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Number 1 Wing of the Royal Air Force was a wing of aircraft squadrons which was originally established as the First Wing of the Royal Flying Corps.

World War I

By November 1914 the Flying Corps had significantly expanded and it was felt necessary to create organizational units which would control collections of squadrons. Accordingly, the First Wing and the Second Wing were established. These two wings came into existence on 29 November 1914 and were the earliest RFC numbered wings to be formed. The wing's first commander was Hugh Trenchard who had been appointed a few days earlier.

The 1st Wing was assigned to the support of the 1st Army in France. The wing saw action on the Western Front, including at the Battle of Aubers Ridge.[1]. It was stood down on 5 March 1919.[2]

Inter-war activity

During the years between the First and Second World Wars, No. 1 Wing was re-established and disestablished several times for several purposes. Only two months after its disbandment, the wing was re-established at Yatesbury on 15 May 1919. The wing was subsequently disbanded and was not re-established for the second time until 1 January 1926 which it acted as an Army Co-operation unit, controlling No. 4 Squadron and No. 13 Squadron whilst itself being subordinate to 7 Group RAF. This establishment was short-lived and the wing was stood down on 12 April 1926. The next period of the wing's existence came in 1937. On 23 September 1937 the wing was re-created, this time controlling No. 209 Squadron and No. 210 Squadron which acted in the general reconnaissance role during the Spanish Civil War. Specifically, the wing was part of an Anglo-French force charged with countering submarine attacks on neutral shipping. The wing was disestablished later that year on 15 December 1937.[3]

World War II

No. 1 Wing was re-established once more just before the outbreak of World War II.


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  • Late 1917 Lieutenant-Colonel T W C Carthew[3]
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