Talk:Royal Air Force/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Origins of Royal Air Force uniform?

On BBC Radio I heard an account of the origins of the RAF dull blue uniform that is so distinct from most other miltary and naval wear appart from airforces modelled on the RAF. The evolution of the RAF evolved in the First World War at the same time as the Russian Revolution. A large amount of the Blue cloth had been made in England ready for Cossack uniforms in Imperial Russia. Needless to say, the order was not fulfiled and the huge stock of cloth needed to be used somewhere. Enter the RFC/RAF! I have been unable to find another source for this (and need more to put it on Wikipedia) and wondered if anyone could help

-I've heard the above as well; no idea on a source I'm afraid. Also, AFAIK, Rapier isn't a comparable system to the US Patriot; It's a much shorter-range system, with some versions optically tracked. A better comparison is probably the US Advanced HAWK system. Jakob

-I have also heard this account, but I've also heard that it's apocryphal. It it were to be included then I think it would need to be backed up by credible references. 15:50, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

While on the topic of uniforms, and the like: The following paragraph was found in the "See also" section, presumably placed there by a well-meaning reader. I removed it from there and put it here instead, without doing anything more about it. The comment: "You have an entry regarding the RAF and the Scottish Tartan which is infact the Royal Air Force tartan which was adopted in 2001 to be used by the Royal Air Force pipebands. The dress can be used in the mess but at this stage not on official mess nights. Further details can be found at where Arthur Mackie ex RAF pilot the designer is described in more detail." --MMad

To answer the original question, a source for the blue cloth story is Air Publication 3003, A Brief History of the Royal Air Force, HMSO, Chapter 7, Cultural Identity, p 366, 367. Greenshed 00:07, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Rapier FSC

The Rapier Field Standard C is only a short range surface to air missile while the Patriot has a longer range capability. Most versions are also no longer just optically sighted. Plus, has anyone heard anything about the control of the Rapier systems being handed over from the regiment to the Army? ---FuturePilot

Yes Rapier FSC will go to the Army. 00:34, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Officers and Other Ranks

As there are separate articles for these topics, might it be better to remove these sub-sections and put a sentence or two (with links) into the Personnel section? 15:52, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

This section has been shortened with no information lost from the Wikipedia. Most of the information is in the rank insignia pages and the information on the CAS's rank has gone to the Air Chief Marshal page. I would welcome comments/amendments on the current state of these sections bearing in mind that the main RAF article is probably too long. 00:32, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Future aircraft - exclusion of the Eurofighter Typhoon

I will add the eurofighter typhoon to the section on future aircraft, after all the RAF purchased the most of that particular model.

History of the RAF

Although the RAF template has an entry for the History of the RAF, it redirects to the main page. This is clearly not a satisfactory state of affairs and the history section in the main article could easily make an article in its own right. I would be in favour of such a move but we would then need a precis of the history article for main RAF page. What do people think? 00:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

I'd definitley be for it. Rob 15:52, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to have a go at doing this - hopefully people can expand the history in the new article, as it seems quite short for 88 years of history. Sc147 17:43, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


This britsh area bombing directive nr. 42 lead to a systimatical attacking of the geman civil populatiuon. the british attacks were concentrated on workingclass quarters and midivael citycenters. The goal was pure terror against civilians. The amount of civilian loses were enormous. In Hamburg (55.000 dead, in Dresden betwenn 25.000 and 35.000 dead, in Pforzheim 20.277 dead ,31,4 % of all inhabitants, in Darmstadt 12.500 dead, 66.000 homeless out of former 110.000 inhabitants, Kassel 10.000 dead, Heilbronn 6500 dead, Würzburg 8500 dead etc. Churcill, Harris, Lindmann and many other bristish politicians and military personell was not sentenced for his warcrimes after the war. --Kastorius 16:45, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Most reputable historians put the numbers in Dresden at over 100.000. This is because there was an influx of refugees from the east. This was secretly done in agreement with Stalin, who thought it a nice solution of the refugee issue.-- 18:51, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

That's because they won. The Nuremburg trials were victor's justice and rational for waging war. C'est la vie. (Hampleton 11:58, 25 October 2006 (UTC))

No German was tried for the systematic attacks on British population centres either - Nuremberg was all about the atrocities visited on POWs, Jews and Slavs (and others). Horus Kol 14:17, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

