COULD you help with an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF?

Plans are in place for celebrations in Bridport in April to mark the centenary and honour those from Dorset who served their country in the skies.

Organisers have already started compiling photographs and memorabilia for the event, which will include a thanksgiving service, and they want to hear from anyone with memories or those who may have other items which could be displayed.

Any pictures or items lent will be returned as soon as possible after the exhibition.

They are also appealing for information about several Bridport and Dorset men who were in the service at the time it was formed.

This includes Charles Law Atkinson, of Bridport, H. Leslie Satchell, of Charmouth, and Bob Crosthwaite of Broadoak.

Alan Kidson, of the Bridport and Lyme Regis Registered Members Group said the idea is to honour those from Dorset, or with Dorset connections, and tell their fascinating stories.

He added: “There are a lot of older people still around who have been with the RAF – I know one gentleman in Bridport who can’t get out and we pop round regularly to see him. He is part of the RAF family.

“Just last week the Bridport News reported that more volunteers are needed and that there are thousands of veterans across the country who are lonely and isolated.”

Mr Kidson served in the RAF himself for 39 years, serving across the UK as well as Singapore and Cyprus.

He is particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have more information on pilot Ronald Foss of Bridport.

Mr Kidson said: “We know very little about him, so I’m hoping there may be people out there who are able to help. We know he was reported missing in action and his family were told he was dead but he turned up alive some time later.

“It has been fascinating doing the research.

“It is quite possible that many from Dorset joined as apprentices in the 1920s 30s and 40s as well as more recently. We have photographs that are of the local area and names that are either not available or not recognised. Help with these and any others in the pictures who have served in the Royal Air Force during the 100 years would be much appreciated.”

The exhibition will go on display in Bridport Town Hall on Easter Monday, April 2, from 10am to 3pm. The Tourist Information Centre will be open, and there will be disabled access via the lift there.

The display will be the culmination of a weekend of events honouring the centenary. On Saturday, March 31 the group will be in Bucky Doo Square promoting the Association with current members of the RAF and the Wessex Military Band will also be in attendance.

On Sunday, April 1 there will be a short thanksgiving service at the town memorial at South Street at 11.30am.

If you recognise anyone in the pictures, or can offer more information or items to be included in the exhibition, email Mr Kidson on or call the Bridport News on 01305 830981.

Host of events to mark milestone

THE event in Bridport is just one of hundreds across the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF.

There will be a celebratory concert at the Royal Albert Hall on April 1, a service at St Clement Danes in London and an RAF baton relay, where a baton will make its way around the country, visiting sites important to the RAF and local communities.

A spokesman said: “Throughout this year the RAF will be asking the public to join with it and commemorate the history of the RAF and all those who have served in it. From the earliest veterans in the First World War, through to ‘The Few’ of the Battle of Britain, right up to those who have recently left, we want to highlight the commitment and sacrifice these men and women have made in service to their country.

“In our 100th year we will show the important role the RAF continues to play in serving the British people and our allies across the globe, from helping in civil emergencies to keeping UK airspace safe.

“RAF100 will offer the opportunity to provide future generations with new possibilities. RAF100’s greatest legacy will be the Inspire programme, which will introduce a generation of young people to the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) careers.”