Queen Elizabeth praises Royal Air Force on 100th anniversary

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Queen Elizabeth praises Royal Air Force on 100th anniversary
FILE - In this photo issued Sunday April 1, 2018, by Britain's Ministry of Defence showing two Hawker Hart light bombers of 39 Squadron at Miranshah on the North West Frontier, Pakistan in 1938, as part of a collection of images marking the centenary of the world's first independent air force. It was 100-years ago on April 1 1918 that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to created the Royal Air Force. Queen Elizabeth II sent congratulations to the Royal Air Force on the 100th anniversary of its founding, with her message read out by 16-year old Adam Wood, one of the youngest members of the RAF. (Air Historical Branch/RAF via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has sent congratulations to Britain’s Royal Air Force on the 100th anniversary of its founding.

The queen’s message was read at a breakfast reception held Sunday at a central London building that served as the RAF’s first headquarters.

The Royal Air Force was created on April 1, 1918 through the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

Its reputation is strongly associated with the extraordinary bravery and skill of the pilots who defended Britain against Germany’s Luftwaffe during World War II.

Elizabeth said in her anniversary wishes that the RAF has “defended our freedom gallantly.”

Top air force officers attended the reception, but the job of reading the queen’s message fell to 16-year-old Aircraftsman Adam Wood, one of the RAF’s youngest members.