Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Military Insignia 3D: Royal Air Force Badge

"Military Insignia 3D" project, slowly but surely, keeps reaching across the pond. This time around it was the British Royal Air Force badge, which I just managed to finish. There were several versions of the badge issued over the years, but I decided to use the official version of the design, registered with the College of Arms in 1923, as my reference point. Badges of all the rest of Commonwealth Air Forces derived from this particular design.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. The RAF has taken a significant role in British military history, playing a large part in the Second World War and in more recent conflicts. The RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which are to "provide the capabilities needed: to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security."

Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps also deliver air power which is integrated into the maritime, littoral and land environments.

The professional head of the RAF is the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). The CAS heads the Air Force Board, which is a committee of the Defence Council. The Air Force Board is the management board of the RAF and consists of the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command, together with several other high ranking officers. The CAS also has a deputy known as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (ACAS).

At an Air Council meeting on 1 August 1918, a badge for adoption by the Royal Air Force was approved. The badge adopted was similar in design to the one used today with the exception that the circlet surrounding the eagle comprised a garter and a buckle. The badge was not submitted at any time to the King or to the College of Arms for approval. The official design was registered with the College of Arms in 1923.

In May 1925, the College of Arms was asked to prepare colored sketches of the badge, it being specified that while the details of the approved badge should stand, any modification of mere drawing, e.g. the eagle's body and the sprig of laurel, could be left to them [the College]. The College of Arms produced a color drawing which was placed on file. The question of improving the badge was again raised in May 1941, the feeling being that a more war-like eagle might perhaps be adopted. However, nothing was changed. So far as can be determined, the design registered with the College of Arms in 1923 is still the official badge of the Royal Air Force, and although a version in heraldic colors (with some artistic license) was produced in 1925 (mainly in connection with Royal Air Force drums), it seems never to have been intended that it should replace the original black and white drawing, except, perhaps where it was necessary to produce a badge in color.

Although there may be papers in existence which may be at variance with this view, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the badge now produced on Air Ministry Orders is the official badge of the Royal Air Force.

As always, the above insignia is available on a number of high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries on Simply follow the links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries. 

will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any military units and personnel, to be used for the purpose of any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families. I will also make my designs available free of charge to any military branches, formations and units for any non-commercial internal duty-specific purposes, such as unit-related web design, training materials or presentations, as I have done on a number of occasions.

The above information provided in part by The Royal Air Force portal of MOD, Wikipedia and several other RAF-related websites and printed materials.

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