Talk:Royal Flying Corps

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Lt Robert R. Skene and Air Mechanic Ray Barlow were killed on August 12 1916 when their, probably overloaded, plane crashed on the way to rendezvous with the rest of the RFC near Dover. -- I've just changed the year to 1914, which would make more sense for the deployment of the RFC. Arwel 11:57, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

- 1914 is correct. An embarrassing typo I'm afraid. Cjrother 15:30, 27 Apr 2004 (UTC)

RFC of Canada[edit]

I am a bit confused about the RFC of Canada section. The start of the article describes this as a branch of the British military then under the Royal Flying Corps of Canada it lists a number of bases located in Canada. Who had control of these bases? Britain? Canada? What was the purpose of these bases? Who was stationed there? Canadian pilots? British pilots? Why were there bases in Canada for a British military unit? I believe that answers to these questions would improve this article.Stephen Rasku (talk) 23:41, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

All good questions that need to be answered and fleshed out. A little more detail is a good idea for this article, but RFC Canada really deserves its own article, and it is my intention to start one (although with limited time, I don't know when). I've been trying to find more detail on this. Looks like a trip to the library, since there isn't much online. Essentially the RFC desperately needed more trained recruits, and since Canadians were very interested in joining the RFC, they operated training stations in Ontario, Canada which was close to where the potential recruits were located. The RFC also believed that having these training stations in Canada would preclude any enemy attacks on the training fields. I believe there were UK students as well. The training sites were apparently selected by the Canadian government. From my preliminary research, the Canadian RFC facilities were referred to as RFC Canada, or Royal Flying Corps Canada, not RFC of Canada, or The Royal Flying Corps of Canada.BC (talk) 01:46, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Because at the time most Canadians would still have been British Subjects and Canada was then still part of the British Empire. That is also why when Britain went to war in 1914, so did Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Ian Dunster (talk) 17:34, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Great War veteran dies aged 107[edit]

Daily Telegraph report

By Laura Clout Last Updated: 3:06am BST 26/07/2007

One of Britain's last surviving First World War veterans has died aged 107, leaving only five British survivors of the 1914-18 campaign.

William Young, a former trench-based radio operator, was the last known veteran of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the forerunner of the Royal Air Force.

William Young, Great War veteran dies aged 107 William Young pictured during the First World War

He died in his sleep earlier this week in Perth, Western Australia, where he lived with his wife May and their son.

The eldest of six children, Mr Young was born in Lanarkshire in 1900. After moving from Scotland when he was 13, he enlisted in the RFC on his 18th birthday and trained as a radio operator.

In a memoir dictated for his family, Mr Young described how he narrowly escaped death in France when a German shell exploded three metres from his trench. "A fragment went through my jacket but missed my chest," he said.

In 1998 he was awarded the Legion d'honneur by the French government in recognition of his service there in 1918.

Of the five million British service personnel serving at the end of the First World War, only five are still alive, three of whom live in Britain. [So he must have joined up before April 1st 1918 then].

longer piece here: One of the final WW1 veterans dies aged 107 Last updated at 07:59am on 26th July 2007 One of the few surviving World War One veterans has died aged 107.

Only five British 'Tommies' now remain alive after the passing of veteran Will Young at a retirement home near Perth, Australia.

During World War One, great-grandad Mr Young narrowly escaped a shell blast in the trenches and later survived capture by the Japanese in World War Two.

Aged just 18, Mr Young was sent to fight in the trenches of Marques in France for five months with the Royal Flying Corps.

His closest escape came when a German shell exploded just yards away from his position, shrapnel from the blast shredding his uniform.

Recalling the incident, he said: "One night I was by a dug-out when a shell burst on my right and blew in all directions. A piece flew across my chest and tore my uniform."

Scots-born Mr Young retold the horrors of the war in his memoirs, writing:

"Everybody got lice - that was the worst thing.

"The seams in our trousers were too wide, maybe a quarter of an inch, so whenever we had time we undid the sewing, killed the lice and sewed them back up again, smaller and tighter, so no more lice could get in."

He added: "The rats were terrible, too. I used to cover up my head at night-time in the trenches but I could feel them running over me."

