RAF Timeline 1945-1949

Back to 1945


26 May 1945 - Aries, a modified Lancaster of the Empire Air Navigation School, returns to RAF Shawbury after completing the first ever flight over both the True and Magnetic North Poles.

26-30 Aug 1945 - Airborne medical teams and supplies are dropped to prisoners of war in Burma and Siam (now Thailand).

Wilson Meteor 15 Sep 1945 - A formation of some 300 aircraft flies over London in the first Battle of Britain anniversary flypast. The formation was led by 247 Squadron in their new Vampire fighters, the first time the public had seen the aircraft.

7 Nov 1945 - The first officially confirmed speed record for a jet aircraft, 606.25 mph (975.67 km/h), is achieved by Group Captain H J Wilson in a Meteor IV at Herne Bay. The aircraft was powered by two 3,500 lb thrust Rolls Royce Derwent V turbojets.


Hornet 1 May 1946 - Air Vice-Marshal Sir Alan Lees is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed , RAF Reserve Command. Also on this day, the de Havilland Hornet enters service with No. 64 Sqn at Horsham St Faith, Norfolk. A development of the Mosquito fighter, the Hornet is the fastest twin piston-engined fighter ever to fly.

22 May 1946 - First flight of the de Havilland Canada Chipmunk trainer.

10 July 1946 - The Air Ministry announces that the RAF Regiment would continue as an integral part of the RAF. It would maintain rifle, armoured and anti-aircraft squadrons, and other units would be trained as airborne troops.

7 Sep 1946 - Group Captain E M Donaldson sets a new World Speed Record of 615.81 mph (991.16 km/h) in a Meteor IV.


York 3 Jan 1947 - The Kings Flight of the Royal Air Force is re-established at RAF Benson. The first equipment consisted of three Vickers Vikings and an Avro York named Endeavour

16 Dec 1947 - The Auxiliary Air Force is given Royal assent and is renamed the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF).


Paras on Operation Firedog Jun 1948 - Operation Firedog, operations against Malayan terrorists, begins. Two Spitfires of No. 60 Sqn flew the first offensive mission on 6 July when they attacked and destroyed a terrorist camp at Perak using cannon and rockets.

26 Jun 1948 - After Russia closes all land routes into Berlin, the British and American governments begin a massive airlift of supplies into the city. Operation Plainfare sees RAF transports deliver 1,340 tons of food every day during the operation. Clothing, food, fuel and supplies are flown into Gatow airport in York and Vampires Dakota aircraft, other supplies such as salt are flown onto Lake Havel by Sunderlands. Although the blockade was lifted on 12 May 1949, flights continued until October to build up stocks. The RAF delivered 17% of the total material delivered to the city.

12-14 Jul 1948 - Six Vampires of No. 54 Sqn make the first crossing of the Atlantic by jet aircraft. Their route takes them via Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides, Iceland and Greenland to Labrador in the Dominion of NewFoundland.

See also: RAF and the Cold War


1 Feb 1949 - The Women's Auxiliary Air Force is renamed the Women's Royal Air Force.

Operations Plain Fare Hastings 4 Apr 1949 - A treaty detailing the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is signed by 12 founder states in Washington.

12 May 1949 - Russia lifts the blockade against Berlin, although the airlift continued until October to build up stocks of supplies.

Forward to 1950-59

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