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“The Cavalry of the Clouds” – David Lloyd George and the formation of the Royal Air Force

January 24, 2018 5:01 PM

RAFThe Royal Air Force was founded towards the end of the First World War, in April 1918. Lloyd George was of course prime minister and he was a highly appreciative of the military worth of the existing air forces and strongly supported the formation on a separate, independent service. In a real sense the RAF is part of Lloyd Geoprge's legacy.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF and Lloyd George's role in it, a ceremony was held at the Lloyd George Museum in Llanystumdwy, including a fly-past of RAF aircraft and an exhibition. In addition a memorial book and a special garden have been opened.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier commented "It was a "great privilege" to commemorate Lloyd George's important role in the force's creation at the event near Criccieth. Prime Minister Lloyd George was a great wartime leader and achieved many things in his political career. His role in the creation of the RAF, which is the world's first independent Air Force, is a further important achievement that deserves to be recognised."

In the House of Commons on Monday 29 October 1917 Ll.G, as prime minister, moved a motion of thanks to all the members of the armed services in the war. In the section of his speech concerning the air force he said:

"The heavens are their battlefield. They are the Cavalry of the Clouds. High above the squalor and the mud, so high in the firmament that they are not visible from earth, they fight out the eternal issues of right and wrong. They are struggling there by day, yea and by night in that titanic conflict between the great foes of light and of darkness. They fight the foe high up and they fight low down. They skim like armed swallows along the front, taking in their flights men armed with rifle and machine gun. They scatter infantry on the march, they destroy convoys, the scatter dismay. Every flight is romance, every record is an epic. They are the knight errants of this war, without fear and without reproach. They recall the old legends of chivalry, not merely by the daring of individual exploits, but by the nobility of their spirit and amongst the multitudes of heroes, we must continuously thank the cavalry of the air."

You can read more about the ceremony at Lloyd George's boyhood home at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-42655876