RAF Historical Society Journals

The logo of the Royal Air Force Historical Society Although the Royal Air Force dates from 1918, it was almost seventy years before a society devoted to examining the history of the Service emerged. That is not to say that the RAF’s history was being neglected. Ever since it was opened in 1972, the RAF Museum has exhibited a splendid collection of preserved airframes and artefacts as well as maintaining an ever-expanding archive. The official record is ably chronicled by the staff of the Air Historical Branch (AHB) and their efforts are amplified by painstakingly detailed research into practically every aspect of the RAF’s composition, operations and equipment published by a variety of enthusiasts’ organisations, not to mention the constant flow of books dedicated to particular aeroplane types, the histories of specific units, the careers of individuals and so on.

Nevertheless, while there was clearly no shortage of information, there was no public institution that was specifically dedicated to studying the history of the Service or which provided a forum at which it could be discussed. The Royal Air Force Historical Society was established in 1986 to fill this gap. It has charitable status and, although it is entirely self-financing, it has, from the outset, had the blessing of the Air Force Board.

Application for membership of the Royal Air Force Historical Society

GDPR Policy of the Royal Air Force Historical Society

The society aims to mount three annual events, two seminars, usually hosted by the RAF Museum at Hendon (although other venues are used occasionally), and an AGM held in London. Each seminar explores a specific theme and takes the form of papers read by interested parties, ranging from academic historians to veterans recalling their personal experiences. It is some indication of the calibre of speakers that the society can attract that participants have included serving and former Chiefs of the Air Staff, Lord Healey, Sir Michael Quinlan, Dr Alfred Price, Air Cdre Henry Probert (a former Head of the AHB) and Prof Peter Hennessy.

Next Event

Details of the next event are as follows:
Date: 10 April 2024
Location: The RAF Museum, London
Topic: The 1990s - A Decade of Change - Combat Support

Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns will chair this second part of the ‘Decade of Change‘ programme, which will focus on the crucial part played by the often unsung supporting assets and capabilities involved in the various operational theatres. A team of high ranking RAF officers, who were all deeply involved in operations during the 90s, will highlight the key contributions made by the AWACS, Tanker, Maritime and Air Transport fleets, along with Force Protection provided by the RAF Regiment. The huge importance and complex nature of the Engineering and Logistic challenges of expeditionary operations will conclude the presentations. An open Q&A session involving all speakers will end the Seminar.

Non-members wishing to attend, should contact Wg Cdr Colin Cummings at colincummings@tiscali.co.uk

Proceedings of the Society

The proceedings of each seminar, and the guest speaker’s paper read at each AGM, are all eventually published in the society’s Journal and it has been decided to make these more widely available as a research tool by publishing back issues on the web. The following journals are available in Adobe Reader Format:


Bracknell Papers

The following papers are sponsored jointly by the Royal Air Force Historical Society and the Royal Air Force Staff College, Bracknell.
Bracknell Paper 1 – Battle of Britain (14.4mb)
Bracknell Paper 2 – Battle of the Atlantic (5.8mb)
Bracknell Paper 3 – Land-Air Warfare (9.1mb)
Bracknell Paper 4 – The Bomber Offensive (27.9mb)
Bracknell Paper 5 – OVERLORD (34mb)
Bracknell Paper 6 – Far East Air War (42.2mb)
Bracknell Paper 7 – Air Intelligence (57.7mb)