Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school and was greatly affected by his solicitor-father's bankruptcy when he was 16. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, but he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912. Although he was an indifferent pilot, he was quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflict. His rapid rise to commander of the RFC in France after the outbreak of the First World War was marked by a series of bitter disagreements with other senior officers he either didn't like or didn't trust. Through persistence and hard work he led his political masters by the nose to secure the future of the RAF as an independent force after the war, in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admirality and the War Office, and eventually became the first Marshal of the Royal Air Force
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