The Order of Service for a ceremony celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force, which will be attended by Meghan and Harry, has been released.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the service at Westminster Abbey alongside other members of the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen.
The 20-page Order of Service booklet includes historical notes on the RAF, which officially came into force on April 1, 2018.
Pictures included in the extensive Order of Service show the RAF’s early days, as squadrons proudly stand alongside spitfires.
Others show how the force works in the present day, with lightning speed fighter jets and Chinnooks.
For the full booklet scroll down – and you can download a copy to follow on.
The service is conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, while hymns sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, along with the wider congregation.
Readings will be read by Air Commodore Mark Hunt, Wing Commander Nikki Thomas.
Lessons will be read by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier and Theresa May.
The service will be the second time Meghan and Harry have been seen this week alone, having attended Prince Louis’s christening service yesterday.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh did not attend the young prince’s baptism.
Hymns being sung as part of today’s service include God Save the Queen, Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch, Urbs Dei, and The Airmen’s Hymn.
The Airmen’s Hymn
O RULER of the earth and sky be with our airmen when they fly; and keep them in thy loving care amid the perils of the air.
O let our cry come unto thee for those who fly o’er land and sea. Strong Son of Man, save those who fly.
O Holy Spirit, God’s own power swift-winged across th’uncharted sky; give peace in sudden danger’s hour: each anxious hour and lonely flight, bring calm of heart, and be thou near serene, unchallenged, day and night. to those who watch and those who fear.
O’er land and ocean safely bear To thee will rise the grateful prayer all those in peril in the air. of those who serve thee in the air.
O Trinity of love and grace, true guide of all who fly through space, in peace or war, mid friend or foe, be with them whereso’er they go. So shall our praise with heaven’s blend and joyful hearts to thee ascend.
I VOW to thee, my country, all earthly things above, entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love: the love that asks no question, the love that stands the test, that lays upon the altar the dearest and the best; the love that never falters, the love that pays the price, the love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago, most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know; we may not count her armies, we may not see her King; her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering; and soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase, and her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.
Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch
GUIDE me, O thou great Redeemer, Open now the crystal fountain pilgrim through this barren land; whence the healing stream doth flow; I am weak, but thou art mighty; let the fiery cloudy pillar hold me with thy powerful hand: lead me all my journey through: Bread of heaven, strong Deliverer, feed me till I want no more. be thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside; Death of death, and hell’s Destruction, land me safe on Canaan’s side: songs of praises I will ever give to thee.
First reading by Air Commodore Mark Hunt reads from the Nave Pulpit
"The task facing Rothermere and the new Air Council was a formidable one.
"No other fighting power established an independent air force during the war. There was (again) uncertainty about what the force should be called.
"Most of those involved talked and wrote about an ‘Air Service’. The legislation for the first time defined it as an ‘Air Force’, a term that had been used rarely.
But because the Act had specified ‘His Majesty’s Air Force’ there was no possibility of adding ‘Royal’ without the King’s warrant.
"The Air Council wondered whether, like the Royal Navy, where the ‘Royal’ had been accepted by usage rather than royal approval, the Air Force could simply add 11 the extra adjective.
"Legal advice was sought to see whether or how the King might authorize the use of ‘Royal’, or to learn if it could be done informally without the King’s explicit consent.
"The title clearly mattered given the atmosphere of insecurity surrounding the new service, but the issues assumed an exaggerated importance. On 19th February the Council was informed that the King had happily consented to the title ‘Royal Air Force’, the name it has borne ever since.
"A royal warrant was prepared for the new service, and on 22nd March the King approved an Order in Council uniting the two air services and authorizing the transfer of personnel from the Navy and Army for a period not exceeding four years.
"After a complex gestation, the Royal Air Force was to be born ten days later, on 1st April 1918."
Second reading by Wing Commander Nikki Thomas reads from the Great Lectern
"OH! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence.
Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air… . Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
First lesson by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, reads from the Great Lectern
"TO whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
"Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
"He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Second lesson by The Right Honourable Theresa May MP, Prime Minister, reads from the Great Lectern
"What more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
"Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
"They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
"Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God."
"Heavenly Father, who appears on the wings of the wind, we give our heartfelt thanks for the vision of those who laid the foundations of the Royal Air Force. With grateful hearts, we remember before thee, all who through faithful service, strove for peace and yearned for justice.
"As we honour their memory, give us we pray the gifts to be worthy successors, that their memories will live on in the commitment and dedication of those who serve today. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Squadron Leader Joan Ochuodho, RAF Benson, says:
"O GOD and Father of all, whose wisdom is unsearchable; hear our prayer which we offer for all who serve in the Royal Air Force. Bless, we pray, those who support and uphold them and their families.
"May thy wisdom and protection rest upon all who lead and all who serve. Especially, we pray for those who, in the name of peace, will this day put themselves in harm’s way, and for those who wait anxiously for their safe return. May each be renewed by thy strength. We ask this in the name of him who came not to be served but to serve, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Officer Cadet David Taylor, Royal Air Force College Cranwell, says:
"Everlasting God, creator of the ends of the earth, in whose will is our peace, we pray for thy blessing upon the Royal Air Force. May this generation, and generations to come, find the humility to wait upon thee, the wisdom to know what is true and the courage to do what is right.
"Turn our hearts, and the hearts of all, to thyself, that by the power of thy Spirit, the peace which is founded upon righteousness may be established throughout the whole world; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence, says:
"All these, our prayers and praises, let us offer to the Father in the words our Saviour has taught us.
"OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen."
The full order of service can be downloaded here
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