This is the national RAF memorial. Its enormous gilded bronze eagle with wings outretched – symbol of the RAF – stands on a zodiacal globe on a tall plinth, looking across the River Thames towards France. At the top of the plinth are the words ‘Per ardua ad astra’ (Through adversity to the stars). This was originally the RFC’s motto and has been the RAF’s since its foundation 100 years ago.
The main inscription reads:
‘IN MEMORY OF ALL RANKS OF THE ROYAL NAVAL AIR SERVICE, ROYAL FLYING CORPS, ROYAL AIR FORCE AND THOSE AIR FORCES FROM EVERY PART OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN WINNING VICTORY FOR THEIR KING AND COUNTRY 1914-18. I BARE YOU ON EAGLES WINGS AND BROUGHT YOU UNTO MYSELF.’ Exodus 19:4
Royal Air Force Memorial, Victoria Embankment, London