‘We Seek The Highest’, RAF College Cranwell, A Centenary Celebration

The author, a former graduate of the RAF College, offers a Centennial Celebration history of the college . This book provides a well-researched history of one of the World’s premier military academies. – Highly Recommended.






NAME: 'We Seek The Highest', RAF College Cranwell, A Centenary Celebration
FILE: R3060
AUTHOR: Roger Annett
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Air World
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £30.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Centenary, military training, aviation, air training college, officer training, 
RAF, Lincolnshire, Cranwell

ISBN: 1-52671-218-0

PAGES: 368
IMAGE: B3060.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/ygd8z2kx
DESCRIPTION: The author, a former graduate of the RAF College, offers a 
Centennial Celebration history of the college . This book provides a well-researched 
history of one of the World's premier military academies. – Highly Recommended.

The Royal Navy established, with help from the Royal Aeronautical Society, the first 
military aviation school in 1911. It accepted volunteers who had already been awarded 
commissions in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines. When the RNAS and RFC 
were merged in 1918, to form the RAF, the objective was to create a new service in all 
respects, including the training of new officers. Accordingly, the RAF College 
Cranwell was established in 1919, as many of the aviation officers either returned to 
their parent Services or became civilians. From that point, cadets could be inducted 
and be trained as officers with the full range of RAF specializations.

During the period between the two World Wars, the RAF was restricted in funding, 
along with the Royal Navy and the Army. It still needed to train replacements for 
those leaving the service, but it was essentially a bi-plane service where its active 
service was restricted to bombing tribal villages to control the population in the 
Middle East. It was a period of stagnation and lost opportunities. Fortunately, the 
British aviation industry managed to survive and pioneer technological change. RAF 
Cranwell contributed to this development, most notably in the pioneering work of 
Whittle in developing a viable jet engine, and had to attempt to teach its new intakes 
in a way that prepared them for the times when funding of military equipment would 
once more expand, and to prepare for future conflict.

In the late 1930s, Britain belatedly came to understand the threat posed by Nazi 
Germany and a major re-equipment program was embarked on. This inevitably saw 
an expansion of RAF personnel and RAF Cranwell responded to the pressures, turning 
out a new generation of officers in all specializations. In little more than a couple of 
years, the RAF transformed into a monoplane air service. Fury biplanes, serving in 
front-line fighter squadrons, may have been repainted in camouflage, but in a few 
months the remaining squadrons converted to the new monoplane fighters. The 
Hurricane shared much technically with the biplane Fury that it was replacing, but it 
offered a revolution in capability. The Spitfire was somewhat more demanding, 
particularly for engineering officers, but the RAF rapidly came to master it and 
exploit its performance.

Through World War Two, the RAF dramatically expanded and the requirement for 
officer training increased accordingly. RAF Cranwell had to adapt to a new world of 
aviation as aircraft became faster and more powerful weapons, with the first jet 
fighters joining squadrons before the end of the war. Then, in 1946, the Services had 
to accept a dramatic reduction of funding, as an impoverished Britain concentrated on 
an escape from Empire. It was a much more demanding period of change than in 1919 
because, numerically, the RAF was still a monoplane propeller service at a time when 
jet aircraft were making prop planes obsolete and new weapons were becoming 
available. Once more industry had responded remarkably well and the British aviation 
industry continued to pioneer in the development of weapons and aircraft with both 
the US and USSR depending on British technology, in the latter case because the 
second British national socialist Government was more aligned to the Communists 
and happy to give Stalin technology that he was soon to turn against Anglo-American 

RAF Cranwell continued to adapt to the rapidly changing demands of funding, 
political interest, and international relations. as the Berlin Air Lift marked the start of 
the new world conflict, the Cold War, moving rapidly to the Korean War, the long 
succession of surrogate wars, and the withdrawal from the last colonies of the British 

The loss of national pride and the betrayal of Britain by its political classes saw the 
RAF having to adapt to the prospect of disappearing into a new German Empire as the 
Cold War came to an end. With Britain becoming increasingly Euro-sceptic, a new 
environment dominated by terrorism, and some large regional conflicts, presented 
new challenges which the RAF and its College RAF Cranwell had to respond to.

It has not ended there, with Britain on the verge of becoming once more a significant 
sovereign nation there will be new opportunities and new challenges. RAF Cranwell 
has to adapt once more. It has been a Century of interesting times. Looking forward, 
and RAF Cranwell has much to look forward to, it remains to be seen if a new Service 
will need to be created to support  the expansion of space exploration and all that that 
will entail. There is much to encourage the formation of a new service rather than 
'compensate' the RAF for the loss of its original primary mission of strategic bombing 
to the Royal Navy