The Royal Observer Corps Association


The Royal Observer Corps Association is proud to add its congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Her Majesty assumed the position of Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Observer Corps following her coronation in 1953, a position originally taken by her father King George VI in April 1950 in recognition of the Corps’ record of service during the first 25 years of its existence. Following the creation of the Royal Observer Corps Association in the late 1980s, Her Majesty kindly consented to becoming its Patron.

Formed in 1925 to collect and report movement of hostile and friendly aircraft, the Observer Corps rapidly developed an efficient network of monitoring posts. By 1940 with radar in its infancy the Corps became the eyes and ears for the Royal Air Force. The volunteer Observer’s skill in aircraft recognition provided the only means of tracking enemy raids, once they had crossed the coast, and saved many of our returning RAF crews. The Corps proved its’ worth in the Battle of Britain. In recognition of ‘the valuable service rendered by the Observer Corps over a number of years’ King George VI granted the title “Royal” in 1941.

From 1955 the Corps was given the vital task to gather nuclear data to report to all three Services. It was the only organisation to monitor the threat of nuclear radiation for the civilian authorities to provide early warning and protection for the general public. This task remained its prime role until September 1991 when the lessening threat to the United Kingdom resulted in the stand-down of the main force of the Corps.

16 ROC NBC Cells (Nuclear Biological and Chemical) continued to provide information to the three Armed Services until the threat to the UK was deemed to have reduced in 1995. Nationally, between its creation in 1925 and final stand-down on 31 December 1995, over 200,000 freely served their country in war and peacetime.

The Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund continues to provide help and relief for former members in need, hardship or distress. Contact the ROCBF at

The Royal Observer Corps Association was formed in 1986 bringing together former members of the Royal Observer Corps. Full membership is open to all who served and Associate membership to people who are sympathetic to the aims of the ROC Association.

Jenny Morris,

National Secretary ROC Association –