RAF Cranwell proposes statue for ‘Father of the RAF’

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RAF Cranwell has submitted plans to commemorate the “Father of the Royal Air Force” and founder of the historic college at the base, Sir Hugh Trenchard, with a statue.

Proposals submitted to North Kesteven District Council would see a statue of Lord Trenchard erected at the base.

The proposed seven-foot, cast bronze sculpture would be mounted on a plinth and placed outside the RAF College Cranwell building.

Created by Vivian Mallock who produced the Royal Tank Regiment Memorial in London, the statue looks to commemorate the founder of the facility ahead of its centenary next year.

Lord Trenchard established the college in 1920 as part of his plans to expand the air force following the First World War.

The facility became the first military air academy in the world.

Officials at Cranwell said the sculpture would show Lord Trenchard “gazing proudly at his college”.

In the plans, RAF Cranwell said the statue would serve as an appropriate and “lasting form of recognition” to him.

It said: “During the lead up to the national celebration of the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018, it became clear that the Royal Air Force should celebrate the centenary of the college that had trained its leaders and commanders.

“Lord Trenchard is universally regarded as ‘The Father of the Royal Air Force’, and he is widely recognised as ‘The Founder of the Royal Air Force College’.

“It is therefore only right and proper that the Royal Air Force College should be custodian of a visible and outward sign of the esteem in which Trenchard is held, and a statue has been deemed to be the most appropriate and lasting form of recognition.”

Sir Hugh Trenchard

Known as the “Father of the Royal Air Force”, Lord Trenchard briefly served as the first Chief of the Air Staff in 1918.

He returned to the position in 1919 and became known for asserting the independence of the RAF in the face of defence spending cuts.

He accepted a reduction in the strength of the RAF following the First World War, but proposed an affordable future expansion of the force.

As part of the plans, Lord Trenchard set up the first military air academy at Cranwell in February 1920, which became the first of its kind in the world.

The facility aimed to teach cadets and pride itself on high standards and training.

In 1934, the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, opened College Hall at the base and the building was given Grade-II listed status in 1987.

The college is set to celebrate its centenary year in 2020.