RAF Police: Operations in Europe 1918-2005

Woodfield Publishing Ltd
ISBN 1-84683-019-2
RAF History
  • softback binding
  • large format 290 x 205 mm
  • 270 pages
  • 220,000 words
  • many b/w photos
by Stephen R Davies
A record of RAF Police activities in Europe since the formation of the Provost Marshal's Branch in 1918

This informative book traces the development of RAF Police and describes in detail the wide ranging operations undertaken by this highly specialised branch of the Royal Air Force within Europe since 1918.

Following the formation of the RAF in 1918, the new service remained dependent upon Army military police skills but in 1919 the transfer of responsibility for policing RAF units to the RAF Police was authorised and the last Army officer at the Air Ministry responsible for police matters was replaced by an RAF Officer. In 1931, the office of Provost Marshal (RAF) & Chief of Air Force Police was officially approved by King George V.

During World War II the RAF Police rapidly expanded to support war operations in the UK, Iceland and the Açores. They formed part of the British Expedtionary Force into France and were later deployed onto the Normandy beaches on D-Day to help liberate Europe from the Nazi regime. In late 1944 they became caught up in the Greek civil war, and at the end of hostilities the RAF Police had 21,000 men and women serving within its ranks.

On the 1st July 1947, with the subsequent growth of the officer corps, the Provost Branch was formally constituted by His Majesty, King George VI. In 1949 the RAF Police successfully concluded an investigation into the murder, by the Gestapo in 1944, of 50 RAF officers who took part in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III. In September 1950, the King approved a badge for the RAF Police, with the motto, Fiat Justitia; freely translated as Let justice be done. Indeed, the RAF Police is the only RAF trade to receive the honour of having its own badge approved by the Monarch. Throughout the period of the Cold War the RAF Police were responsible for safeguarding nuclear weapons deployed on standby by the RAF. The RAF Police have supported operations in Northern Ireland and NATO and UN operations in the troubled Balkans.

Written by Stephen R Davies, who served with the RAF Police for 25 years, this enjoyable book is illustrated with many photographs, and enlivened by many first-hand accounts from former and serving members of the branch. This easily readable book is full of interesting facts and is certain to be of great interest to those who served in the RAF Police. However, there is also much to be enjoyed by anyone with a general interest in the RAF or modern military or European history.