British Military Aviation in 1950

1 January
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Slessor succeeds Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder as Chief of the Air Staff.

20 March
Operation Musgrave: a detachment of eight Avro Lincoln 2Bs from No.57 Squadron arrives at RAF Tengah to support security operations during the Malayan Emergency (Operation Firedog). This detachment was subsequently relieved by successive detachments from No.100 and No.61 Squadrons.

However, pressure from RAF Bomber Command Headquarters to curtail the detachments, combined with doubts as to the effectiveness of pattern-bombing operations against terrorist targets and concern with regard to the weapons expenditure of the Lincoln force, led to the suspension of Operation Musgrave with the departure of the No.61 Squadron detachment on 29 March 1951.

The first Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopter unit, RAF Casualty Evacuation Flight, is formed at Seletar in Singapore with Westland Dragonfly helicopters.

8 June
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Slessor, the Chief of the Air Staff, is promoted to Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

25 June
Hostilities commence between the two states on the Korean Peninsula, with the invasion of the United States-backed Republic of Korea (South Korea) by the Chinese-backed People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Following the outbreak of the Korean War, a squadron drawn from the Royal Air Force’s Far East Flying Boat Wing, No.88 Squadron (Short Sunderland GR5), commenced maritime reconnaissance operations from Iwakuni in Japan, in support of the United Nations blockade of North Korea.

Subsequently, the three Sunderland squadrons that comprised the Flying Boat Wing (Nos. 88, 205 and 209 Squadrons) operated out of Iwakuni on a monthly rotational basis. This detachment came under the operational control of the United States Navy’s Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 6 and their duties included maritime patrol, weather reconnaissance and transport. The last detachment concluded on 31 July 1953.

During the Korean War, South Korea was supported by a United Nations force including British ground troops, naval vessels and naval aircraft, however, with the exception of the Far East Flying Boat Wing, no RAF units participated in operations over Korea.

1 August
RAF Reserve Command is renamed RAF Home Command.

22 August
It is announced that Royal Air Force (RAF) Sunderlands are involved in blockade operations off the West Coast of Korea.

30 August
Following the American and French governments, the United Kingdom announces plans to strengthen its defence forces.

The Handley Page Hastings C1s of No.53 Squadron RAF begin regular casualty evacuation flights between Iwakuni in Japan and the United Kingdom, carrying wounded members of the British forces deployed to Korea.

12 November
The Air Ministry announces that de Havilland Vampire FB5s were being flown from Britain to re-equip fighter squadrons of the Far East Air Force. These were the longest jet delivery flights undertaken by any air force to that date, covering a distance of some 8,500 miles.