Before the start of World War One it was not widely believed that aircraft would ever play a large part in such a conflict. Though the Royal Flying Corps had been using hot air balloons for observation purposes for almost a century the war soon developed into the worst conflict ever and the need for air supremacy became clear.
As the role of aircraft grew so did the demands put on the pilots. Flying over battlefields, duelling over the trenches of the Somme or carrying out supply missions the pilots risked their lives constantly. In 1918 the Royal Air Corps became the Royal Air Force and has defended the skies ever since.
This Brilliant Uncirculated £2 coin, endorsed by the Imperial War Museum, is part of the series commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One. The bold design depicts a pilot and observer on a reconnaissance mission over the Battle of Arras in 1917. The land below the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 is shown as a map illustrating the importance pilots played in creating reliable maps.