association is this year celebrating its 70th Anniversary, having being formed on the 29 December 1944.
To celebrate this milestone we are holding a concert in the Old Town Hall, Bell Hotel on Sunday 29 of June at 2pm - and all proceeds are being donated to the 2014 Royal Air Forces Association Wings Appeal.
Last year, in 2013, the Driffield branch raised more than £1,600 for the annual wings appeal so this year, in our birthday year, we are hoping to raise even more and would be grateful if the townsfolk of Driffield and surrounding area could come and support us on the day of the concert.
We are proud as a branch to have managed to achieve 70 years as an active branch as other branches in the area have sadly had to close down. This is mainly due to an aging membership and a sad lack of new blood joining.
Over the past years, both the Beverley and Hornsea branches have had to close and their surviving members have been transferred to the Driffield branch.
We currently have a total of 85 members, our oldest member is 92 years young and still plays an active part.
We have members living in various towns and villages within the East Riding and also in other locations both in England and Scotland.
Two members are very far flung with one member living in Australia and another who lives in Canada.
Sadly there are no founder members of the branch still living.
The Royal Air Force itself was formed on 1st April 1918 through the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1930 an organisation called ”Comrades of the Royal Air Forces Association” was formed as a result of a meeting held in 1929 by three RAF men in the Sergeants mess at RAF Andover.
In 1943 with more than a million personnel serving in the Royal Air Force the name of the organisation was changed to “Royal Air Forces Association” . At its peak in 1947 membership was 200,000 and there were 565 branches throughout the UK and overseas. At that time membership enrolment reached 10,000 a week.
Today there are 422 active branches and 63,500 members rather a far cry from 1947, however I am pleased to say the Driffield Branch is still on the go.
We meet four times a year on the second Tuesday of February, May, August and November in the Bell Hotel Driffield at 7.30pm for meeting at 8pm and we have a Christmas Lunch in December which this year will be on our birthday on Monday the 29th.
We have visits away and this year we are going to RAF Scampton on the Monday 7th July and to the Aircraft Museum at Elvington on a date in October yet to be decided.