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The Royal Air Force

823 of 1170 nominations


The Royal Air Force

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The Royal Air Force

“Per Ardua Ad Astra” – through adversity to the stars. This rather romantic sounding motto was dreamed up by a young junior officer, JS Yule, in 1912 when he was a member of the then Royal Flying Corps. (This was not long after aircraft had been ranked alongside airships, balloons and kites in military circles!) He apparently remembered it from a novel he was reading – although where the author Sir Rider Haggard had come across it is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that the motto captures the courageous spirit of the pilots who fight under its banner. Just how apt the motto would be became clear during the first world war, when developing military power in the air became crucial. Out of this necessity, the Royal Air Force and Women's Royal Air Force were born on 1 April 1918. Ever since that time, the RAF has been at the forefront of developments in military strategy and aircraft technology, its linchpin role becoming ever more apparent in the era of aerial warfare.


Your comments

After reading the nomination that the Spitfire, deservedly, received I felt that it was important to stress that it is not only the pilots and the aircraft, but the whole team, without any one of which neither the pilot nor the aircraft would be ready, that makes sure that missions are completed successfully. Although the Battle of Britain may have been the RAFs "Finest Hour", there have been countless other examples of world beating excellence from the RAF throughout its relatively short but exceedingly illustrious history.

Dale Walkden

A major player in The Battle of Britain. Deserves every honour as a truly British accomplishment. "NEVER have so many owed so much to so few."
Roy Victor Harvey

6 Squadron has the longest history of any air force squadron in the world - a not insubstantial boast. Formed on 30 January 1914 from elements of 3 Squadron, it is unique in that it has never been formally disbanded. As well as the longest period of continuous service, it also had the first ever Victoria Cross for aerial combat, awarded to Captain Lanoe George Hawker on 25 July 1915 after he single-handedly attacked three German aircraft in his FE2.
Steve Ward

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I nominate the English weather.