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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RAF India
FoundedMay 1918 - December 1947
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Air Force
RoleControl of RAF Forces in British India

RAF India was a command of the Royal Air Force (RAF) that was active from 1918 until Indian independence and partition in 1947. It was the air force counterpart of the British Army in India.


The command had its origins in units of the Royal Flying Corps in India.[1][2] In November 1915, the War Office despatched No. 31 Squadron to India, the squadron arriving at Nowshera in December.[1][2] The squadron, including a basic aircraft park, was subsequently transferred to Risalpur.[1] A period of intensive training ensued, during which flights were periodically sent on patrols over the North-West Frontier regions. A second squadron (No. 114 Squadron) was added in 1917.[1] When the RAF was formed in May 1918, the total strength of the air force in India was 80 officers and 600 men.[1]


Commander, Indian Group (1919 to 1920)

No. Name Took office Left office Time in office
1Webb-Bowen, TomAir Commodore
Tom Webb-Bowen CB, CMG
20 September 191927 January 1920129 days

Air Officer Commanding RAF, India (1920–1938)

No. Name Took office Left office Time in office
1Webb-Bowen, TomAir Commodore
Tom Webb-Bowen CB, CMG
27 January 192031 December 19222 years, 338 days
2Game, PhilipAir Vice Marshal
Philip Game CB, DSO
31 December 19225 November 1923309 days
3Ellington, EdwardAir Marshal
Sir Edward Leonard Ellington KCB, CMG, CBE
5 November 192327 December 19263 years, 52 days
4Ellington, EdwardAir Marshal
Sir Geoffrey Salmond KCB, KCMG, DSO
27 December 19266 February 19314 years, 41 days
5Steel, JohnAir Marshal
Sir John Miles Steel KCB, KBE, CMG
6 February 19312 March 19354 years, 24 days
6Ludlow-Hewitt, EdgarAir Chief Marshal
Sir Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt KCB, CMG, DSO, MC
2 March 193529 September 19372 years, 211 days
7de la Ferté, PhilipAir Marshal
Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté KCB, CMG, DSO
29 September 193727 December 19381 year, 89 days

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces in India (1938–1947)

No. Name Took office Left office Time in office Ref
1de la Ferté, PhilipAir Marshal
Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté KCB, CMG, DSO
27 December 19386 October 1939283 days[3]
2Higgins, JohnAir Marshal
Sir John Higgins KCB, KBE, DSO, AFC
6 October 193926 September 1940356 days
3Playfair, PatrickAir Marshal
Sir Patrick Playfair KCB, CB, CVO, MC
26 September 19406 March 19421 year, 161 days
4Peirse, RichardAir Chief Marshal
Sir Richard Peirse KCB, DSO, AFC
6 March 194227 April 19431 year, 52 days
5Garrod, GuyAir Marshal
Sir Guy Garrod KCB, OBE, MC, DFC
27 April 19438 March 1944316 days
6Thomas, MeredithAir Vice Marshal
Meredith Thomas CSI, CBE, DFC, AFC
8 March 19441 April 19462 years, 24 days
7Carr, RoderickAir Marshal
Sir Roderick Carr KBE, CB, DFC, AFC
1 April 194622 November 1946235 days
8Walmsley, HughAir Marshal
Sir Hugh Walmsley KCIE, CB, CBE, MC, DFC
22 November 194615 August 1947252 days

(On 15 August 1947, the unified RIAF was separated into the Royal Indian Air Force and the Royal Pakistan Air Force)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Government of India 1924, p. 175-176.
  2. ^ a b Walters 2017, p. 214-215.
  3. ^ Chiefs of the Indian Air Force 1931 to 1947 Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  • Walters, Andrew John Charles (2017), Inter-War, Inter-Service Friction on the North-West Frontier of India and its Impact on the Development and Application of Royal Air Force Doctrine
  • The Army in India and Its Evolution, including an Account of the Establishment of the Royal Air Force in India, 1924
This page was last edited on 27 April 2020, at 01:13
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