Royal Air Force Cranwell was first established in 1916 as the Royal Navy air training centre and airships were operational there until the end of World War I.

After the cessation of hostilities in November 1918, the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard was determined to maintain the Royal Air Force as an independent service rather than let the Army and Navy control air operations again. The establishment of an air academy, which would provide basic flying training, provide intellectual education and give a sense of purpose to the future leaders of the service was therefore a priority. Trenchard chose Cranwell as the College's location because, as he told his biographer:

"Marooned in the wilderness, cut off from pastimes they could not organise for themselves, the cadets would find life cheaper, healthier and more wholesome."


This celebratory website allows those of us privileged enough to be trained at the College to share something of its history, ethos and heritage. It is organised and managed by a small, but enthusiastic, group of 'Old Cranwellians' who would welcome your involvement as well as your interest.

Royal Air Force College Cranwell

The oldest military air academy in the world

Where possible we have attributed  photographs to the source where known. It is not our intention to breach any copyright as most of the pictures have been taken from open source media.

Revision Date 27 Sept 2017

..and celebrates a centenary of service in 2020 contact us

Lord Trenchard

The College opened in 1920...

The official Cranwellian Association website can be found at...







"The Air Service service still flourishes; its health depends on a secret elixir of immortality which enables a body to repair its severest losses. The name of that elixir is tradition." - Professor Sir Walter Raleigh

RAF Digby