A brief, concise history of the RAF, if you want me to write a more detailed article on any part of the Armed Forces, leave me a comment below. Enjoy!
The RAF was first formed in 1918, on the 1st of April. Since WW2 the RAF has paid a large part in British Warfare. As of 2011 the RAF owns 1002 planes, has 42,750 officers/soldiers, 2500 volunteers and over 33,000 reserves, the majority of servicemen and women work in the UK, although there are bases abroad in Canada, Germany, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Cyprus. The RAF is NATO’s 2nd largest air force.
The aim, or mission of the RAF is to ‘provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the UK and overseas territories including against terrorism and to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security.’ The motto of the RAF is ‘per ardua ad astra‘ which translates as ‘Through adversity to the stars’.
When the RAF was founded in 1918 it was the first air force in the world seperate from the army/navy of the country. The first RAF HQ was in Hotel Cecil, and was formed when the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged together.
During WW2 the RAF rapidly grew, and RAF squadrons worked with air forces, and air corps from other countries to form the Article XV squadrons. In the summer of 1940, during the Battle of Britain the RAF was tasked with the defence of the British skies against the German Luftwaffe. They also helped to expose the plans for invasion of the UK by Hitler. The RAF began to carry out nocturnal bombings, targetting German cities e.g. Dresden and Hamburg, which allowed them to hone their bombing skills, permitting the RAF to carry out precice operations including the famous Dambusters, using bouncing bombs, by 617 Squadron, and Operation Jericho.
The RAF was used during the Cold War to protect Europe from Soviet attacks, and held the nuclear deterrents for the UK. After this the RAF has also been involved with the 1st Gulf War, Kosovo War, the 2nd Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the war in Afghanistan. Most Recently the RAF has played a key role in the Libyan crisis, carrying out precision bombings, including managing to destroy only the top two floors of a building. Their main task in Operation Ellamy was to enforce the ‘no-fly-zone’ that was placed over Libia when Col Gaddafi began turning on his people, and a rebel army rose.