The original score was completed by Sir Henry Walford Davies in 1918 for the new RAF; it combined the rhythm of the bugle call of the Royal Flying Corps with that of the Royal Naval Air Service. The call appears in both the introduction and the coda. The second part of the march past, the trio, was composed by Sir George Dyson.
The march can be played both as a slow march and a quick march, and has been used as both when the Queen's Colour Squadron and RAF Central Band perform public duties such as mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Authority was granted in February 1943, by His Majesty's Stationery Office to publish the "RAF March Past" piece in Canada under the title "RCAF March Past". It was the official march of the Royal Canadian Air Force until the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968. It is currently the authorized march of both Air Command and the Air Operations Branch of the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and the Air Force Association of Canada. A pipe band arrangement was composed in the 1950s by Pipe Major A. R. Howie of the CFB Trenton Pipe Band, and a trio for pipes was composed in 1970 by Pipe Major Archie Cairns. Since 1978, Canada's version has been known as just the "Air Force March Past".