Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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HQ Unit on board HMS Eagle


[May 1924 | Jan 1925 | Feb 1925 | Mar 1925 | Apr 1925 | May 1925 | Jun 1925 | Jul 1925 | Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1930 | Aug 1930 | Sep 1930 | Oct 1930 | Nov 1930 | Dec 1930 | Jul 1933 | Jan 1934 | Jul 1934 | 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.  With the transfer of the FAA to the Admiralty in July 1939, RAF HQ Units in carriers ceased to exist, with most of the posts being taken over by naval officers, although some RAF personnel continued to be seconded to the Royal Navy for some time.

HMS Eagle was originally laid down on 20 February 1913 at the Armstrong-Whitworth yard in Newcastle upon Tyne as the battleship, Almirante Cochrane for the Chilean Navy but its construction was suspended in 1914.  It was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1918 and was launched on 8 June 1918 and was commissioned for trials on 6 April 1920 with flying trials beginning in June.  In February 1921 it moved to Portsmouth to be completed as a fleet carrier being commissioned on 26 February 1924.  It was transferred to the reserve on 31 May 1935 but was refitted in 1936 and recommissioned on 21 January 1937.  She later took part in the delivery of RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires to Malta but was sunk on 11 August 1942 by the U-73 whilst escorting the convoy to Malta during Operation Pedestal.

The HQ Unit embarked for the first time on 3 May 1924, closing on 30 May 1931.  It reformed on 1 February 1933 ceasing to exist on 20 May 1935.  The initial staffing for this unit was assembled at RAF Base Calshot from 1 May 1923

May 1924

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet (en-route) Coastal Area
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 422 Flight

  • No 440 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr William L Welsh 26 Feb 1924 DSC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr Edward R Pretyman 26 Feb 1924 AFC
Flt Lt Dudley K Cameron 26 Feb 1924  
Fg Off Bertram I Carter 26 Feb 1924  
Fg Off Henry W Beck 26 Feb 1924  
Stores Branch
Fg Off John G Smithson 26 Feb 1924  

Source - Air Force List May 1924

January 1925

Source - January 1925 Air Force List

February 1925

Source - February 1925 Air Force List

March 1925

Source - March 1925 Air Force List

April 1925

Source - April 1925 Air Force List

May 1925

Source - May 1925 Air Force List

June 1925

Source - June 1925 Air Force List

July 1925

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet (en-route) RAF Mediterranean
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 422 Flight

  • No 440 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Edward Osmond 19 Feb 1925 CBE
Sqn Ldr Edward R Pretyman 26 Feb 1924 AFC
Flt Lt Walter G Preston 26 May 1924  
Fg Off Bertram I Carter 26 Feb 1924  
Fg Off Henry W Beck 26 Feb 1924  
Stores Branch
Fg Off John G Smithson 26 Feb 1924  

Source - Air Force List July 1925

March 1926

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet (en-route) RAF Mediterranean
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 422 Flight

  • No 440 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Edward Osmond 19 Feb 1925 CBE
Sqn Ldr William B Callaway  4 Feb 1926 AFC; later AVM
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926  
Fg Off George A R Muschamp 16 Jul 1925  
Fg Off William C P Bullock 20 Jan 1926  
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frederick Petch 28 Jan 1926 OBE
Fg Off John G Smithson 26 Feb 1924  

Source - March 1926 Air Force List

July 1926

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 440 Flight

  • No 441 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Edward Osmond 19 Feb 1925 CBE
Sqn Ldr William B Callaway  4 Feb 1926 AFC; later AVM
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926  
Fg Off George A R Muschamp 16 Jul 1925  
Fg Off William C P Bullock 20 Jan 1926  
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frederick Petch 28 Jan 1926 OBE

Source - Air Force List July 1926

December 1926

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 423 Flight

  • No 441 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Edward Osmond 19 Feb 1925 CBE
Sqn Ldr Charles O F Modin 30 Sep 1926 DSC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926 Signal duties
Fg Off George A R Muschamp 16 Jul 1925 Engineer duties
Fg Off William C P Bullock 20 Jan 1926 Armament duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frederick Petch 28 Jan 1926 OBE

Source - December 1926 Air Force List

July 1927

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 421B Flight

  • No 423 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Edward Osmond 19 Feb 1925 CBE
Sqn Ldr Charles O F Modin 30 Sep 1926 DSC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926 Signal duties
Fg Off George A R Muschamp 16 Jul 1925 Engineer duties
Fg Off William C P Bullock 20 Jan 1926 Armament duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Harry J Barnham  8 Feb 1927  

 

Source - Air Force List July 1927

July 1928

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 423 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Roger M Field  9 Mar 1928  
Sqn Ldr Charles O F Modin 30 Sep 1926 DSC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926 Signal duties, DFC
Fg Off Kenneth A B Hutson 12 Aug 1927 Engineer duties, Lt (E), RN
Fg Off Miles H Garnons-Williams  9 Mar 1928 Armament duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Harry J Barnham  8 Feb 1927  

Source - Air Force List July 1928

September 1928

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 423 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Roger M Field  9 Mar 1928  
Sqn Ldr Charles O F Modin 30 Sep 1926 DSC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926 Signal duties, DFC
Flt Lt Miles H Garnons-Williams  9 Mar 1928 Armament duties
Fg Off Kenneth A B Hutson 12 Aug 1927 Engineer duties, Lt (E), RN
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Harry J Barnham  8 Feb 1927  

