Huge mural at Belfast City Hospital marks NI connection to early days of RAF

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A new artwork marking 100 years since the establishment of the Royal Air Force during the First World War will be unveiled in Belfast on Saturday.

The Northern Ireland RAF 100 Mural occupies a huge rear wall of the City Hospital on the Donegall Road and focuses on the aircraft that were built locally under licence during World War One, as well as the pilots from throughout the island of Ireland who flew for the Royal Flying Corps and its April 1918 successor, the Royal Air Force.

The artwork is designed to dovetail perfectly into The Poppy Trail, a consecutive series of murals running along the Donegall Road, depicting each year of the First World War and telling the stories of local men from both communities who served and paid the ultimate price.

The commemorative project has been in development for over two years, and in that time included an educational visit for local primary school children to RAF Aldergrove.

It has been managed throughout by Belfast-based Wing Commander Tara Scott, who said: “From the Royal Air Force perspective, we wanted to have a lasting monument which reflected our one hundred years presence in Northern Ireland, and we feel the south Belfast mural is both informative and commemorative, and it is a good fit with the existing Poppy Trail murals, which recall the service and sacrifice of local people during the First World War.”

The mural will be unveiled at midday by Northern Ireland’s most senior RAF officer, Air Vice-Marshal David Niven CB CBE, with a fun day for local children to follow, including the presence of the Ulster Aviation Society replica Spitfire ‘Down’ at the Barrington Club, Barrington Gardens, just off the Donegall Road.