1st April 1968. Air Command.
In 1939 the Royal Air Force (RAF) Home Command constituted Training, Coastal, Bomber, Fighter, Maintenance and Balloon. Reserve, Flying-Training, Technical Training, RAF. Northern Ireland, Army Co-operation, Ferry and Transport Commands.
Such was the change necessary in a force which had to expand rapidly for war, and then to adjust to ‘peace’, by June 1948, Bomber Command had a front-line strength of 48 Lancasters and 96 Lincolns with 16 de Havilland, Mosquitos.
These were eventually to be replaced by the Canberra and the V-Bombers, the nuclear deterrent force, which in 1962 comprised 15 squadrons.
Today on 1st April 1968 saw the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the RAF under Sir John Trenchard.
With the rapid expansion and resulting run-down as a consequence of World War II, the RAF went through many re-organisations with the major one being the reduction of the ‘Command’ structure.
It was on the 30th April 1968 that Bomber and Fighter Commands merged into Strike Command with its HQ at High Wycombe, Bucks and the number of Groups being reduced to No 1 and No 11.
From then on the other Commands were taken into Strike Command.
Signals (Aetherum Vincere) was absorbed on November 1st 1969 with Coastal Command on the 28th.(1)
Air Support, once Transport Command was absorbed on the 1st of September 1972 which included the RAF Regiment.
Personnel and Training joined Strike Command at High Wycombe HQ to become on 1.4.07 Air Command. RAF Germany which had absorbed 2 Bomber Group on 1.4.1993, was disbanded on the same day.
Before this final merger, the Last C-in-C was Air Chief Marshal, Sir Joe French.
In the 1980.s the RAF had 1800 aircraft, (650 front-line) in 59 squadrons. By 2015 it had about a third aircraft with c 100 Tornados and 130 Eurofighter Typhoons.
(1a) The backbone of Coastal Command comprised the Sunderland, Shackleton and Nimrod planes. Air-Support Command which replaced Transport in August 1967 used Hastings, Beverley, Comet, Belfast, Vickers VC 10, York and Argosy planes.
telegraph.co.uk/RAF. Asa Bennett.17.7.2015.