WANTAGE celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force with a parade through the town by a host of local groups.

The annual event, which this year coincided with the centenary of the First World War, marched through the town to the sound of a local band.

Alan Clark, chairman of Wantage and District RAF Association (RAFA), said: “It went extremely well. We are very pleased because we had two flights from Brize Norton, the Wantage Silver Band, Air Cadets and the veterans.

“We do it every year but this was special because it was a 100 year anniversary of the RAF, [the 78th anniversary of the] Battle of Britain and the end of the First World War. So its like a triple celebration.”

Each year, the march pays tribute to the contribution RAF officers made at the Battle of Britain, often remembered as one of the air force’s great triumphs.

Sunday's march set off from near the Beacon at just before midday, then headed to the parish church for a service.

The group later enjoyed a dinner at the Bear Hotel.

David Drew, Wantage RAFA’s president, explained: “There was great weather, the parade was as large as ever and everything went off extremely well, thanks in large measure to the Wantage Silver Band.”

Mr Drew also thanked 4624 squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (Brize Norton) and Air Cadets from Didcot, Witney and Wantage for their help with the event.

A RAF Benson spokeswoman added: “The annual Wantage Battle of Britain parade on Sunday was a great success and a fitting tribute to our predecessors, especially those who didn’t return home.

“We were honoured for RAF Benson’s Squadron Leader Angela Glasby to attend as the Reviewing Officer for the parade, which included personnel from RAF Brize Norton, local Air Cadets and members of the RAF Association."

The local base also highlighted another event – a formal dinner and ‘sunset ceremony complete with parade, lowering of the ensign and a flypast from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ – the previous Sunday, which also remembered those who served during the Battle of Britain.

Praising this weekend’s parade, Ben Mabbett, a local councillor who also plays the the bass drum for Wantage Silver Band, said: “It’s always an honour for Wantage Silver Band to play our part and march with the airmen and women of the RAF, the RAFA association and the Air Cadets.

“This year’s particularly special because of the centenary of the RAF.

“The music chosen paid homage to all those that have served and the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice.”