Commemorating the Centenary of the RAAF 1921-2021 poster

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We've created this poster to commemorate 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Display our poster to help remember and recognise the contributions of all those who have served in the RAAF from 1921 to 2021.

See Air Force 2021 Centenary for more information.

Series: Commemorative posters

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was established in 1921, building on the foundations laid by its forerunner, the Australian Flying Corps, during the First World War. Ever since, the RAAF has played a vital role in Australia’s military operations. From the Second World War, through Korea, Borneo, Malaya, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan to peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, air force personnel have earned the respect of Australians and people around the world.

Wartime snapshot

Australian military aviation began in 1914 shortly before World War I, when the Australian Flying Corps’ (AFC) Central Flying School at Point Cook admitted its first four pupils. By 1918 when the war ended, the AFC had four squadrons in the field and four training squadrons in England. The following year, it was disbanded and replaced by the Australian Air Corps, which in 1921 became the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Although it was a new establishment, the RAAF took on the history and traditions forged by the wartime AFC.


During World War II, RAAF personnel served around the world. Many completed advanced training in Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) before serving with Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) in some of the war's most significant aerial campaigns, from the Battle of the Atlantic and the bomber offensive against Germany to the fighting over North Africa and the Mediterranean. After Japan entered the war, RAAF personnel defended Australia against air raids, contributed to important victories in Papua and New Guinea, flew long-range reconnaissance and bombing operations against targets as distant as Borneo and the Philippines, and transported men and equipment around Australia and the region, playing a key role in Allied operations across Asia and the Pacific.

RAAF aircrew flew in the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49, part of the successful effort to defeat a Soviet blockade of the city.

In 1950, the RAAF was one of the first of the United Nations' air forces to deploy on operations in Korea, going on to fly combat, reconnaissance, ground support, escort and medical evacuation operations through the 3 years of the Korean War.

On the other side of the world, RAAF personnel deployed to Malta as part of a British campaign to counter Soviet influence in the Middle East.

Closer to home, the RAAF operated against communist guerrillas during the Malayan Emergency, flying bombing and transport operations.

In the Vietnam War, RAAF transport aircraft were at the vanguard of Australia's air operations, joined later by a squadron of bombers and another of helicopters. A handful of RAAF airmen also served in United States Air Force units.

Since the early years of the 21st century, RAAF personnel have served in wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan carrying out combat operations, maritime surveillance, and reconnaissance and intelligence flights alongside the air forces of allied nations. Along with service through wars and conflicts, for more than 70 years, RAAF personnel have also been involved in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations spanning the globe, from Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia, East Timor and the Pacific.

The RAAF has played a central role in Australian military operations for more than a century. Its personnel have served in every war and conflict in which Australia has been involved since 1921, but its traditions and history go back to the AFC and the airfield at Point Cook on the eve of the Great War.


Department of Veterans' Affairs 2021

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