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The Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force (G.B.)

The Royal Air Force (G.B.) Pipes and Drums


Until 2004, the bands had different tartans representing their individual Stations. Although King George V granted permission for the Royal Air Force to wear Grey Douglas in 1933, the bands over the years all used their respective Station tartans. For the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2004, bandsmen from the RAF pipe bands were issued with the R.A.F. Tartan for the first time.


From Left to Right: Grey Douglas Tartan, W.W.2 R.A.F. Badge and Modern R.A.F. Tartan

During the Second World War there were at least two known R.A.F. pipe Bands in Scotland; one in Edinburgh, of The City of Edinburgh Bomber Squadron, and also one in Glasgow: of the 602 City of Glasgow Bomber Squadron.


From Left to Right the badges of: the City of Edinburgh Bomber Squadron and the 602 City of Glasgow Bomber Squadron

The Royal Canadian Air Force

The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the airforce was created as the Canadian Air Force (C.A.F.) In 1924 the C.A.F. was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F) when it was granted the royal title by King George V. 

The Second World War

A Second World War Royal Canadian Air Force Badge


The Royal Canadian Air Force Pipe Band on the march (Source: LAC)

This is how the Royal Canadian Air Force Pipe Band's Sporrans look today.


The outbreak of the Second World War saw the R.C.A.F. fielding eight of its eleven permanent operational squadrons, but by October 1939 15 squadrons were available (12 for homeland defence, three for overseas service). Twenty types of aircraft were in service at this point, over half being for training or transport, and the R.C.A.F. started the war with only 29 front-line fighter and bomber aircraft. The R.C.A.F. reached peak strength of 215,000 (all ranks) in January 1944. By the end of the war the R.C.A.F. would be the fourth largest Allied air force. Approximately 13,000 R.C.A.F. personnel were killed while on operations or died as prisoners of war. Another 4000 died during training or from other causes.

During the war, the R.C.A.F. was involved in three areas: the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (B.C.A.T.P.), home defence, and overseas operations.

The  Royal Canadian Air Force Tartan

A post-W.W.2 Royal Canadian Air Force Piper