One who is doing her bit to maintain RAF morale is Flight Lieut Harriet Tadikonda, 28. She has founded an RAF choir, The Spitfires.

They have a concert this month at St Clement Danes with the Metropolitan Police male voice choir and some gospel singers from Leicester.

Flt Lt Tadikonda, pictured, once a cathedral chorister, has a tricky time as choirmistress. Her singers are as far afield as the Falklands and Afghanistan.

The choir includes an Air Commodore and a couple of Squadron Leaders. It can't be easy to tell them to sharpen their flats.

'When we held auditions, one person attended in camouflage cream, hands all greened up,' she says. 'We invite the bereaved to our concerts, to keep them in the RAF family.'

Hitting the right notes: Flight Lieut Harriet Tadikonda has founded an RAF choir

Hitting the right notes: Flight Lieut Harriet Tadikonda has founded an RAF choir


The incorporation of gospel and negro spirituals has been a challenge. 'I got to work on the Air Commodore to get him swinging his hips,' she says.

'Some of them were very military and rigid at first but they're learning.'

Concerts start with the sound of a Spitfire zooming overhead. As it disappears, the singers quietly start their opening number. Magic.