Collections

Explore our collections of incredible stories, created to mark anniversaries, events, aircraft and more.

The Bearer Party

The King’s Colour Squadron is the RAF’s dedicated ceremonial unit, responsible for representing the RAF at both state and national ceremonial occasions, and providing Guards of Honour for the Royal Family, Heads of State, dignitaries and other VIPs. On the demise of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 the Squadron became the custodians of the King’s Colour and was renamed the King’s Colour Squadron on 27 October 2022.

Formed exclusively by the Officers and Gunners of the RAF Regiment, the King’s Colour Squadron holds a dual role capability as a regular field squadron under 63 Squadron RAF Regiment with personnel deployed actively on Operations throughout Europe and the Middle East.

The Squadron provided the Bearer Party and Guard of Honour when an RAF C-17 transport aircraft delivered Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to RAF Northolt at London from Scotland.

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Bomber Command 1939-1945

By mid-1940 the only way for Britain to take the war to the enemy homeland was through the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. By 1945, the Command had helped deliver Allied victory, but at what cost? 55,573 of its aircrew were dead, over 8,000 were injured, hundreds of thousands of civilians had perished in Axis (enemy) and Allied bombing raids, and cities across Europe were in ruins.

From an unpromising start, volunteer Bomber Command aircrew faced a nightly battle to complete their assigned raids. Developments in technology and tactics helped increase their chances of survival. With increasing precision, the Command’s attacks on German industrial centres reduced the production of arms, ammunition, material and fuel, almost certainly shortening the war.

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Falklands Stories

40 years ago, in 1982, Argentina seized control of the Falkland Islands, a British territory in the south Atlantic Ocean.

The Royal Air Force was mobilised as part of the UK’s efforts to liberate the Islands. After years of focusing on the Cold War in Europe, the RAF had to adapt its approach radically and rapidly for the Falklands campaign. It carried out intelligence gathering, long-range bombing, air defence, ground attacks, resupply, and close air support missions for the UK’s military task force.

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Black Buck

Operation Black Buck was a hugely ambitious long range ground attack mission against Argentine positions at Port Stanley Airport on the Falkland Islands. At the time, it was the longest bombing mission ever attempted.

The round trip from the RAF base on Ascension Island was over 12000Km.This was far beyond the Vulcan’s operational range. With a full bomb load, fuel, an extra crew member and a fresh coat of paint the Vulcan was burning over 7000kg of fuel every hour on the way to its target and a complex schedule of air-to-air refuelling was necessary to make the mission possible. Indeed the distance was also beyond the maximum range of the Victor refuelling tankers, and they would also need to be refuelled during the mission. 

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Harrier GR.3

The simplicity and flexibility inherent in the Harrier was an essential element of the RAF’s operations during the Falklands War. RAF Harriers were deployed to the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, as part of the Task Force sent to recapture the Falklands Islands. The Harrier GR3 performed attack sorties from the aircraft carrier, and later from basic landing strips on the islands, often in conditions that would have grounded conventional aircraft.

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