RAF Stations - Merge

It would be good to see a rationale as to why RAF stations should be merged with this page. For what it's worth, my view is that the RAF stations page is not useful as it stands, but would be better if it were merged with List of RAF stations. I'll wait for other comments and if there are no dissenting voices then I will move the merge templates to RAF stations and List of RAF stations. 17:48, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Yeah, go ahead. David 20:33, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
  • If you wanted to find Royal Air Force stations, then you wouldn't look under the article "RAF stations", you would look under the main Royal Air Force page. Go ahead and merge. Xenobog 06:36, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Merge. --The1exile 13:32, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Merge. --Mark83 17:20, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, I've had a go. As there are pages for wing (air force unit) and group (air force unit) it seemed appropriate that there should be a page for RAF station. Xenobog's comment was helpful and so I've included a section on Stations on the RAF page. However, I still think that this page is a bit on the long side and so I decided to keep the RAF stations page (moved to RAF station) as it can contain more detail. I've also removed the overlap between List of RAF stations and RAF station and put in explicit links in the hope that further overlap can be avoided. Greenshed 13:13, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

RAF insignia

Do you think there would be utility to adding a section (with images) showing the evolution of RAF roundels? - Emt147 Burninate! 21:34, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Probably better on the Roundel page or on a new RAF roundel page. The RAF page is already a little on the long side. 10:44, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
There's an article on the various RAF roundels here: Royal Air Force roundels. Ian Dunster 20:32, 19 September 2007 (UTC)


-I'm doing a project for English. Does any one know who wrote the article we are discussing?

Read Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia - Emt147 Burninate! 01:11, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Maritime patrol / Search and Rescue Aircraft

I have seperated these into two headers as the two aircraft types carry out quite different roles. Yes the MR2 carries out search and rescue however as aldeady stated its primary role is currently that of ASW and ASUW. Gearfinger 12:51, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Old Planes and Arrows

There doesn't seem to be any reference to either historic planes or the performance. This is a little odd as the first thing many people think of about the R.A.F. is either either Spitfires or Red Arrows. Perhaps someone with a little knowledge could add a relevent few sentances and links.

Royal Auxiliary Air Force

I was trying to link to this but there doesn't seem to be an article for it. There is some history on the official site here. Arniep 15:39, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

RAF Benevolent Fund

Should their be a piece here on the RAF Benevolent fund, or should that be held in a separate page? I have started something on a personal stub page, which you can find here User:trident13/RAF Benevolent Fund Rgds, --Trident13 10:01, 5 May 2006 (UTC)


I have made a start adding references to some of the facts and figures given in the article, which I shall continue doing when I have time. It would be useful if others could join in, too. Sc147 17:28, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


Recently, the section on commands was removed. STC and PTC still exist and as and when the RAF goes to a single command I think there is a good case for mentioning commands in the structure section. Currently the contents box gives the impression that groups are the highest formation in the RAF. Greenshed 22:57, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Royal Family members of RAF

I just watched Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, the 1944 documentary about the aircraft and crew that was the first in the U.S. Eighth Air Force to complete 25 missions as a crew over Germany and German-occupied Europe. At the end of the film, the King and Queen visited the airfield to congratulate the crew of the aircraft. George VI of the United Kingdom appeared to be wearing a Royal Air Force officer's uniform, although I could not make out what rank insignia he wore. Is it correct that members of the British Royal Family are considered members of all of the British Armed Forces? I see from this recent photo that Charles, Prince of Wales wears the uniform of an Air Marshal. --rogerd 18:14, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

They are hired and trained as any UK citizen, they are not in the UK forces by "default". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Brian G. Wilson (talkcontribs) 14:45, June 3, 2006 (UTC)
So you are saying that Prince Charles is an active member of the RAF reserve forces? Surely a non-royal wouldn't have risen to the rank of Air Marshall without having spent some considerable time in service. That is the equivelant of a Lieutenant General in the British Army or the U.S. Army or Air Force. I am an American and am somewhat unfamiliar with some British traditions. Thanks --rogerd 19:34, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
On 8th March, 1971, The Prince flew himself to Royal Air Force Cranwell in Lincolnshire, to train as a jet pilot. At his own request, The Prince had received flying instruction from the RAF during his second year at Cambridge.
In September 1971, after the passing out parade at Cranwell, The Prince embarked on a naval career, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and both his great-grandfathers. The six-week course at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, was followed by service on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and two frigates.
The Prince qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974 before joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the Commando carrier HMS Hermes. On 9th February, 1976, The Prince took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last nine months in the Navy.

