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Independent Air Force


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In the book "The Kings' Speech", there is a mention of the Duke serving at Nancy in the Independent Air Force. I don't remember now whether this was the future Edward VIII or George VI (my copy of the book is a long way from here). Does anyone know anything about this, as the book says quite specifically that he was based at Nancy which is not far from me.

I am asking as the national committee for the 2014 commemorations have asked me to look into it, as he would possibly have had something to do with air raids on Luxembourg (of which there were a lot). Any information will be gratefully received.

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It was the future George VI who was on the staff there during the closing weeks of the war

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charlesmessenger

Prince Albert, as he was then, crossed the Channel on 23 October to join Trenchard's HQ at Nancy. He is time in the RAF is covered in John Wheeler-Bennett's biography of King George VI.

Charles M

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Note, its correct title was the Independent Force. It was simply another component of the RAF and not an air force in its own right.

Errol

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Note, its correct title was the Independent Force. It was simply another component of the RAF and not an air force in its own right.

Errol

Not correct I think. It was originally the Independent Air Force in the announcement of its founding in 13 May 1918. In Jan 1919 the London Gazette published Trenchard's despatch referring to his command . It starts

"The Secretary of State for the Royal Air Force has recieved the following Despatch from Major-General Sir H. M. Trenchard, K.C.B., D.S.O., Commanding the Independent Force,

Royal Air Force: —" Trenchard opens "I have the honour to submit the following report on the work of the Independent Air Force" and goes in this official despatch on to use Independent Force. Independent Air Force and Independent Bombing Force almost interchangeably. The first use of Independent Force appears to be 15 June 1918

On 26 October 1918 it officially became known as the Inter-Allied Independent Air Force and included French and American components.

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Notwithstanding the sometimes informal or generalised use of the term Independent Air Force . . .

For the first time, the " Independent Force, R.A.F.,"

is publicly earmarked officially in the communique of the

Air Ministry issued on June 17th, on this Force's bombing

activity upon enemy objectives. . . (Flight p691, 20 Jul 1918)

Air Ministry, June 17th.

" The following bombing operations into Germany were carried out by the

Independent Force, R.A.F., from June 6th to June 11th, both dates inclusive :

The railway station and sidings of Thionville were attacked . . . (Flight p697, 20 Jun 1918)

Headquarters, Independent Force R.A.F., June 25th.

" On the evening of the 23rd inst. the weather cleared somewhat, and our

bombing squadrons carried out a series of attacks on . . . (Flight p756, 4 Jul 1918)

and scores more similar entries through to war's end

Headquarters R.A.F., Independent Force, November 11th.

"On the afternoon of the 10th inst., besides the raids already reported, our

machines successfully attacked . . . (Flight p1305, 14 Nov 1918)

The official History of the War in the Air also uses the term Independent Force in its battle orders.

The Independent Bombing Force was the title given to the England-based component of the the Independent Force.

“On 26 October 1918 it officially became known as the Inter-Allied Independent Air Force and included French and American components.”

The Independent Force was simply a component of the I-AIAF, its own title was not changed.

Errol

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No doubt but you can't get round that Trenchard in his official despatch used Independent air force and I guess that he would know.

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No doubt but you can't get round that Trenchard in his official despatch used Independent air force and I guess that he would know.

Sometimes the term Independent Air Force was used in an informal or general sense simply to make clear that what was being referred to was 'air'. Independent Force on its own, although technically the correct designation, did not automatically convey this to non-air persons.

Errol

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  • 10 months later...

Hi Healdav,
I hope this small piece of specific information regarding Prince Albert's time with the IAF in Nov 1918 is of some use to your research and not too late for the purposes of 2014 commemorations.

My Great Uncle William Dorian Thom DFC played host to the Prince while he was stationed at AIF HQ.

A personal letter of thanks was written by Albert to my great uncle on armistice morning. The enlightening & fascinating short letter and details of my great uncle's service can be found here;

http://scottishislan...om-aviator.htm

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  • 6 years later...

^

"Prince Albert, the later King George VI, was posted to the staff of the Independent Air Force at Nancy in the last few weeks of the war and got to know 99 Squadron. Dorian was appointed to escort him and took him up for a flight in his de  Havilland. On Armistice Day, when the prince was 23 years old he sent the following letter to Dorian, who was then 25."

Albert letter page 1.JPG

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