Sunday, April 1, 2018

100 years: the First and still the Best

The first dedicated Air Force established in the world, celebrates its 100th year Anniversary today, April 1st, 2018.

Congratulations to the Royal Air Force.
 And a hearty thank you to all past and present men and women who have contributed to this honourable and effective way of 
serving God, the Nation, Freedom and the Anglophile way of civilisation.

The Tavern will shout free Ale, the very best to all who wish to raise a glass, a tankard a horn or scottish dish for a wee dram. (pilots love their fine scotch).

Born out of the First World War and the use of flimsy aircraft by the British Army, the new, dedicated force was established this day 100 years ago. It is not just time that flies.

In a moment we shall pick up the bizzo of training pilots where we left off last time: putting the balls in young scrotes; but first let us look at what Britain has in store for the year. The Ministry of De Fence tells us......

On 1 April 2018, the Royal Air Force will be celebrating its 100th birthday. To mark this occasion, we want to reflect on our history and our achievements. We also want to celebrate the work the RAF is currently doing and look forward to the next 100 years.
The centenary itself will be marked by special events, activities and other initiatives at local, regional and national levels running from April to the end of November 2018. 
The centrepiece of RAF100 will take place on 10 July, with a centenary service in Westminster Abbey, followed by a parade in The Mall and spectacular flypast over Buckingham Palace.
Key events include a Gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 March, information on buying tickets can be found here.
One of the many events will be the Centenary Baton Relay which will see a specially designed baton visit 100 sites associated with the RAF in 100 days. The relay will begin its journey at the Royal Courts of Justice on 1 April 2018 and will end 100 days later on 10 July on Horseguards Parade.
The RAF100 Aircraft Tour will be coming to a city near you this year. You will be able to get up close to a selection of aircraft in Cardiff, Horse Guards Parade in London, Newcastle in Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.

You can also enjoy the spectacle of airshows at RAF Cosford, Portrush in Northern Ireland and the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.
The RAF Museum will be unveiling its multi-million-pound transformation of the museum’s Hendon site which will welcome visitors to discover a new green heart of the community in Colindale, reflecting the historic RAF Hendon airfield. 
And there will be an RAF theme at this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. 
With a full calendar of events across the country, and the globe, this will be an exciting year for the RAF. We hope you will be able to come along and celebrate with us.

And the Tavern Keeper (who once held Airship rank for ten whole minutes and a bit) disputes the scurrilous calumny that the RAF Motto means 
'Through Adversity to the Stairs',
 for whenever the hotel lift is out of action. 

Nor as he ever heard 'Defend the Imprest: Dispute the hotel bar-bill'. 

Well, rarely. 

Although many do like ice in their scotch.

The RAF has always had an affection for Hotels, since the Bigwig Airships first set up shop, back in 1918, in the Hotel Cecil.

What is good enough for the Airships, is good enough for the lads.

It has caught on. A US Marine Corps chap, John Wear, tells a tale of the USAF appreciation too.

""A man was conducting an All Service member briefing one day, and he posed the question: “What would you do if you found a scorpion in your tent?”

A Sailor said, “I’d step on it.”

A Soldier said, “I’d hit it with my boot.”

A Marine said, “I’d catch it, break the stinger off, and eat it.”

An Airman said, “I’d call room service and find out why there’s a damn tent in my room.”

While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control. 

The RAF was founded on 1 April 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and was controlled by the British Government Air Ministry which had been established three months earlier. 

The Royal Flying Corps had been born out of the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers and was under the control of the British Army. The Royal Naval Air Service was its naval equivalent and was controlled by the Admiralty. The decision to merge the two services and create an independent air force was a response to the events of World War I, the first war in which air power made a significant impact. 

The creation of the new force was based on the Smuts Report prepared by Field Marshal Jan Smuts for the Imperial War Cabinet on which he served.
To emphasize the merger of both military and naval aviation in the new service, many of the titles of officers were deliberately chosen to be of a naval character, such as flight lieutenant, wing commander, group captain, and air commodore.

The newly created RAF was the most powerful air force in the world on its creation, with over 20,000 aircraft and over 300,000 personnel (including the Women's Royal Air Force). 

The squadrons of the RFC kept their numerals while those of the RNAS were renumbered from 201 onwards. At the time of the merger, the Navy's air service had 55,066 officers and men, 2,949 aircraft, 103 airships and 126 coastal stations. The remaining personnel and aircraft came from the RFC. 

A memorial to the RAF was commissioned after the war in central London. The RAF's last known surviving founder member was the World War I veteran Henry Allingham who died in 2009 aged 113.

Following the end of World War I and the accompanying British defence cuts, the newly independent (and still temporary) RAF waited nine months to see if it would be retained by the Cabinet. 6,500 officers, all holding temporary commissions or seconded from the Army and Navy, applied for permanent commissions. The Cabinet sanctioned a maximum of 1,500 and the Air Ministry offered 1,065 to the applicants, publishing the first list on 1 August 1919, 75% of them short-term (two to five years). The service as a whole had been reduced in strength to 35,500.

From such beginnings, the RAF has become the most well known and admired branch of the British Armed Forces, especially after the magnificent effort of the Battle of Britain which will always count amongst the most decisive of battles in history.

In that, and the prior and subsequent battles, the youthfulness of the front-line fighting men has been marked. The fighter and bomber pilots.

We did look at the training of young pilots last month, so today we shall look at what pilots are expected to do with their steed-riding skills.

They fight.

And to do that they have to step higher and faster, loaded with ordnance, knowing what they are doing, which means doing an OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) before being posted to the line. 

Many are called but few are chosen.

That front line is far more powerful than any before it. But with far fewer aircraft.

And the pilots and crew are far more highly trained and practiced than ever before.

So we can now look at what young men go through when they aspire to command one of those weapons of war: The 'Tonka': the Tornado Multi-Role Combat Aircraft.

Not easy. But the rewards are sky-high.

Being a Knight these days takes far more than just courage.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic from the RAF Boys in Blue, the lads and lasses of the USAF, which some might argue is more powerful than the RAF (but not in my bars !!) are starting out on their careers.

Some may be fortunate enough to do an exchange posting one day.

So drink to these lads with balls and be thankful they are defending our way of life (despite what the politicians are doing to it).


PS and bye the way....

I know this is unusual for me to 'advertise' (and for no other reason than admiration and friendship for the person and place), but if you find yourself in France and wish a pleasant place to stay, do find your way to one of my good customers, Mark. He would be delighted to show you hospitality.


  1. Quite an interesting article about the RAF. One hundred years and counting is a great accomplishment. My hats off to them. I’m glad there are folks that put forth the effort and endure the many challenges associated with flying incredible machines. There’s nothing else like it in the world.

    1. Lord Trenchard described the RAF, at its outset, as a one hundred year experiment. Time's up !! But it still flies on.

      May I also thank you for your service too. Keep at those lads under your wings, passing on your own considerable skills, experience and knowledge.

  2. I am late to the party, but I am sure you will forgive my absence over the Easter weekend :-)

    Technology has changed so much over 100 years:

    1. I do and I hope you had a great time away. The photo-montage you attach is excellent. I was not aware of so many memorials.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..