The Royal Air Force Day by Day 1918-2018 by Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork
Published by The History Press
The previous edition of The Royal Air Force Day by Day has been brought up to date to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF. It is a diary of significant daily events providing a fascinating record of the RAF's 100-year history. It describes not only the great air battles and major events, but also the tapestry of activities, traditions and culture that have created the rich heritage of the world's oldest air force. Central to all these themes are the experiences of RAF officers, airmen and women, ground trades and aircrew during war and peacetime.
Created in April 1918, the RAF made a major contribution to the final victory in the First World War, but soon found itself fighting its very existence in the face of savage defence cuts and a vigorous campaign by the Royal Navy and army to control their own air power. Under the guidance and vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, the foundations of the RAF were established and the junior service became increasingly involved in many 'air policing' operations that dominated the next twenty years. In the Second World War airpower came of age, and by the end of the hostilities in 1945 the RAF had become one of the most powerful air arms in the world.
With the decline of the empire, the RAF's role changed as Britain made an increasingly important contribution to NATO. The Service played a vital role in the air defence of the United Kingdom and for some years provided the country's strategic and tactical nuclear deterrent. The ending of the Cold War removed one threat, but others emerged and the RAF was at the centre of operations in the Falklands, the Balkans, two Gulf Wars, the war in Afghanistan and the current conflict in Syria - its most intense operation for twenty-five years - not to mention peacekeeping and international aid operations worldwide.
Young in relation to the other two services, there have been enormous changes in the way the RAF has developed its capabilities and culture. These are graphically illustrated in this book, which delivers a compelling mixture of the exceptional, the unusual and the routine. It has been published at the request of the Royal Air Force as part of their centenary celebrations.