By Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward KBE CB
Deputy Colonel Commandant Army Air Corps

In its relatively short history The Army Air Corps has become a vital part of the Army’s Order of Battle, providing life-saving and battle-winning capability in the third dimension. Whilst aircraft are obviously an essential element of this capability, it is the human dimension that gives it real character and the edge to prevail in often adverse circumstances. We rely on our people to commit to the ethos of the organisation, live and work alongside each other in austere environments and from time to time, make the ultimate sacrifice. This unlimited liability invariably builds a special bond between soldiers, and within Army Aviation, which brings together the AAC, REME, RLC and a wide variety of other cap-badges, there is a broader bond that transcends the unit or regimental association. I don’t believe it is a bond that makes us all want to pick up our umbrellas and bowler hats to march down Salisbury High Street once a year, but it is one which is about keeping track of old mates, giving them a lift up when required, laughing about old habits and new challenges and respecting each and everyone’s contribution to this small, but dynamic and diverse family.

Now whilst the Corps works hard to recognise sacrifice in service and keep track of those in need who have worn the AAC cap badge, this wider community of ‘aviators’ of all cap badges has hitherto lacked a means of connectivity and recognition, especially one which crosses the serving-retired divide. Chris Hitchens has come up with a variation on social networking which seeks to provide such a tool, which not only provides a means of staying in touch and recognising those who have passed away under any circumstances, but also provides support for the families and friends, who are still very much part of this Army Aviation Family.

As the Honour Role has evolved over the last few months, I have not only been reminded of some of the great characters I have served alongside, have chuckled at the anecdotes that have been posted and paused for thought as yet another name has been added, especially when it has been someone much younger than I. I hope that more and more members of the Aviation Family come to visit, post the odd comment, get in touch with an old comrade or even take some strength from what they find here. Of course, this all depends on Chris continuing to support this unique site. But for what he has already done, I’m sure he deserves the sincere thanks of us all, serving, retired or related.