Trained as wireless operator, Mr Young's task was to take down Morse code messages from spotter planes of enemy targets and relay the information to British artillery crews.

He said: "Our duty was to man the Morse Code receiver and I was trained to read and send it to a high speed. I had to be quick and accurate, there were no wireless communications for the spoken word."

After the end of the war Mr Young returned to Britain and obtained a chemistry degree, before he was sent to Borneo as the manager of a tanning company.

When Japan invaded the nation during World War Two, Mr Young refused to flee, instead remaining to sabotage the works.

He was captured and interred by the Japanese until the end of the war, but refused to work for their secret police despite repeated demands.

For much of his life, Mr Young refused to discuss the horrors of the war and only revealed his experiences during World War One and at the hands of the Japanese when pressed by his granddaughters.

Son, Alan Young, 71, told The Sun: "He was a quiet sort of person. I hardly knew anything about him in the war and later with the Japanese."

Following World War One, Mr Young married and had one son, before emigrating to Australia in his later life.

Before his death, Mr Young dictated his memoirs to his loved ones, leaving a touching first-hand account of the brutalities of war.

He died in his sleep in Perth earlier this week.

The remaining World War one survivors are Harry Patch, 109, of Wells, Somerset - the last British soldier who fought in the trenches; Henry Allingham, 111, of Brighton - the oldest man in Europe; William Stone, 106, of Devon; Claude Choules, 106, and Sydney Lucas, 106, who both emigrated to Australia. 09:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Category "Disbanded Air Forces" inappropriate?[edit]

An unnamed editor has added the above category to the RFC page. IMO this is inappropriate, since the RFC was not disbanded but rather amalgamated with the then RNAS to form the RAF. I propose that this category be removed as inaccurate and therefore inappropriate. Any objections? --TraceyR (talk) 14:52, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree, the Category should be renamed "Category:Former Air Forces" to fit your objection. But that is a debate belonging to Category talk:Disbanded air forces, not here. For the moment the category is a substitute for its successor. Necessary Evil (talk) 11:36, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

RFC actions in other theaters[edit]

Before I make changes to the article, has there been any discussion about RFC activities in theaters such as Africa, Turkey, Mesopotamia and Palestine? If so, please advise, otherwise I will begin to add some information on the samePjlambert (talk) 20:13, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I've taken the liberty of removing a picture purporting to be an "RFC cap badge." It was not, sadly, but rather an unoficial pin of some kind. A good place to find what an actual RFC cap badge looks like would be, where there are usually examples for sale, and doubtless one of the vendors will be able to supply a picture which is not copyrighted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Bristol Scouts[edit]

Edward H. Sims author of "Fighter Tactics and Strategy 1914-1970" Harper and Row, 1972, (pp.33-36), interviewed Royal Flying Corps veteran, Duncan Grinnell-Milne. According to Grinnell-Milne, in November 1915, 16 Squadron was flying B.E.2Cs and Bristol Scouts. The latter were not Bristol Fighters (with two seats) but were described by Grinnell-Milne as the "small, single seat Bristol Scout" (p.33). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:40, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


I have added a few Scottish airfields from "Scottish Aerodromes of the First World War" by Malcolm Fife ISBN 9780752442723. There are others in the book but not always clear which are RNAS, which post 1st April 1918 and which RFC. --jmb (talk) 19:44, 5 April 2010 (UTC)


Not convinced that the Royal Flying Corps airfields were ever called "RFC Foo" it appears to be a more recent invention to fit in with RNAS Foo and RAF Foo. Anybody have a reliable source what the corps called its airfields ? MilborneOne (talk) 16:58, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

I used the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust site for the names, they have also constructed numerous memorials for use on airfields and have had national coverage. Gavbadger (talk) 17:16, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, an interesting site I will have a better look later, still interested in finding a contempary source that they used RFC Foo. MilborneOne (talk) 17:43, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Opposition to formation of RAF[edit]

You mention that Trenchard was opposed to the formation of a new third service in 1918. So were many officers of the Army and the Royal Navy, who felt that aerial operations should remain under their own command. (Monty was still sulking about it in 1942!) Valetude (talk) 06:54, 16 August 2014 (UTC)