I am pleased to announce that on 3 March, I will be giving a paper at the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War. I will be talking on ‘The ‘Air Force Spirit’: Towards a Cultural Understanding of the Royal Air Force, 1918-1939’.


Born out of the necessity of the First World War, during the inter-war years, the Royal Air Force (RAF) sought to develop an organisation that was fit for purpose. This was so that the RAF could fulfil its role in the defence of the British Empire. So that it could pursue this mission efficiently, the RAF sought to develop a culture consistent with its role. The importance of developing this unique culture was that it allowed the RAF to shape behaviour and influence its personnel by making them feel distinctive and purposeful. However, despite the increasing recognition that it is essential to understand the culture of military organisations, the historiography on the RAF in this period has largely focused on issues of policy, technology and doctrine. Indeed, where references to culture are made, they invariably refer to ideas such as ‘independence’ or being the ‘junior service’. Such ideas are insufficient to understand how the RAF’s culture emerged, developed and influenced the behaviour of both the organisation and its personnel. Therefore, this paper will examine the factors that defined the culture, ethos and ethics of the RAF and from whence they emerged. The paper will then offer some views on how these interrelated factors both shaped and influenced the RAF at both an organisational and operational level.

You can register on the Centre’s Facebook page here.



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