Airfields and Airmen of the Channel Coast by Michael O'Connor

By Michael O'Connor

During this newest addition to the Airfields and Airmen sequence, Mike OConnor describes the dramatic air activities that came about alongside the Belgian and North France beach through the nice War.In addition to the Royal battling Corps and RAF element this quantity covers the Royal Naval Air provider (RNAS) and Belgian Air carrier (AMB) in addition to the German Naval Air provider.

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The main feature was to be the establishment of an independent air service by the amalgamation of the RFC and RNAS into a single force, the Royal Air Force, on 1 April 1918. One of the main driving forces during this process was Lieutenant General Sir David Henderson. There was much grumbling from the independent RNAS concerning the loss of their naval terminology and tradition, but nevertheless it worked and many ex-RNAS officers reached the highest ranks of the RAF. Germany Zeppelins and balloons The German experience in many ways was similar to the British, though they utilized airships, particularly the rigid Zeppelin type, to a much greater degree.

Apprenticed to the merchant marine, he joined the India Steam Navigation Company and was in Canada awaiting a return to India when war was declared. Warneford sailed for Britain and joined the army but almost straight away transferred to the RNAS for pilot training. Initial tuition was carried out at Hendon and after further tutelage at Upavon he gained his Royal Aero Club certificate, No. 1098, on 25 February 1915. The Commander of Naval Air Stations was Commander R M Groves, known as ‘The Crasher’ due to the unfortunate frequency with which he smashed aeroplanes.

In particular the RFC spotted von Kluck’s attempt to outflank the British Expeditionary Force and the signal was taken personally by Henderson to British Headquarters. After the Battle of the Marne and the so-called ‘Race to the Sea’ the RFC moved north with the rest of the British Army and set up headquarters at St Omer, where they soon settled into the pattern that would remain for the rest of the war. With the advent of static trench warfare the style of operation involved mapping enemy trench systems and fortifications, ranging artillery using wireless, photography and bombing.

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