Field Marshal J. M. Smuts


Sir Winston  Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA

Hugh  Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard



Former Chief of the Air Staff

Sir Dermot  Boyle, GCB, KCVO, KBE, AFC


ACM Sir Richard Johns GCB, KCVO, CBE


MRAF Sir Andrew Humphrey GCB, OBE, DFC, AFC & Two Bars. 1974-1976

ACM Percy Gardner, 5th Earl of Bandon GBE, CB, CVO, DSO

MRAF Sir Thomas Pike GCB, CBE, DFC & Bar, DL


ACM Sir Wallace Hart Kyle GC, KCVO, CBE, DSO, DFC

MRAF Sir Keith Williamson GCB, AFC


ACM Sir Michael  Graydon GCB, CBE.


MRAF Sir Arthur  Harris, 1st Baronet of Stowford


Air Commodore Richard Atcherley.  



Wg Cdr Hugh Malcolm VC

Group Captain Sir Douglas  Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, DL

Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle OM, KBE, CB, FRAeS.

ACM Sir Peter Squire GCB, DFC, AFC, DL.

Flight Lieutenant Bernard Glegg DFC

AVM Sir Charles Longcroft, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC

This portrait shows Lord Hugh Trenchard as Marshal of the Royal Air Force, often considered the “Father of the Royal Air Force”.

He is the officer who, on seeing the necessity for an independent Air Force during his time as commander of the RFC in France during the First World War, had the drive and determination to press his belief in the formation of the Royal Air Force and become the Service’s first Chief of the Air Staff in 1918.

He continued his unswerving commitment to the Royal Air Force until his death on 10th February 1956. In 2020 a statue to Lord Trenchard was sited at the front of the College.
Longcroft was the first Commandant of the RAF College and was selected by Trenchard to oversee the founding and development of the College.

It was “his” College that formed the basis of the College that we recognise today.
Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts – the Chairman of the Cabinet on Air Organisation in July 1917 – who, in simple terms, wrote the White Paper of the day that justified an independent air force. Info
As Secretary of State for Air from 1919-1920, it was Churchill who, with Trenchard’s assistance, persuaded the Prime Minister, David Lloyd-George that the Royal Air Force should remain an independent service from the Royal Navy and the British Army.Info
Malcolm was a Flight Cadet in 1936 and is currently the only former Cranwell Cadet to have been awarded the highest honour for valour, the Victoria Cross (VC). Malcolm was awarded the VC posthumously for his leadership, for his actions on three separate sorties and is the only RAF VC to have been won in the North African campaign. He commanded 18 Squadron who were a squadron of Blenheim Mk Vs during Operation TORCH in 1942 (the Allied Operation to occupy French North Africa.) Aged only 25, he led the squadron.Info
Gp Capt Sir Douglas Bader DS0* DFC* - Bader was a Flight Cadet 1928-1930. Bader is the famous WW2 flying ace who lost both his legs in a flying accident at RAF Woodley in December 1931 and was told he would never fly again! He was a fighter pilot who was shot down and became a POW. After moving around numerous POW camps and a couple of escape attempts and recapture, Bader was sent to Colditz and did not escape again. He retired from the RAF in 1946 as a highly decorated Group Captain with DSO* DFC* . Bader worked at Shell Petroleum Company, becoming Managing Director. Awarded a knighthood in 1976, he died in 1982. This painting was painted by Cuthbert Orde in 1946 and presented to the College by Shell Petroleum Company in 1947.Info
Air Cdre Sir Frank Whittle - Sir Frank Whittle was one of the last of the Boy Apprentices to transfer over to the"College in 1926, and was at the College 1926-1928. He won the academic prize in 1928 for his fourth term thesis entitled "Future Developments in Aircraft Design". His embryonic ideas for the jet engine. Prof Sinnatt, his tutor wrote in his character record which we hold in the archives "should ultimately specialise in engineering"! He was graded as an "Exceptional" pilot and has the distinction of being the first former Cranwell cadet to be knighted in 1948. In the early years of his re-search, Whittle received no government support, thereby relying on funding his research from his own pocket, and set up a company called "Powerjets Ltd". Sir franks Ashes are interred in the College Church of St Michael and All Angels.Info

Squadron Leader Arthur Gordon Jones-Williams OBE MC & Bar

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has continuously shown the utmost dash and gallantry in attacking superior numbers of hostile machines. On one occasion he attacked twelve hostile scouts and succeeded in destroying one and driving down another.” Between 14 April and 23 September 1917, Jones-Williams drove down, out of control, eight German Albatros fighter planes. After a spell in hospital, he returned to combat flying a Sopwith Camel for No. 65 Squadron. Between 5 September and 4 October 1918, he was credited with three more German Fokker D.VII fighters, bringing his total to eleven victories. After the War, Jones-Williams remained in the Royal Air Force, received the O.B.E. In June 1927, and was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1st January, 1928. He was a bachelor at the time of his death, during the second attempt to break the World Record for Long Distance flight with Norman Jenkins in the Fairey Monoplane.Info