Brian W 20:31, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I saw that. Back in the 70's he was an junior/middle grade officer (based on his 1981 wedding photo, he was also a Commander in the RN). What has he done since then to rate holding the third highest rank in the RAF? I haven't heard of any recent military activities of the Prince, but then, we colonials don't always hear what you people in Mother Britain hear. I am not saying that he wasn't once a bona-fide junior/middle grade officer of the British Military, but it looks like his current status as a high ranking officer is more honorary than earned. I mean no disrespect toward the Prince or other members of the Royal Family, I am just curious as to how he got his current high rank. Does he continue to hold rank in the other branches? --rogerd 21:35, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Every official information is available on:

The Royals are not given military ranks as a gift or as merely honorary attributes. Brian W 23:11, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Errm. Dear contributors, please don't take this the wrong way, but this talk page is for discussing the content of the wikipedia RAF article not RAF-related matters in general. Thanks. Greenshed 16:30, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Who flies?

Are all RAF pilots officers? Or do members of the "other ranks" also fly? Any idea on the minimum rank held by a pilot in the RAF?

You have too be an officer to receive the training (and the salary) to become a pilot in the raf. law9181

Please see my comments above. This page is only for discussing the article. Greenshed 15:19, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


Serious suggestions by mainstream commentators are encyclopedic even if controversial or unwelcome, and do have a place in the article. Springnuts 22:03, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the above statement but I would take issue with the idea that people who generally not notable in the military field but have written one letter to the editor of the Times should be quoted here. Accordingly, I have removed such remarks and their citations. I have kept Tim Collins's remark (he is notable) and added notable opposing views to give balance to this section. Greenshed 16:39, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks - it is definitely better balanced now, although I have to say that imho Nick Cook has missed the point rather - nobody is saying you can do without air power or specialist skills. Springnuts 20:06, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh and I have resisted all temptations to mention the phrase "utterly utterly useless"!! Springnuts 20:08, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism of the RAF

There really should be a mention of the E-mail from that British Army Major criticising the RAF for their role in Afghanistan.

Please sign your comments with ~~~~.

I don't think we should create a new section everytime the RAF gets into the news. We could include this comment for a few weeks (as a sort of current event), probably near the head of the article, athough that time has mainly passed. However, I don't think that the "utterly, utterly, utterly useless" comment is worthy of long-term inclusion here - it probably belongs in the article on Operation Veritas.

However, I do think there is scope for the creation of an article (to be linked from the RAF main page) titled something like The future of the Royal Air Force. Obviously some of the details of future aircraft like JSF and the use of the Typhoon could go here. UAVs, space ops and sea basing might also get a mention and well as a more general section on how future British air power might be used. One element of this article would be to cover the views, both for and against, the continuence of the RAF as a separate arm. We would have to avoid the temptation to engage in original research, but there is probably enough credible and publically available source material to do a good job. Greenshed 09:11, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Sounds a good idea to me. Springnuts 17:20, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Utterly useless remark added to Operation Herrick article. Greenshed 10:47, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

80 fighter squadron

i was attached to 80 fighter squadron which flew de havilland hornets in the early 1950s. based at kai tak. why isnt this mentioned.

Please sign your comments with ~~~~. Why not start the article at No. 80 Squadron RAF? (You will need to register to start, but not subsequently to edit the article). Greenshed 23:57, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

How many airframes?

The total number of aircraft is listed but it would be better if the quantity of individual aircrafts is listed (eg. Tornado - xnumber, Jaguar - ynumber). Htra0497 19:15, 29 November 2006 (AEST)

using this to list airframes before placing on main page. From As of April 2006 there were approximately 775 fixed wing aircraft of 22 various types in RAF service (including those not in front line service).



Typhoon--24+6 Tornado GR4-60+26 Tornado GR4A-24 Tornado F3-46+20 Jaguar GR3-11 Jaguar T4-1 Harrier GR7/7A/9/9A--22+9 Harrier T10/T12---2+6 Hawk T1A--26

Trainers Hawk T1A--69 Tucano T1--67

Recconisance Nimrod MR2--15+3 Sentry AEW1---6

Transport Hercules C1/C3/C4/C5--44 Globemaster C-17 ---4 VC10 K3/K4--7 VC10 C1K--10 Tristar C2/C2A--3


Tristar K1/KC1--6

Helicopers Merlin Mk3 EH101 ---22 Sea KingHAR3/3A --18+3 Puma HC1 ---33 Chinook HC2--24+10 11:35, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Infoboxes and sidebars

We now have two infomation templates and they don't even stack properly. I would like to make two proposals:

  • First, there should be only one infobox/sidebar.
  • Second, the RAF sidebar is preferable to the military unit infobox.

