As Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps, it gives me particular pleasure to acknowledge the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to those who founded it and the many since who, especially in the early years, worked to ensure its continued success.

In 1957, when the Corps was formed, the British Army had just a small number of Air Observation Post light aircraft which were used for artillery spotting and observation. Its predecessors the Air OP Squadrons and Glider Pilot Regiment had served with distinction in the Second World War when the helicopter was still in its infancy.

With the introduction to service of the Apache Attack Helicopter into today's Army Air Corps, who could have imagined then that the helicopter would come to play such a leading role in the battlefield?

Since its formation, the Corps has been deployed in almost every country where the British Army has operated. From Borneo to Aden and from the Falkland Islands to the Gulf, the Army Air Corps has served with great credit, whatever role it was called upon to perform. Its history which is so well presented at the Corps' museum at Middle Wallop, is fascinating; indeed it is littered with many examples of the bravery, imagination and verve for which the Corps is renowned. The Army Historic Aircraft Flight brings that history alive with care and devotion by keeping these wonderful aircraft, no longer in service, in flying condition and by demonstrating them in public.

As Colonel-in-Chief, I can only say how proud I am to be associated with the Army Air Corps and the Historic Aircraft Flight.