Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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RAF Timeline 1918 - 1938

January 1918   3 - Air Ministry and Air Council formed
April 1918   1 - Royal Air Force formed.  No's 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 Areas formed
May 1918   8 - South-Eastern, South-Western, Midland, North-Eastern & North-Western Areas formed. 

13 - Independent Force formed

June 1918   DFC, AFC, DFM and AFM  introduced. 

RAF Nursing Service formed.  RAF operations in North Russia

October 1918   3 - RAF carried out first aerial supply drop to French and Belgium troops
November 1918   11 - Armistice declared.  No 29 (Operations) Group formed with Command status
January 1919   11 - Trenchard re-appointed as CAS
June 1919   Northern & Southern Areas formed
July 1919   Vickers Vimy entered service
August 1919   4 - RAF ranks introduced 
September 1919   15 - Coastal Area formed
October 1919    23 - Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund formed
January 1920   RAF Halton formed. 

 'Z' Force begin operations in Somaililand againt the 'Mad Mullah'

February 1920   RAF Cranwell formed.

5 - RAF College opened.   

'Z' Force complete operations.

April 1920   Inland Area formed
July 1920   3 - First RAF Pageant held at RAF Hendon
October 1921   British Forces in Iraq placed under RAF control
February 1922   RAF Ireland formed, 9 RAF Reserve formed
April 1922   4 - Royal Air Force Staff College opened
September 1922   Chanak Crisis begins
February 1923   RAF Reserve of Officers formed
May 1923   Air Minister appointed to a seat on the Cabinet. 

Armstrong Whitworth Siskin III entered service

June 1923   RAF Nursing Service renamed Princess Mary's RAF Nursing Service
August 1923   Chanak Crisis ends
January 1924   Short Service Commissions introduced, Air Ministry start to recruit 400 officers
March 1924   24 - A & AEE formed from Aeroplane Experimental Establishment
April 1924   1 - Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment formed. 

1 - Fleet Air Arm of the RAF Formed

May 1924   HQ Superintendent RAF Reserve formed.
October 1924   9 - Auxiliary Air Force formed

Gloster Grebe entered service.

December 1924   Vickers Virginia entered service
January 1925   1 - Air Defence of Great Britain formed
February 1925   'Pink's War' begins
Mar 1925   'Pink's War' ends.
May 1925   HQ Special Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force formed.

Hawker Woodcock entered service

September 1925   12 - First Auxiliary Air Force Squadron formed (No 602). 

Supermarine Southampton entered service.

October 1925    1 - First University Air Squadron formed (Cambridge). 

22 - No 1 Apprentices Wing formed (Halton). 

27 - Cairo to Kano flight begun, led by Sqn Ldr A Coningham

29 - Observer Corps formed.  

March 1926   Cairo-Cape Town flight begun led by Wg Cdr C W H Pulford
April 1926   Handley Page Hyderabad entered service
May 1926   Gloster Gamecock entered service
August 1926   Fairey Fox  and Vickers Victoria entered service
January 1927   1 - Imperial Defence College formed.

1 - Trenchard became first MRAF

March 1927   Armstrong Whitworth Siskin IIIA entered service
April 1927   HQ RAF China formed
May 1927   20-22 - Distance record set of 3,420 miles by Flt Lt L E M Gillman and Flt C R Carr.
September 1927   26 - Flt Lt S N Webster won Schneider Trophy in Venice
October 1927   Far East Flight left UK for Singapore under command of Gp Capt H M Cave-Brown-Cave. 

Armstrong Whitworth Atlas entered service

January 1928   Fairey IIIF entered service
February 1928   Aden Command formed
April 1928   Boulton & Paul Sidestrand entered service. 

RAF High Speed Flight formed by Flt Lt D D'A Greig

June 1928  
October 1928   Westland Wapiti entered service
December 1928   23 - Kabul Legation evacuation begins
February 1929   25 - Kabul Legation evacuation ends
April 1929   24/25 - Cranwell - Karachi flight by Sqn Ldr A G Jones-Williams and Flt Lt N H Jenkins (4.130 miles non stop in 50hr 48min)
May 1929   Bristol Bulldog entered service
September 1929   Schneider Trophy won by RAF High Speed Flight.
October 1929   Handley Page Hinaidi entered service
January 1930   1 - MRAF Sir Hugh Trenchard retires.

1 - Far East Command formed. 

Blackburn Iris III entered service.

Hawker Hart entered service

February 1930    
October 1930   5 - R101 crashes in France on way to India
March 1931    
April 1931   Short Rangoon entered service
May 1931   Hawker Fury entered service
June 1931  
September 1931   13 - High Speed Flight won Schneider Trophy outright
December 1931   Hawker Audax entered service
February 1932    
April 1932  
October 1932?   Fighting Area & Wessex Bombing Area raised to Command status
November 1932   Vickers Vildebeest entered service
February 1933   Distance record set by Sqn Ldr O R Gayford and Flt Lt G E Nicholetts of 5,309 miles in 52hr 25min (Cranwell to Walvis Bay)
April 1933   Hawker Demon entered service
July 1933   Handley Page Heyford entered service
October 1933   Western & Central Areas formed with Command status
July 1934   Air Raid Precautions begun. 

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme A) instituted.

December 1934   Cierva C30A entered service (RAF's first rotary-winged aircraft)
February 1935   Vickers Vincent and Valentia entered service
March 1935  
April 1935   Short Singapore III entered service
May 1935   Gloster Gauntlet entered service

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme C)

July 1935   6 - Royal Review of the RAF at Mildenhall and Duxford by King George V
October 1935   Italy declares war on Abbyssinia
November 1935   18 - 12 RAF squadrons transferred to East Africa
December 1935   Hawker Hind entered service
February 1936   RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme F)
March 1936   Avro Anson entered service (RAF's first operational monoplane).
April 1936   Saro London entered service
May 1936   Training Command formed. 

First official squadron badges authorised.

July 1936   14 - Bomber, Fighter & Coastal Commands formed. 

30 - RAF Volunteer Reserve formed

September 1936   28 - Altitude record of 49,944ft set by Sqn Ldr F R D Swain.
October 1936    
November 1936   Plans to establish Balloon Barrage announced
December 1936   Supermarine Stranraer entered service
January 1937   Bristol Blenheim entered service
February 1937   Hawker Hector entered service

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme H)

March 1937   Gloster Gladiator entered service (RAF's last biplane fighter). 

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley entered service.

April 1937   Handley Page Harrow and Vickers Wellesley entered service
May 1937   Fairey Battle entered service
June 1937   30 - New altitude record set of 53,937ft by Flt Lt M J Adams,
November 1937   .Airspeed Oxford entered service.
December 1937   Hawker Hurricane entered service (RAF's first eight-gun monoplane fighter).

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme J)

March 1938   RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme K)
April 1938   1 - Maintenance Command formed

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme L)

May 1938   Short Sunderland entered service
June 1938   Supermarine Spitfire and Westland Lysander entered service. 

Lockheed Hudsons and North American Harvards ordered from the USA.

September 1938   24 - Munich Crisis begins, camouflage and code letters introduced.
October 1938   Handley Page Hampden entered service
November 1938   Balloon Command formed.

RAF Expansion Programme (Scheme M)

December 1938   New distance record of 7,162 miles in 48hrs set by RAF Long Range Development Unit led Sqn Ldr R G Kellett (Ismailia to Darwin)

This page was last updated on 08/06/17 using FrontPage 2003 

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