I propose to delete the military unit infobox as it cannot be specifically tailored to purpose, an air force is not a military unit (it's a branch), and the RAF template is much more useful for letting the reader get to the key articles on the RAF. Greenshed 00:35, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

In discussion over at WP:MILHIST the military unit infobox was, in fact, stated as being capable of being used for air forces, and was specifically modified to tweak it for the role in deliberate preference over a dedicated "infobox air force". The infobox provides a consistent quick look at the vital statistics of the subject of the article. The sidebar, IMHO, should be one of those that goes horizontally across the bottom. - Aerobird Target locked - Fox One! 00:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Yep, that would be my suggestion as well. In general, an applicable infobox template (summary table) gets placed in the top corner, while navigational templates (link tables) get placed at the bottom, or along the margin in the body of the article.
(Incidentally, there's some discussion here concerning a new auxiliary template—{{command structure}}—that may be able to absorb a large chunk of the RAF sidebar and allow it to be attached directly to the bottom of the infobox.) Kirill Lokshin 01:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Moving the RAF sidebar to the bottom seems like a good idea. I'm happy to work on it, but if this new auxiliary template will be along soon then I would rather not put in the effort only for it to be changed. If the infobox is the way to go then I would like to delete the sidebar until it can be redesigned. Greenshed 22:40, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
The auxiliary template is basically ready; it just isn't formally documented yet. If you want to try it out—and we'd be very happy to get some feedback from people trying it—you can just add:
{{command structure
|name= Royal Air Force
<li> First subordinate unit
<li> Second subordinate unit
<li> ...
right below the infobox, using the subordinate components/formations listed in the sidebar (under "Components" and "Structure"). Then you might be able to say (a) whether the general idea is acceptable and (b) whether any changes need to be made to the template for it to work smoothly here. Kirill Lokshin 23:44, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:RAF

Template:RAF has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you. — Greenshed 20:01, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

RAF use of Pilatus PC-9

Just saw these pictures on Does the RAF use the PC-9, or was it a trial? [1] [2] Chwyatt 10:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

These aircraft are not operated by the Royal Air Force but by BAE Systems in support of Royal Saudi Air Force contracts, the aircraft have UK military serials, either because they are not certified civil aircraft or to let them do non-civvy things like use weapons. MilborneOne 18:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Ahh, thanks for the explanation. Chwyatt 08:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

First independent air force?

There seems to be another contender for this title: the Finnish Air Force is claimed to have been formed on 6 March 1918. Letdorf 16:39, 18 July 2007 (UTC).

Although I have seen a source which states that the Finnish Air Force is the world's first independent air force, I don't believe that this is correct. The Finnish Air Force's first commander (Carl Seber) held the rank of an army captain (= to a flight lieutenant) and the Finnish Air Force recieved its first aeroplane as a donation at some stage in 1918. Compare this with the newly founded RAF which had over 20,000 aircraft on its establishment, a separate government ministry (the Air Ministry) and a Chief of the Air Staff (Hugh Trenchard) who held the rank of Major General in 1918. I find it almost inconcievable that Seber reported direct to the Finnish Government regarding the use of one aircraft which they didn't pay for without reference to the Finish Army or Navy commanders. Greenshed 14:24, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I concur! Mindman1 00:32, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Further discussion is taking place at Talk:Air force. I would welcome contributions. Greenshed 22:01, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

First air force?

We now have "The RAF is the second oldest professional air force in the world (the oldest being the Armée de l'Air) and the first to become independent". Whilst I think that we've now got it right regarding independence, the aforementioned sentence is not without its problems. These are:

  • The term "air force" implies a significant air power arm (usually, but not always, independent from army or navy control). It is a matter for debate whether the Aéronautique Militaire of 1910 should be considered an air force.
  • Whilst the RAF might claim ancestral rights over the RFC, it cannot be said that the RAF was founded in 1912. In the same way, the Armée de l'Air might trace its origins to the Aéronautique Militaire but that doesn't mean that the Armée de l'Air existed in 1910.
  • I don't see what the word "professional" adds in this context (how many amateur air forces are there?).

I think we should go for something like "Whilst the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is world's oldest air force indepedent of army or naval control."

The history of early military avaiation belongs in the air force article, not here. Greenshed 20:11, 2 August 2007 (UTC)