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

  • 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
    • Samuel Cody completes the first powered flight in the UK at Farnborough.
  • 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 | edit source]

1939-1945: World War II[edit | edit source]

  • 1939
    • 24 August - The Advanced Air Striking Force is formed in preparation for operations on the Continent
    • 3 September - Following the UK's declaration of war on Germany, the RAF conducts photographic reconnaissance of the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven.
    • 29 November - RAuxAF spitfires shoot down an He 111 bomber over Lothian, the first German aircraft to be shot down over the UK.
    • Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) instituted.
  • 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 | edit source]

  • 1948
    • 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
  • 1953
    • Avro Lincoln squadrons flying out of RAF Eastleigh conduct anti-Mau Mau operations in Kenya. Operations continue until 1955.
  • 1956
  • 1958
  • 1967
  • 1968
    • 30 April - Strike Command is formed from Fighter Command and Bomber Command.
    • 28 November - Coastal Command is absorbed into the newly created Strike Command.
  • 1969
    • 1 January - Signals Command is absorbed into Strike Command.
  • 1972
    • 1 September - Air Support Command is absorbed into Strike Command.
  • 1982
  • 1986
    • 8 January - RAF Marine Branch Disbanded.

1990-present: Expeditionary operations[edit | edit source]

  • 1990
    • RAF fighters based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prior to the Gulf War
  • 1991
    • 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
    • RAF Tornado F3s and AWACS aircraft contribute to NATO's operation to restrict airspace movements over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Operation Deny Flight. The operation continues until late 1995.
  • 1998
  • 2001
    • 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
  • 2005
    • RAF deployed to Indonesia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster to provide aid relief support and transport
  • 2006
    • July - Three Chinook helicopters of 27 Squadron deployed to RAF Akrotiri to evacuate British citizens from Lebanon.
  • 2007

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Royal Air Force website timeline


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