WRNS and WRAFs at Warsash Air Station, 1918

WRNS and WRAFs at Warsash Air Station, 1918

1 April 1918

Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) formed (Chief Superintendant Lady Gertrude Crawford)

Introduction of ‘air force blue’ uniform

WRAF serving in France and Germany

WRAF disbanded

28 June 1939

Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) formed (Director Dame Katherine Trefusis-Forbes)

22 December 1939

First regulation for the WAAF issued, relating to terms of service, ranks, discipline, uniform and leave


Flf Off Elspeth Henderson, Sgt Joan Mortimer and Sgt Helen Turner awarded the Military Medal for bravery during the Battle of Britain

25 April 1941

Defence (Women’s Forces) Regulations declared all personnel enrolled in the WAAF members of the Armed Forces of the Crown

18 December 1941

National Service Act No. 2 issued, allowing the conscription of women

4 October 1943

Air Commandant Lady Mary Welsh appointed Director of the WAAF


Women’s Royal Air Force established within the RAF (Director Dame Felicity Peake)


Jean Lennox Bird of the WRAFVR becomes the first woman to be awarded RAF pilot’s badge


Flt Lt Julie Gibson became RAF’s first operational female pilot

January 1991

Plt Off Anne-Marie Dawe became first female navigator of Hercules aircraft at RAF Lyneham


WRAF disbanded upon merger with RAF


Flt Lt Jo Salter became RAF’s first female fast jet pilot, flying Tornado GR1Bs operationally with No.617 Squadron

March 2008

Flt Lt Michelle Goodman became the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore


May 2009

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore appointed first female pilot to serve with the Red Arrows. She will fly with the team from 2010 to 2012, including the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony of 2012.

Picture shows : Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore


January 2015

Wg Cdr Nikki Thomas became the first woman to command an RAF fast jet squadron.

February 2019

Sue Gray, RAF engineer promoted to Air Marshal, the most senior female military officer in the British armed forces.