Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,439 pages of information and 233,876 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Royal Air Force

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March 1939.
November 1942.
April 1943.
April 1943.
April 1943.
April 1943.
April 1943.
April 1943.
April 1943.
Sept. 1946.
July 1949. (Flight 1949/07/28)
November 1951.
December 1951.
Sept 1953.


August 1954.
September 1954.
October 1954.
Sept 1956.
March 1960.
04th March 1961.

The RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were relatively quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire.

The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from these countries, and exiles from occupied Europe, also served with RAF squadrons.

In the Battle of Britain, in the late summer of 1940, the RAF (Helped by multinational i.e. Polish, Czechoslovakian pilots and ground personnel) defended the skies over Britain against the German Luftwaffe, helping foil Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom, and prompting Prime Minister Winston Churchill to say in the House of Commons on 20 August, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

During the Cold War years the main role of the RAF was the defence of the continent of Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, including holding the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent for a number of years.

After the Cold War, the RAF was involved in several large scale operations, including the Kosovo War, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Royal Air Force Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation, and the Royal Air Force in particular. It is based at two sites, Colindale in north London, and Cosford, Shropshire.

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