image for Talk item typeThe First World War origins of the RAF at National Archives

Talk, Fri 2 Mar 2018


The National Archives

020 8876 3444


Ruskin Avenue,
Richmond, Surrey,


2018 marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force, the formation of which is not without its own fascinating history.
Since 1914, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service had fought the air war, but by 1917 it was apparent that this new form of combat required a specialist service of its own.
On 2 March 2018, The National Archives, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the RAF Museum, and the National Army Museum will present a one-day conference exploring this formation. With a keynote delivered by Professor Richard Overy (University of Exeter), the conference will look at why the Royal Air Force came into existence, and examine the challenges and opportunities of bringing together two distinct branches of the armed forces to create something entirely new.
09.30 - 10.00 Registration and refreshments
10.00 - 11.00 2 into 1: Wing Commander (ret'd) Jeff Jefford MBE and William Spencer (The National Archives)
11.00 - 11.15 Break and refreshments
11.15 - 12.15 Body and Soul – health and morale in Britain’s Air Arms: Dr Lynsey Shaw-Cobden (Air Historical Branch - RAF) and Dr Emma Hanna (University of Kent)
12:15 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:00 Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Dr Peter Dye (Independent) and Peter Hart (Imperial War Museum)
14:00 - 14:15 Break and refreshments
14:15 - 15:15 Keynote – The Creation of the Royal Air Force, Professor Richard Overy (University of Exeter)
15:15 - 16:00 Open Discussion and close

Disabled toiletsFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsPublic toilets

Event details

Dates Times
Fri 2 Mar 2018 09:30 to 16:00


£24.00 - £30.00



See location of National Archives on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TQ 152728  Lat: 51.44326 Long: -0.34244

Car : The National Archives is half a mile south of Kew Bridge, on the South Circular Road, A 205. Junction 2 of the M4 motorway is about one and a half miles away. There are 116 spaces in our car park which are free (on a first-come, first-served basis) to researchers using The National Archives. The car park is open from 08:30 to 19:00.
Train : The nearest station to the Kew office is Kew Gardens (Underground - District line and Railway - Silverlink Metro / North London line). Kew Gardens is in both zone 3 and 4, and the journey from central London to Kew takes about 40 minutes. It is a short walk from the station via Ruskin Avenue to The National Archives.
Other convenient railway stations for The National Archives at Kew are Richmond (Travel one stop from there to Kew Gardens) and Kew Bridge (a 15-20 minute walk to us).
Bus: The R68 bus route ends by the entrance to The National Archives, and the 65 and 391 bus routes run along Kew Road.
For further information visit

Parking: free


  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets