Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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HQ Unit on board HMS Courageous


[Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1930 | Jul 1931 | Jul 1932 | Jul 1933 | Jul 1934 | Jul 1935 | Jul 1936 | Jul 1937 | Jul 1938 | Jan 1939 | Apr 1939 | May 1939]

With the formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918, all British military and naval aircraft came under its control.  This included all aircraft operated from ships of the Royal Navy, leading to the situation whereby the air and ground crews on board these ships were members of the RAF and the crews of the ships were members of the Royal Navy.  Effectively the small RAF staffs on board the ship operated in much the same way as the staff at a shore based RAF station, the airfield being the flight deck of the carrier.   Whilst on board ship the RAF personnel were subject to Naval discipline under the jurisdiction of the ship's captain, the senior RAF officer acting as the captain's air advisor. 

Initially a number of squadrons were allocated to man the carriers these being No 3 Squadron, No 203 Squadron, No 210 Squadron and No 205 Squadron but on 1 April the RAF formed the Fleet Air Arm of The RAF and these squadrons were split up into a series of smaller Flights numbered in the 400 series.

Originally laid down at the Armstrong-Whitworth yard in Newcastle upon Tyne on 28 March 1915 as a battlecruiser, it was launched on 5 February 1916 and commissioned on 4 November.  Following the Armistice it was placed on reserve in 1919 and then used as a turret drill ship at Portsmouth.  It as moved to Devonport in June 1924 for conversion to fleet carrier, being commissioned on 21 February 1928.  It was lost on 17 September 1939 after being torpedoed by the U-29 off the west coast of Ireland.

The HQ Unit was formed on 21 February 1928 and presumably disbanded on the transfer of the FAA to the Royal Navy in 1939.

July 1928

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 404 Flight

  • No 407 Flight

  • No 445 Flight

  • No 446 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Robert Leckie

21 Feb 1928 DSO, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Siegfried R Watkins 21 Feb 1928 AFC
Flt Lt David Drover 11 Apr 1928 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Edgar T Carpenter 21 Feb 1928 Signal duties, AFC
Flt Lt Adrian W Franklyn 21 Feb 1928 Armament duties, MC
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank E Shersby

22 Feb 1928

 

Source - Air Force List July 1928

September 1928

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 404 Flight

  • No 407 Flight

  • No 445 Flight

  • No 446 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Robert Leckie

21 Feb 1928 DSO, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Siegfried R Watkins 21 Feb 1928 AFC
Flt Lt David Drover 11 Apr 1928 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Edgar T Carpenter 21 Feb 1928 Signal duties, AFC
Flt Lt Adrian W Franklyn 21 Feb 1928 Armament duties, MC
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank E Shersby

22 Feb 1928

 

Source - September 1928 Air Force List

July 1929

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 404 Flight

  • No 407 Flight

  • No 445 Flight

  • No 446 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Robert Leckie

21 Feb 1928 DSO, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr

Richard G Gardner

 1 Apr 1929 DSC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt David Drover 11 Apr 1928 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Edgar T Carpenter 21 Feb 1928 Signal duties, AFC
Flt Lt Adrian W Franklyn 21 Feb 1928 Armament duties, MC
Fg Off Alexander H Montgomery 24 Aug 1928 later A/Cdre
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank E Shersby

22 Feb 1928

 

Source - Air Force List July 1929

July 1930

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No unit allocated

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Raymond Collishaw  2 Aug 1929 DSO, OBE, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank E Shersby

22 Feb 1928

 

Source - Air Force List July 1930

No 449 Flight served aboard from September 1930 until May 1931.

July 1931

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 401 Flight

  • No 404 Flight

  • No 407 Flight

  • No 445 Flight

  • No 450 Flight

  • No 446 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Raymond Collishaw  2 Aug 1929 DSO, OBE, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Albert Durston 31 Mar 1931 AFC; later AM
Flt Lt Cuthbert C Bazell 20 Jan 1930 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Roland A R Mangles 12 Aug 1930 Armament duties
Flt Lt Frank H Whitmore 15 Apr 1929 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Fg Off

Walter K Beisiegel

17 Apr 1931 later A/Cdre
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank E Shersby

22 Feb 1928

 

 Source - Air Force List July 1931

No 442 Flight served aboard from October 1931 until March 1932.

July 1932

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 401 Flight

  • No 404 Flight

  • No 407 Flight

  • No 445 Flight

  • No 450 Flight

  • No 446 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Raymond Collishaw  2 Aug 1929 DSO, OBE, DSC, DFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Albert Durston 31 Mar 1931 AFC; later AM
Flt Lt Cuthbert C Bazell 20 Jan 1930 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Robert J Montgomery-Moore 29 Mar 1932 Adjutant
Flt Lt Roland A R Mangles 12 Aug 1930 Armament duties
Flt Lt Frank H Whitmore 15 Apr 1929 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Fg Off