Source - September 1928 Air Force List

July 1929

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 448 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Roger M Field  9 Mar 1928  
Sqn Ldr Robert Halley 27 Oct 1928 DFC, AFC
Flt Lt Bertrand A Malet 27 Jan 1926 Signal duties, DFC
Fg Off William H Everton  1 Sep 1928 Engineer duties
Fg Off Miles H Garnons-Williams  9 Mar 1928 Armament duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Harry J Barnham  8 Feb 1927  

Source - Air Force List July 1929

July 1930

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No 402 Flight

  • No 448 Flight

  • No 460 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Roger M Field  9 Mar 1928  
Sqn Ldr Robert Halley 27 Oct 1928 DFC, AFC
Flt Lt Eric Burton 23 Apr 1930 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Brian A S Lewin  1 Jun 1929 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Adrian W Franklyn 13 Jan 1930 Armament duties, MC
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Horatio Sleigh  1 Mar 1930  

Source - Air Force List July 1930

August 1930

Source - August 1930 Air Force List

September 1930

Source - September 1930 Air Force List

October 1930

Source - October 1930 Air Force List

November 1930

Source - November 1930 Air Force List

December 1930

Source - December 1930 Air Force List

July 1931

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No unit shown

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Roger M Field  9 Mar 1928  
Sqn Ldr Robert Halley 27 Oct 1928 DFC, AFC
Flt Lt James A W Binnie 15 Aug 1930 Armament duties
Flt Lt Eric Burton 23 Apr 1930 Engineer duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Horatio Sleigh  1 Mar 1930  

It underwent a refit in Devonport from 8 May 1931 and was paid off for a major refit on 24 August 1931.  It was recommissioned on 28 March 1933.

Source - Air Force List July 1931

July 1933

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 803 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

  • No 825 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr James M Robb 12 Feb 1933 DSO, DFC; later ACM
Sqn Ldr Percy J Barnett  1  Feb 1933 Armament duties
Flt Lt James H Winch  2 Apr 1933 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Patrick J A Hume-Wright  1 Feb 1933 Adjutant
Flt Lt John W Gillan  6 Mar 1933 Signal duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Maurice H Jenks  1 Feb 1933  

Source - Air Force List July 1933

January 1934

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 803 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr James M Robb 12 Feb 1933 DSO, DFC; later ACM
Sqn Ldr Percy J Barnett  1  Feb 1933 Armament duties
Flt Lt James H Winch  2 Apr 1933 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Patrick J A Hume-Wright  1 Feb 1933 Adjutant
Flt Lt John W Gillan  6 Mar 1933 Signal duties
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Maurice H Jenks  1 Feb 1933  

Source - January 1934 Air Force List

July 1934

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 803 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr James M Robb 12 Feb 1933 DSO, DFC; later ACM
Sqn Ldr Percy J Barnett  1  Feb 1933 Armament duties
Flt Lt James H Winch  2 Apr 1933 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Patrick J A Hume-Wright  1 Feb 1933 Adjutant
Flt Lt John W Gillan  6 Mar 1933 Signal duties
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Maurice H Jenks  1 Feb 1933  

Source - Air Force List July 1934

It was paid off to the reserve on 31 May 1935 and underwent a further refit through 1936.

July 1937

Fleet Command Units operated
China Station RAF Far East
  • No 813 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Charles R Carr

18 Jan 1937 DFC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr W C P Bullock  1 Feb 1937 Armament duties
Flt Lt K P Lewis 26 Mar 1937 Engineer duties
Flt Lt P Heath 14 Dec 1936 Adjutant
Flt Lt Q W A Ross  5 Feb 1937 Signal duties
Fg Off A R Burch 10 Apr 1937 Lt, RM
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt C L Gilbert 12 Jan 1937  

Source - Air Force List July 1937

July 1938

Fleet Command Units operated
China Station RAF Far East
  • No 813 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Charles R Carr

18 Jan 1937 DFC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr W C P Bullock  1 Feb 1937 Armament duties
Flt Lt K P Lewis 26 Mar 1937 Engineer duties
Flt Lt P Heath 14 Dec 1936 Adjutant
Flt Lt Q W A Ross  5 Feb 1937 Signal duties
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt C L Gilbert 12 Jan 1937  

Source - Air Force List July 1938

January 1939

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 813 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Charles R Carr

18 Jan 1937 DFC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr W C P Bullock  1 Feb 1937 Armament duties
Flt Lt K P Lewis 26 Mar 1937 Engineer duties
Flt Lt Q W A Ross  5 Feb 1937 Signal duties
Fg Off A W D Miller 13 Aug 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt C L Gilbert 12 Jan 1937  

Source - Air Force List January 1939

April 1939

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 813 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr

Charles R Carr

18 Jan 1937 DFC, AFC; later AM
Sqn Ldr W C P Bullock  1 Feb 1937 Armament duties
Flt Lt A W D Miller 13 Aug 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Fg Off A H Brown 17 Dec 1938  
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off E T McKeown 11 Jan 1939  

Source - Confidential Air Force List April 1939

May 1939

Fleet Units operated
China Station
  • No 813 Squadron

  • No 824 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Flt Lt A W D Miller 13 Aug 1938 Adjutant
Equipment Branch
Fg Off A H Brown 17 Dec 1938  
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off E T McKeown 11 Jan 1939  

Source - Confidential Air Force List May 1939

[May 1924 | Jan 1925 | Feb 1925 | Mar 1925 | Apr 1925 | May 1925 | Jun 1925 | Jul 1925 | Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1930 | Aug 1930 | Sep 1930 | Oct 1930 | Nov 1930 | Dec 1930 | Jul 1933 | Jan 1934 | Jul 1934 | Jul 1937 | Jul 1938 | Jan 1939 | Apr 1939 | May 1939]

This page was last updated on 21/01/18

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