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History of the RAF

This gallery offers a timeline of that history, presented in the context of world aviation and significant socio/economic and historical events.

The Royal Air Force has a long and distinguished history. Founded in April 1918 by Lord Trenchard who instigated the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps with the Royal Naval Air Service, it is this nation's youngest military service but the oldest independent air force in the world.

RAF Founder: Lord Trenchard

Lord Trenchard, the founding father of the Royal Air ForceLord Trenchard was born in 1873 in Taunton and his name became synonymous with the Royal Air Force and the offensive strategic use of air power. After service with the Army he learned to fly at the age of 39 and was granted a pilot's licence after a total of one hour & fourteen minutes in the air!

A leather clad Royal Flying Corps Airman Leather-clad Royal Flying Corps crew 
Bristol F2b Fighter, 1918

Tornado F3 InterceptorTornado F3 Interceptor:
Weapon Systems Operator
Gulf War 2003