Formation of the RAAF

March 31, 2018

On this day, 31 March in 1921, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed out of its forerunners, originally the Australian Flying Corps and then the Australian Air Corps.

It was less than a decade earlier (1912) that Australia embarked on having an air capacity in its armed forces – aviation then being a fledgling technology.

After the decision by the 1911 British Imperial Conference in London for the Empire’s various national armed forces to develop aviation, Australia was the first to pursue such an air force capability.

The first major conflict in which our RAAF fought was WWII. By the end of that war, around 217,000 RAAF air crew and ground staff (personnel) had served - with over 10,500 killed in action. (With over 150,000 personnel and nearly 6,000 aircraft, the RAAF was then the fourth largest air force in the world.)

Conflicts in which our RAAF has fought (or had key roles) in since include:

  • the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)
  • the Korean War (1950-53)
  • the Vietnam War (1962-1972)
  • the Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation (1963-1966), and
  • the more recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and against the Islamic State.

The RAAF currently has over 250 aircraft, of which at least 40% are of combat. It has over 10,000 permanent full-time personnel and over 4,000 part-time active reservists.

Commemorate the anniversary of our RAAF on this last day in March by:

  • visiting Australia’s War Museum in Canberra or its websites online
  • honouring the service and sacrifice of our RAAF personnel over the past century
  • phoning any mates or family members in the RAAF for a catch-up chat
  • having a drink or a meal down at the local RSL Club
  • giving thanks to our service men and women who fight for our country and way of life whenever deployed, including those currently deployed overseas, and
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and fellow patriots of our great and proud nation.

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