Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Isle of Man Stamps – The Centenary of the Royal Flying Corps


Those magnificent men in their flying machines

The Isle of Man Post Office has celebrated the Centenary of the Royal Flying Corps by issuing a set of six stamps to commemorate their formation.

Formed by Royal Warrant in 1912, the Flying Corps incorporates a Military Wing, Naval Wing, the Central Flying School at Upavon and the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough. The Royal Flying Corps, led by Brigadier General Sir David Henderson, went to war just over two years later with four squadrons comprising 63 aircraft and 900 men. Later in September 1915 the Royal Flying Corps had strengthened to now include 12 squadrons of 161 aircraft, but escalated to 27 squadrons comprising more than 420 aircraft on roll with a further 216 in depots and training. Reconnaissance and artillery spotting became the principal task of the Royal Flying Corps.

Initially aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps flew unmarked, but were later distinguished by the Union Jack painted on their wings which distinguished them from the ‘Hun’.

Major General Hugh Trenchard, as Commander of the Royal Flying Corps in France for much of the war, was the driving force behind the expansion of the Royal Flying Corps so that by the final days of the outfit over 1,200 aircraft were deployed on the Western Front. Closer to home the Royal Flying Corps Home Establishment was responsible for training air and ground crews and preparing squadrons to deploy into France, as well as home defence, defence against German Zeppelin and later the Gotha bomber raids. They were also deployed to the Middle East, the Balkans and Italy.

(C) Valerie Caine


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