celebrating the centenary of the royal air force 

For more information contact: 

Jane Davidson
Director of Outreach & Education

Tel: 0141 332 9559


Welcome to  From the Mud to the Stars, the online resource pack commissioned and produced by Scottish Opera as our contribution to the Scottish Government’s programme of commemoration of the centenary of World War I (1914- 1918), sometimes called The Great War.

Over a 12 -month period, our artists worked with people of all ages across the country who had connection to the RAF. These included primary & secondary school pupils, University Air Squadron students, veterans from the 1940s onwards, and current service personnel. We invited them to share their thoughts and experiences with us and to express their memories and ideas through writing, music, performance and visual art. Inspired by their creativity,  our Education team have developed the resources you will find below. 

We thank them all for their wonderful contributions to this project.




2018 saw not only one hundred years since the end of World War I, but also the founding of The Royal Air Force – or simply, The RAF -  the world’s oldest independent air force.

On 1 April 1918, the new force came into being, formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Core (which had previously been the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers under the control of the British Army) and the Royal Air Naval Service which was its naval equivalent and run by the Admiralty. The decision to merge the two services under a new name and structure was a response to the events of World War I – the first war in history in which air power made a significant impact.

However, the Great War and its aftermath ushered in a time in which artists of all disciplines many of whom had personal experience of the conflict produced work as a response to the trauma they experienced and witnessed in others; work that often reassessed perceptions held by older generations about war. 



Writers Vera Brittain, Erich Maria Remarque and Ernest Hemmingway; painters Otto Dix and Paul Nash; composers Rafe Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and Edward Elgar andperhaps mostly famously poets including Seigfried Sassoon, Wilfrid Owen and Robert Graves all responded in dramatically different ways to the trauma of war, and their creative outpourings began a new wave of artistic thought that has influenced the cultural lives of subsequent generations.  

Much like these artists, we hope that the From the Mud to the Stars resources found below will provide a starting point for young people to engage creatively and learn about the different aspects of the RAF, from its traumatic and triumphant beginnings in the First World War, to the Service's modern day missions across the world and closer to home. 


As part of the Mud to the Stars  project, we've put together a number of tasks and resources designed to be used by school groups to help young people explore the last 100 years of the RAF.

You can use these resources in any way you wish. If you’re a teacher or youth arts worker, your students can learn the songs from the backing tracks provided, or even write their own ones; they can have a go at writing the next scene of a play or create a piece of art-work featuring 100 years of aviation design. 

Most of the activities are suitable for primaries 5–7 (level 2) and some for pupils in Secondary 1 or 2. All Curriculum for Excellence Outcomes and Experiences are clearly marked within the introduction to each task. 

If you have any questions about any of the activities, or about the Mud to the Stars project, please contact our Education and Outreach team.