Timeline of the Royal Air Force

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1900-1918: The origins of the Royal Air Force[edit]

  • 1901
    • 29 October - The Aero Club of Great Britain is established. In the following years many early military pilots were trained by members of the Club.
  • 1905
  • 1908
  • 1909
    • The Aero Club establishes the first British flying ground near Leysdown in Kent.
    • 2 May - John Moore-Brabazon becomes the first Englishman to make an officially recognized aeroplane flight in England.
  • 1910
    • The Aero Club moves its flying from Leysdown to the nearby Eastchurch.
    • June - Charles Rolls becomes the first Englishman to fly across the Channel.
  • 1911
  • 1912
    • 13 April - The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) is established by Royal Warrant. An Air Committee to liaise between the Admiralty and the War Office is also created.
    • 13 May - RFC assume control of Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers and the Naval Air Service.
    • 19 June- Central Flying School (CFS) is formed at Upavon.
  • 1914
  • 1916
    • 15 February - The Joint War Air Committee is established to co-ordinate the activities of the RFC and RNAS.
    • 15 May - The Air Board replaces the ineffective Joint War Air Committee.
    • 12 December - RFC expands to 106 front-line squadrons and 95 reserve and training squadrons.
  • 1917
    • 29 November - The Air Force (Constitution) Act passed, providing for creation of an Air Force and an Air Ministry.

1918-1939: The inter-war years and policing the Empire[edit]

1939-1945: World War II[edit]

For RAF WWII air operations, see List of air operations during the Battle of Europe.
  • 1939
  • 1940
  • 1941
  • 1942
    • 30 May - Over 1,000 bombers set out to raid Cologne, severely damaging the city.
    • 1 June - Around 1,000 bombers set out to raid Essen, however many crews mistakenly bomb other cities.
    • 25 June - Around 1,000 bombers set out to raid Bremen, severely damaging the city and successfully bombing the Focke-Wulf aircraft factory.
  • 1943
    • 5 March - In an effort to decimate the German industrial base, Bomber Command begins bombing the Ruhr region.
    • 25 March - Transport Command is formed by redesignating Ferry Command.
    • 16 May - Aircraft of 617 Squadron set out on Operation Chastise, commonly known as the Dambusters Raid. The Mohne and Eder dams are breached.
    • 18 November - This is the first night of a four-month bombing campaign against Berlin.
  • 1944
  • 1945
    • 22 February - Allied Air Forces launch Operation Clarion, a concerted effort to destroy German transportation within 24 hours.

1945-1990: The Cold War years[edit]

1990-present: Expeditionary operations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Royal Air Force website timeline