Flight Lieutenant Henry Richard Danvers Waghorn AFC

Air Commodore Stephen Haistwell Hardy CBE

Air Marshal Sir John  Baldwin KBE, CB, DSO, DL


Marshal of the Royal Air Force Charles Portal, 1st Viscount of Hungerford, KG, GCB, OM, DSO & Bar, MC, DL


Flight Lieutenant Norman Hugh Jenkins OBE, DFC, DSM

Rear Admiral Sir Godfrey Marshall Paine KCB, MVO

Flying Officer Malcolm David Rainer DFC

Group Captain Peter Woodridge Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC & Bar



Following the outbreak of hostilities, Flying OfficerRainier proved he was able to undertake operational missions that demanded flying skills and tacticalawareness well above the level of competence that could be expected of someone with so little operational experience. Indeed, his professionalism, dedication and personal courage have been an example to older, more experienced pilots. Throughout the campaign he worked tirelessly for the benefit of the squadron and nothing was too difficult for him to tackle. He demonstrated an unfailing enthusiasm for work and constantly strove to improve his knowledge and operational capacity. He quickly became a highly respected member of his formation and the work he put into pre-planning war sorties was a major factor in the success of many missions. Indeed, on all of the 27 missions he flew during hostilities he showed great bravery and determination in fearlessly pressing home attacks despite heavy enemy anti-aircraft in fire and adverse weather conditions. Notably, on 19 January 1991, whilst taking part in a co-ordinated eight aircraft attack against two surface-to-air missile sites, his formation came under heavy anti-aircraft fire.Showing great presence of mind and undeterred by the obvious danger, Flying Officer Rainier promptly engaged this threat and scored a direct hit against the enemy position, eliminating the danger to the rest of the formation who were then able to safely attack their assigned targets. Flying Officer Rainier has proved to be a most capable pilot whose bravery, leadership and airmanship are in the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.Info
he following appreciation is taken from The Times:— To those who knew Air Commodore S. H. Hardy, C.B.E., who was appointed Commandant of the Officers' Advanced Training School at Cranwell in March, 1944, the news of his untimely death at the Royal Air Force Hospital, Rauceby, on 9 April, after an illness lasting several weeks, will have come as a great shock. During his 21 years' service Stephen Hardy, with his huge stature, became well known in the service, and wherever he went his pleasant personality endeared him to all. He had great faith in the future of the Royal Air Force, and his high ideals and personal example were always an inspiration to those who served with him. His good work during his last year at Cranwell had already made itself felt, and it came as no surprise to those who knew him when his ability and personal integrity were recognized by his appointment in October, 1944, as an additional Air Aide-de- Camp to the King. Stephen Hardy never spared himself where duty was concerned. It is true to say that but for his determination to carry on his important work at Cranwell, in spite of the fact that he knew he was a sick man, he might well have been alive to-day. Courteous, sincere, and charming, Stephen Hardy was a fine friend and an able officer whom the service could ill afford to lose at this time. His early death while still in his prime is a great loss to the Royal Air Force and to the many friends that he leaves behind. Info
By May 1940, Townsend was one of the most capable squadron leaders of the Battle of Britain, serving throughout the battle as CO of No. 85 Squadron RAF, flying Hawker Hurricanes. On 11 July 1940 Townsend, flying Hurricane VY-K (P2716) intercepted a Dornier Do 17 of KG 2 and severely damaged the bomber, forcing it to crash land at Arras. Return fire from the Dornier hit the Hurricane coolant system and Townsend was forced to ditch 20 miles from the English coast, being rescued by HM Trawler Cape Finisterre. On 31 August, during combat with Bf 110s over Tunbridge, Townsend was shot down and wounded in the left foot by a cannon shell which went through the glycol tank and exploded in the cockpit. He continued to lead the unit on the ground even after this wound resulted in his big toe being amputated, and he returned to operational flying on 21 September. A bar to his DFC was awarded in early September 1940. Info

Charles Prince of Wales


His Majesty King George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert)

Her Majesty Queen Mary (Mary of Teck)

His Royal Highness Prince Philip , Duke of Edinburgh

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary)


Air Commodore Richard Atcherley.  GCB, KCVO, CBE, DSO, DFC, KStJ.  

ACM Sir John Salmond


AVM A M Longmore CB DSO


IWM Interview
IWM Interview
IWM Interview