The Royal Flying Corps

Royal Flying Corps

The Royal Flying Corp was the air arm of the British Army during the Great War. Its main role was to support the British Artillery and photographic reconnaissance. At the start of WW1, the RFC consisted of five squadrons, one observation balloon squadron and four aeroplane squadrons.

The Flying Corps inital strength was 133 officers with 12 manned balloons and 36 aeroplanes.

They were first used in September 1914 for ariel spotting but this only became effective with the use of wireless communications as seen at Aubers Ridge in May 1915. Flying at 15,000 feet, photographs were interpreted by over 3,000 personnel. Parachutes were not available to the pilots and observers but they were issued to the balloonists in 1915.

In 1918, it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force. The RFC’s motto is ‘Per Ardua Astra‘ (“Through adversity to the stars”) and this still remains the motto for the RAF.

The group have a replica Neuiport 12 and can provide a small play showing how frail life was for an airman.

Niueport Flying Machine