What links the Oscars, the Nobel Prize, and the Order of the White Lion? The answer is the Royal Air Force. And following Wednesday’s flypast we wanted to celebrate the wonderful contributions made to the world by its veterans.
If you wanted to make a film with RAF veterans, you could cast Richard Burton, Christopher Lee, Warren Mitchell, Alan Bates, Denholm Elliot or Peter Sellers. Amongst them they hold eleven Oscar nominations. Or if you insist on Oscar winners, how about RAF Sergeant Richard Attenborough or Flight Lieutenant Rex Harrison?
Godfrey Hounsfield may not be as well known as the thespians, but last year alone the NHS took 4.8 million computed tomography X-rays. Better known as the CT scan, this is the discovery for which Sir Godfrey shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Medicine. He served with the RAF through World War II and was knighted in 1981.
Like Sir Godfrey, Nicholas Winton deserves to be better known. This remarkable man started WWII as a registered conscientious objector and served with the Red Cross. But in 1940 he joined the RAF as an Aircraftman and retired in 1954, retaining the honorary rank of Flight Lieutenant. His awards include a knighthood, the Wallenberg Medal and, in 2014, the Order of the White Lion, the Czech Republic’s highest award. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Why is he important? In 1939, Sir Nicolas organised the transport and resettlement of 669 largely Jewish children from Prague to the UK, saving them from the Holocaust.
Patria was established by veterans to support the main Armed Forces Charities and to give back to those who have given so much for us. Learn more about our commitment here.