Sopwith Camel

World War I

Picture: Sopwith Camel.

The Royal Air Force, a beginning

The Royal Air Force is the Oldest Air Force in the world.

This is where you will find information about the roots and birth of the Royal Air Force.


Baron Manfred von Richtofen 1 Apr 1918- The Royal Air Force and Women's Royal Air Force are formed.

21 Apr 1918- Baron Manfred von Richthofen, otherwise known as "The Red Baron" is shot down and killed near Corbie. The top scoring fighter pilot of WWI with 80 kills, von Richthofen was variously claimed by Captain Roy Brown of 209 Sqn RAF, Australian gunners of the 24th Machine Gun Company and members of the 53rd Battery, 1402 Field Artillery Brigade.

August 1918- The RAF introduces offensive fighter sweeps on the Western Front. These sweeps normally consisted of Sopwith Camels flying at 10000 feet; SE5as at 14000 feet and Bristol Fighters at 18000 feet.

Sopwith Camel 8 Aug 1918- The Allies launch a major offensive on the Western Front. Heavy fighting results in losses of around a quarter of all aircraft. In the week 5 - 11 August, the RAF alone claims 177 enemy kills against 150 losses.

21 Sep 1918- RAF aircraft in Palestine attack and destroy the retreating Turkish Seventh Army at Wadi el Fara. TE Lawrence wrote: "It was the RAF which converted the retreat into a rout, which had abolished their telephone and telegraph connections, had blocked their lorry columns and scattered their infantry units".

The largest bomb in World War One 14 Oct 1918- The largest bomb of the war, 1650lbs, is dropped by a Handley Page 0/400 aircraft of the Independent Air Force.

4 - 10 Nov 1918- The last intense combat of WWI. The RAF claim 68 enemy aircraft for 60 losses.

11 Nov 1918- At 10:45 on the morning of November 11th, the crew of a 15 Sqn RE.8 observation aircraft landed at Auchy and reported no enemy aircraft or anti-aircraft fire seen. Fifteen minutes later, Armistice with Germany was declared and the war ended.

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