128 The Story of the RAF Club
128 The Story of the RAF Club. Founded in 1918 by Lord Cowdray, the story of the Club over the past 100 years echoes that of the RAF itself. Authored by Air Commodore Henry Probert and Wing Commander Michael Gilbert.
Founded in 1918, at the same time as the RAF itself, the Club owes its existence to the vision of its greatest benefactor, the first Lord Cowdray. After explaining his all-important contribution, the book describes the Club as it existed in the inter-war and wartime years; the roles of key personalities including the legendary Colonel Bersey are discussed; and it steadily becomes clear afterwards that the management is ill-suited to face the pressing need to modernise and find the necessary money. By the 1960s bankruptcy threatens. The 'colonels' revolt' of the mid-1960s marks the turning point. The active support of the RAF top management is secured, a revolutionary new scheme soon brings the membership total from the 2-3000 of earlier years to some 20,000, and improved leadership and administration enable the Club to may for the many long-overdue repairs and improvements. Today, with the continuing extension of its many activities, together with its excellent decor and superb art collection, it not only serves its members but makes a great contribution to the image of the RAF.