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In 1918, following the suggestion of Lieutentant General Jan Smuts' Cabinet Committee, the British government merged the Royal Flying Corps with the Royal Naval Air Service to create the first independent air force in the world. Major General Sir Hugh Trenchard, to whom the task was entrusted, became the Chief of the Air Staff for the joint service, the Royal Air Force - better known as the RAF. Two of the gentlemen depicted in the Crossley staff car are Sir Hugh Trenchard and General Smuts. The aircraft are a Sopwith Camel and, beyond, several S.E. 5a's, the two most successful British fighter aircraft of WWI. Above them, returning from a night raid, fly two Handley Page 0/400 bombers of the RAF. On that April morning which saw the birth of the RAF, the end of WWI on November 11, 1918 was still a long way off. The German air force would remain a threat to the very end. The RAF, however, faced the future with conviction and ability, establishing for all time their proud and prized traditions - proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that air power was vital to the safety of King and country. Countersigned by: Sir Peter Harding, Sir Michael Graydon, Sir John Thomson

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Height 20
Width 30
Published June 1999
Artist Frank Wootton


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