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The Greatest Moments of the RAF (1918-2018)

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Last week I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of speaking during two days of the 2018 War and Peace Revival show. One of the largest living history events in the country.
I talked about the ten greatest moments of the RAF's history - something which I felt more than slightly inadequate to do - who was I to stand up in front of dozens of people and tell them what the greatest RAF moments were? So, instead I put it to a vote - you may have seen emails or social posts over the last weeks asking for people's opinion. In the end over 300 people registered their opinion on my online survey and from their answers I was able to build out a list with much more credibility.

Here is the presentation - I hope you like it.. and remember, if you disagree with the list or the order of the list - it is not my list! It is the result of the survey!!

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The Greatest Moments of the RAF (1918-2018)

  1. 1. THE TEN GREATEST MOMENTS IN RAF HISTORY (1918-2018)
  2. 2. moment /məʊm(ə)nt/ noun 1. A very brief period of time. "she was silent for a moment before replying" 2. Formal - importance. "the issues were of little moment to the electorate" WHAT IS A MOMENT?
  3. 3. MODUS OPERANDI Hugely subjective Survey Monkey to the rescue Twitter / FB / Email list 300+ respondents This is their opinion!
  4. 4. Before we get going… On your post-it note, write down your TOP THREE RAF moments.
  5. 5. HAWKER SIDDELEY HARRIER
  6. 6. 21 OCTOBER 1960 – P.1127 FLEW A TETHERED HOVER RAF TOOK RECIEPT OF THEIR FIRST MACHINES IN 1969 SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN FALKLANDS ALSO SAW ACTION IN BOSNIA, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN RETIRED IN 2011 AFTER 40 YEARS SERVICE HAWKER SIDDELEY HARRIER
  7. 7. OPERATION BLACK BUCK
  8. 8. LONG RANGE BOMBING RAID AGAINST STANLEY AIRFIED VULCAN MEANT TO BE RETIRING IN 1982 TWO VULCANS TOOK OFF FROM ASCENSION ISLANDS ON 30 APRIL 1982 8,000MILE ROUNDTRIP TOOK 16HRS REFULLED FIVE TIMES ELECTRICAL STORM ALMOST RUINED MISSION PRECISION BOMBING AT 10,000FT 7 LONG DISTANCE RAIDS TOOK PLACE OPERATION BLACK BUCK
  9. 9. THE DOWDING SYSTEM
  10. 10. FIGHTER COMMAND C/O HUGH DOWDING – PILOTS NOT GETTING INFO CLEARLY/QUICKLY ENOUGH INFO FROM RADAR, OBSERVER CORPS, AA DIVISIONS SENT TO CENTRAL FILTER ROOM AND DISTRIBUTED TO RELEVANT GROUP AND SECTORS ONCE A SECTOR RECEIVED WORD FROM HQ THEY WOULD SCRAMBLE. ONCE IN THE AIR, PILOTS WOULD GET INFO ABOUT NUMBER/HEADING/RANGE/ALT OF ENEMY TURNED FIGHTER COMMAND INTO A LEAN, MEAN INTERCEPTING MACHINE THE DOWDING SYSTEM
  11. 11. HAWKER HURRICANE
  12. 12. FIRST PRODUCTION HURRICANE FLEW OCT 1937 14,583 MACHINES PRODUCED NUMEROUS VARIATIONS BUILT INCLUDING TANK BUSTING AND NIGHT FIGHTING SUPPLIED TO RUSSIA TO HELP ON THE EASTERN FRONT THE ONLY VC WON BY FIGHTER COMMAND DURING WW2 WAS WON BY FLT/LT JAMES NICHOLSON ON 16 AUG 1940 HAWKER HURRICANE
  13. 13. 1ST APRIL 1918
  14. 14. S AFRICAN GENERAL JAN SMUTS SUGGESTED BRITAIN’S AIR SERVICE SHOULD BE SEPARATE FORCE RNAS & RFC WERE MERGED TOGETHER DESPITE FIERCE RESISTANCE FROM ARMY & NAVY THE CREATION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST INDEPENDENT AIR FORCE PER ARDUA AD ASTRA (THROUGH ADVERSITY TO THE STARS) STRENGTH ON 1ST APRIL: 22,000 AIRCRAFT & 300,000 PERSONNEL 1ST APRIL 1918
  15. 15. RADAR
  16. 16. IN 1935 ROBERT WATSON-WATT WROTE A THESIS ON USING RADIO TO DETECT AIRCRAFT AND SUCCESSFULLY TRACKED A HADLEY PAGE HEYFORD BOMBER FOR 8 MILES TO PROVE HIS THEORY WATSON-WATT DRAFTED IN TO AIR MINSTRY TO HELP WITH AIR DEFENCE BY OUTBREAK OF WAR – 20 CHAIN HIGH STATIONS OVER 50 CH & CL STATIONS WERE BUILT OPERATIONAL INTO THE 1950’S RADAR
  17. 17. AVRO LANCASTER
  18. 18. MOST ICONIC & SUCCESSFUL HEAVY BOMBER OF WW2 FIRST RAID ON 3 MARCH 1942 LANCASTERS FLEW 156,000 INDIVIDUAL SORTIES DURING WW2 10 LANCASTER CREW MEMBERS WERE AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS RETIRED FROM SERVICE IN 1953 AVRO LANCASTER
  19. 19. OPERATION CHASTISE (DAMBUSTERS)
  20. 20. PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE: THE RUHR VALLEY CONSUMED 1/3 OF GERMANY’S WATER – MOST CONTAINED IN THE MŐHNE DAM SMASHING THE DAM AND OTHERS CLOSE BY WOULD CAUSE CHAOS TO INDUSTRIAL GERMANY 19 SPECIALLY MODIFIED LANCASTER BOMBERS TOOK PART IN THE RAID 8 PLANES WERE SHOT DOWN THE DAMBUSTERS WERE AWARDED 37 GALLANTRY MEDALS INCLUDING THE VC TO GUY GIBSON OPERATION CHASTISE
  21. 21. SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE
  22. 22. ENTERED SERVICE IN 1938 20,351 MACHINES PRODUCED 22 VARIATIONS MOST WIDELY PRODUCED MACHINE IN RAF HISTORY DUE TO SLOW INITIAL PRODUCTION THERE WERE MORE HURRICANES AVAILABLE THAN SPITFIRES AVERAGE AGE OF WW2 SPITFIRE PILOTS WAS 20 SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE
  23. 23. THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  24. 24. OPERATION SEALION ANNOUNCED BY HITLER ON 16 JULY 1940 HE NEEDED AIR SUPREMACY TO CARRY OUT AN INVASION OF BRITAIN LARGE SCALE AIR ATTACKS STARTED 10 JULY 1940 RAF FIGHTER COMMAND SIGNIFICANTLY OUTNUMBERED 18 AUGUST 1940 – THE HARDEST DAY – OVER 900 SORTIES FLOWN BY EACH SIDE 2,963 PILOTS FLEW FOR FIGHTER COMMAND DURING THE BATTLE - AVE AGE OF 20 THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  25. 25. WANT MORE MOMENTS? All of these ‘moments’ including all infographics, images, facts etc. have been taken from my book ‘Reaching For The Sky’
  26. 26. WANT MORE MOMENTS? All of these ‘moments’ including all infographics, images, facts etc. have been taken from my book ‘Reaching For The Sky’ Click on the cover image to view the book on Amazon

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