The Independent Force, Royal Air Force
Early efforts at a strategic bombing campaign by units of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps led to the creation of the Independent Force, Royal Air Force on 6 June 1918. Made up of both day and night bombing squadrons, the Independent Force was based in the Metz-Nancy region, well to the south of the British sector of the Western Front.
Its main targets were strategically-important railway and industrial centres between Strasbourg in the south and Koblenz in the north although other targets, such as enemy airfields, were also struck.
Major-General Hugh Trenchard was placed in command of the Independent Force and he ordered his headquarters staff to keep records of the operations flown. These records were passed to the Royal Air Force Staff College after the death of Lord Trenchard in 1956. The Independent Force collection held in the JSCSC Library consists of documents showing statistical results, analysis of raids, organization charts, maps and photographs of many of the targets. This collection is of national importance as it consists of unique documents that were made especially for the use of Trenchard and his staff and which were used to explain and justify the existence of this prototype strategic bombing force.