Walter K Beisiegel

17 Apr 1931 later A/Cdre
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Eric L Ridley

 4 Sep 1931

later A/Cdre

Source - Air Force List July 1932

July 1933

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Leonard H Slatter 22 Aug 1932 OBE, DSC, DFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr Hedley V Drew 23 Dec 1932 OBE, AFC
Flt Lt Robert J Montgomery-Moore 29 Mar 1932 Adjutant
Flt Lt Roland A R Mangles 12 Aug 1930 Armament duties
Flt Lt Frank H Whitmore 15 Apr 1929 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Frank W Foster 30 Jun 1932 Signal duties, DFC, DSM
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Eric L Ridley

 4 Sep 1931

later A/Cdre
Warrant Officer
WO II Frederick Stevens

30 Oct 1931

 

 

Source - Air Force List July 1933

July 1934

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 823 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Leonard H Slatter 22 Aug 1932 OBE, DSC, DFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr Hedley V Drew 23 Dec 1932 OBE, AFC
Sqn Ldr Tom O Clogstoun  7 Jul 1933 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Alfred D Rogers 12 Feb 1934 Adjutant, AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Joseph C C Slater 18 Dec 1933 Armament duties
Flt Lt Frank W Foster 30 Jun 1932 Signal duties, DFC, DSM
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Hugh J Young

15 Aug 1933

 
Warrant Officer
WO II Frederick Stevens

30 Oct 1931

 

 

Source - Air Force List July 1934

July 1935

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

Source - Air Force List July 1935

No 822B Squadron served aboard from August to September 1935.  From September 1935 until February 1936 it served with the Mediterranean Fleet

July 1936

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Brian E Baker 23 May 1935 DSO, MC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr Tom O Clogstoun  7 Jul 1933 Engineer duties
Sqn Ldr J H F Burroughs  5 Feb 1936 Lt Cdr, RN
Flt Lt Joseph C C Slater 18 Dec 1933 Armament duties
Flt Lt D V Ivins  6 Apr 1936 Adjutant
Flt Lt Frank W Foster 30 Jun 1932 Signal duties, DFC, DSM
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Hugh J Young

15 Aug 1933

 
Warrant Officer
WO F Gostelow 30 Mar 1936  

Source - Air Force List July 1936

July 1937

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr E W Anstice  1 Jul 1936 Cdr, RN
Wg Cdr R St A Malleson  1 Jun 1937 Cdr, RN, AFC
Sqn Ldr J C Brooke  6 Jul 1936 Engineer duties, DSC
Sqn Ldr J H F Burroughs  5 Feb 1936 Lt Cdr, RN
Flt Lt Frank W Foster 30 Jun 1932 Signal duties, DFC, DSM
Flt Lt

Peter D Cracroft

 5 Jul 1936 Adjutant? AFC; later AVM
Flt Lt M F D Williams 18 Jan 1937 Armament duties
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt P Alderson 15 Jul 1936  
Warrant Officer
WO F Gostelow 30 Mar 1936  

Source - Air Force List July 1937

July 1938

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 800 Squadron

  • No 810 Squadron

  • No 820 Squadron

  • No 821 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr E W Anstice  1 Jul 1936 Cdr, RN
Wg Cdr R St A Malleson  1 Jun 1937 Cdr, RN, AFC
Sqn Ldr J C Brooke  6 Jul 1936 Engineer duties, DSC
Flt Lt Frank W Foster 30 Jun 1932 Signal duties, DFC, DSM
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt P Alderson 15 Jul 1936  
Warrant Officer
WO F Gostelow 30 Mar 1936  

Source - Air Force List July 1938

January 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
Wg Cdr J Noakes 12 Dec 1938 AFC, MM
Act Wg Cdr J H F Burroughs  5 Feb 1936 Lt Cdr, RN
Sqn Ldr A O Molesworth 12 Dec 1938 Armament duties
Flt Lt M F D Williams 18 Jan 1937 Armament duties
Fg Off R N Lambert 12 Dec 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Sqn Ldr E F Smith 14 Oct 1937  
Flt Lt Roland G Seymour

 12 Dec 1938?

later A/Cdre
Warrant Officer
WO F Gostelow 30 Mar 1936  

Source - Air Force List January 1939

April 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
Wg Cdr J Noakes 12 Dec 1938 AFC, MM
Sqn Ldr A O Molesworth 12 Dec 1938 Armament duties
Fg Off R N Lambert 12 Dec 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Sqn Ldr E F Smith 14 Oct 1937  
Flt Lt Roland G Seymour

 12 Dec 1938?

later A/Cdre
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off F Stevens    
Commissioned Signals Officer
Fg Off F H V Gould    
Warrant Officer
WO E G Cheesman 12 Dec 1938  

Source - Confidential Air Force List April 1939

May 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
Wg Cdr J Noakes 12 Dec 1938 AFC, MM
Sqn Ldr A O Molesworth 12 Dec 1938 Armament duties
Fg Off R N Lambert 12 Dec 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Roland G Seymour

 12 Dec 1938?

later A/Cdre
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off F Stevens    
Commissioned Signals Officer
Fg Off F H V Gould    
Warrant Officer
WO E G Cheesman 12 Dec 1938  

Source - Confidential Air Force List May 1939

[Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1930 | Jul 1931 | Jul 1932 | Jul 1933 | Jul 1934 | Jul 1935 | Jul 1936 | Jul 1937 | Jul 1938 | Jan 1939 | Apr 1939 | May 1939]

This page was last updated on 15/01/18

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