On 31st March 1921, the Australian Air Force was formed, with its 'Royal' prefix receiving approval by King George V in June, with effect from August. The second oldest independent Air Force in the world, the RAAF was formed from the Australian Air Corps which had replaced the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1920.

Active throughout both wars – initially as the Australian Flying Corps, then as the RAAF – the Australian Air Force had over 182,000 personnel and 6,200 aircraft in 61 squadrons by 1944, and by 1945 it had become the fourth largest air force in the world. Today the RAAF employs roughly 14,000 men and women, supported by 4,000 Air Force Reservists and 800 civilian public servants at a range of offices and 11 major bases across Australia.

The below photograph, taken in late 1942, shows a Beaufighter Aircraft of No. 3 Squadron RAAF (pilot flying officer: R. J. Brazenor; observer: Sergeant F. B. Anderson) in flight close to a rocky outrop in a valley in the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea during an operation. The photograph was taken by Sergeant W. B. Ball in an accompanying Beaufighter. (Sourced from http://www.awm.gov.au/database/collection.asp / Australian War Memorial (AWM) catalog number OG0001)


To read more about the Beaufighter and the pilots that flew them, take a look at Andrew Thomas'  Beaufighter Aces of World War 2which features full-colour profile views by John Weal.  

 The image can be found here.