1900-1918: The origins of the Royal Air Force [ edit ]
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
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
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.
Central Flying School (CFS) is formed at Upavon. 1914
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.
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 ]
2 January - The
Air Ministry comes into being with Lord Rothermere as Secretary of State for Air. Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard becomes the first Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). 1 April
3 June - The
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Force Cross (AFC), Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), Air Force Medal (AFM) are constituted. 6 June - The
Independent Air Force, the RAF's strategic bombing force, is formed. June -
Royal Air Force Temporary Nursing Service formed. 19 September to 1 October -
Battle of Megiddo. The RAF's Palestine Brigade plays a key role in the British victory over the Ottoman Empire, including the destruction of the Ottoman Seventh Army. 11 November - At the end of the
First World War, the RAF was the largest air force in the world with 27,333 officers, 263,837 other ranks, 22,647 aircraft, 103 airships, 133 front-line squadrons, 15 flights and 270 aerodromes overseas, 55 front-line squadrons, 75 training squadrons/depots, 401 aerodromes at home and 25,000 WRAF members. 1919
1 October - RAF military control of
Mesopotamia begins. 1922
March to May -
Pink's War. The RAF carries out its first independent air action, bombing and strafing the mountain strongholds of Mahsud tribesmen in Waziristan. 1928
23 December - The
Kabul Airlift. The world's first air evacuation is carried out by the RAF when the British Legation in Kabul is flown to safety. 1932
April to June - Following
Sheikh Ahmad Barzani's small-scale revolt in north-east Iraq, the RAF conducts psychological and conventional air operations which result in Sheikh Ahmad's surrender. 1936
1939-1945: World War II [ edit ]
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
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 ]
28 June 1948 to 30 September 1949 - The RAF conducts Operation Plainfare, the British contribution to the
Berlin Airlift. June - The RAF conducts Operation Firedog against Malayan terrorists during the
Malayan Emergency. Two Spitfires of No. 60 Squadron fly the first offensive mission on 6 July, destroying an enemy base at Perak. Involvement continues until 1960. 1949
30 April -
Strike Command is formed from Fighter Command and Bomber Command. 28 November - Coastal Command is absorbed into the newly created Strike Command.
1 January - Signals Command is absorbed into Strike Command.
1 September - Air Support Command is absorbed into Strike Command.
8 January - RAF Marine Branch Disbanded.
1990-present: Expeditionary operations [ edit ]
RAF fighters based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prior to the Gulf War
16 January to 11 April - During the
Gulf War, RAF aircraft fight in the air battle over Kuwait and Iraq. The RAF begins Operations Resonate North and Resonate South, the British contribution to the Allied efforts to enforce the
Iraqi no-fly zones. These operations continue for over a decade. 1993
9 October - During the third day of
Operation Veritas, RAF aircraft commenced the provision of air-to-air refuelling, reconnaissance and surveillance support to US aircraft operating over Afghanistan. 2004
July - Three Chinook helicopters of
27 Squadron deployed to RAF Akrotiri to evacuate British citizens from Lebanon. 2007
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
Royal Air Force website timeline