Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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HQ Unit on board HMS Furious


[Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1932 | Jul 1933 | Jan 1934 | 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.  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 Furious was laid down by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle upon Tyne on 8 June 1915 as a light battlecruiser with a forward flying off deck, she was launched on 15 August 1916.  She served was commissioned on 26 June 1917, joining the Grand Fleet on 4 July where she carried out flying trials.  On 2 August 1917, Sqn Cdr Dunning carried out the world's first deck landing on her flying off deck but was killed five days later whilst making a second attempt.  On 19 July 1918, her aircraft attacked the Tondern airship station but transferred to the reserve on 21 November 1919.  In 1922 work began at Devonport to convert her to a fleet carrier.  This work was completed on 1 August 1925 and she was commissioned on 1 September.  She continued to serve throughout the war in both active and training roles but was finally paid off in 1945 and scrapped in 1948.

The HQ Unit was formed on 31 January 1925 at Gosport, disbanding on 1 September 1930.  It reformed following the ship's refit on 2 November 1931 and presumably disbanded on the transfer of the FAA to the Royal Navy in 1939

March 1926

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 404 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Henry R Busteed  8 May 1925 OBE, AFC; later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Thomas E B Howe  1 Sep 1925 AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925  
Fg Off Alfred C Meredith  1 Sep 1925  
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

Source - March 1926 Air Force List

July 1926

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 404 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Henry R Busteed  8 May 1925 OBE, AFC; later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Thomas E B Howe  1 Sep 1925 AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925  
Fg Off Alfred C Meredith  1 Sep 1925  
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

Source - Air Force List July 1926

December 1926

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Conway W H Pulford  1 Sep 1926 OBE, AFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Thomas E B Howe  1 Sep 1925 AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 Signal duties, DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925 Armament Duties
Fg Off Alfred C Meredith  1 Sep 1925 Engineer Duties
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

Source - December 1926 Air Force List

July 1927

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight (half)

  • No 443 Flight (half)

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Conway W H Pulford  1 Sep 1926 OBE, AFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Thomas E B Howe  1 Sep 1925 AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 Signal duties, DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925  
Fg Off Joseph J Teasdale 26 Feb 1927  
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

 

Source - Air Force List July 1927

July 1928

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Conway W H Pulford  1 Sep 1926 OBE, AFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Thomas W Elsdon  6 Jan 1928  
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 Signal duties, DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925  
Fg Off Joseph J Teasdale 26 Feb 1927  
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

Source - Air Force List July 1928

September 1928

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 420 Flight

  • No 421 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Conway W H Pulford  1 Sep 1926 OBE, AFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Thomas W Elsdon  6 Jan 1928  
Flt Lt Matthew C Dick  1 Sep 1928 Armament duties, AFC
Flt Lt Harold W St John  1 Sep 1925 Signal duties, DFC
Hon Flt Lt Herbert T Herring  1 Sep 1925  
Flt Lt Joseph J Teasdale 26 Feb 1927  
Stores Branch
Fg Off Stanley D Dennis  1 Jan 1926  

Source - September 1928 Air Force List

July 1929

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 447 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Francis E T Hewlett  1 Oct 1928  
Sqn Ldr Thomas W Elsdon  6 Jan 1928  
Flt Lt Ralph E Meek  1 Oct 1928 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Matthew C Dick  1 Sep 1928 Armament duties, AFC
Flt Lt Frank H Whitmore 15 Apr 1929 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frederick J W Humphreys  1 Sep 1928  

Source - Air Force List July 1929

No 449 Flight served aboard the ship from October 1929 to June 1930. 

July 1930

Fleet Units operated
Atlantic Fleet
  • No 401 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 449 Flight

  • No 450 Flight

  • No 463 Flight

  • No 464 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr William B Callaway  7 Sep 1929 AFC; later AVM
Sqn Ldr Thomas W Elsdon  6 Jan 1928  
Flt Lt Matthew C Dick  1 Sep 1928 Armament duties, AFC
Flt Lt Cuthbert C Bazell 20 Jan 1930 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Frank H Whitmore 15 Apr 1929 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frederick J W Humphreys  1 Sep 1928  

Source - Air Force List July 1930

She underwent a refit at Devonport between 29 September 1930 and 18 January 1932

July 1932

Fleet Units operated
Home Waters
  • No 405 Flight

  • No 443 Flight

  • No 447 Flight

  • No 449 Flight

  • No 461 Flight

  • No 462 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Douglas Iron 28 Nov 1931 later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr James A W Binnie 17 Dec 1931  
Flt Lt Noel V Wrigley  9 Nov 1931 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Walter R Day  7 Dec 1931 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank W Taylor  2 Nov 1931  

Source - Air Force List July 1932

July 1933

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Douglas Iron 28 Nov 1931 later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Ian Cullen 15 Aug 1932 Armament duties, MBE, AFC
Flt Lt Noel V Wrigley  9 Nov 1931 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Walter R Day  7 Dec 1931 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank W Taylor  2 Nov 1931  
Warrant Officer - 2nd Class
WO II Walter J Robinson

28 Dec 1932

AFM

Source - Air Force List July 1933

January 1934

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Douglas Iron 28 Nov 1931 later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Ian Cullen 15 Aug 1932 Armament duties, MBE, AFC
Flt Lt Noel V Wrigley  9 Nov 1931 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Walter R Day  7 Dec 1931 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Stores Branch
Flt Lt Frank W Taylor  2 Nov 1931  
Warrant Officer - 2nd Class
WO II Walter J Robinson

28 Dec 1932

AFM

Source - January 1934 Air Force List

July 1934

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Douglas Iron 28 Nov 1931 later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Ian Cullen 15 Aug 1932 Armament duties, MBE, AFC
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Flt Lt Oliver I Gilson 22 May 1934 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Eric C Passmore 23 Apr 1934 Signal duties,
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Norman W Law 25 May 1934  
Warrant Officer - 2nd Class
WO II Walter J Robinson

28 Dec 1932

AFM

Source - Air Force List July 1934

July 1935

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Eric D Johnson  9 Dec 1934 AFC; later A/Cdre
Flt Lt Adrian W Franklyn  2 Jan 1935 Armament duties, MC
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Flt Lt Oliver I Gilson 22 May 1934 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Eric C Passmore 23 Apr 1934 Signal duties,
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Norman W Law 25 May 1934  
Warrant Officer
WO Charles Wheeler 27 Mar 1935  

Source - Air Force List July 1935

July 1936

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Eric D Johnson  9 Dec 1934 AFC; later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Adrian W Franklyn  2 Jan 1935 Armament duties, MC
Flt Lt Arthur M N David  9 Nov 1931 Adjutant
Flt Lt Oliver I Gilson 22 May 1934 Engineer duties, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Eric C Passmore 23 Apr 1934 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Gerrard J C Paul  4 Jun 1936 Engineer duties; later A/Cdre
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Norman W Law 25 May 1934  
Warrant Officer
WO Charles Wheeler 27 Mar 1935  

Source - Air Force List July 1936

July 1937

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr Eric D Johnson  9 Dec 1934 AFC; later A/Cdre
Sqn Ldr Adrian W Franklyn  2 Jan 1935 Armament duties, MC
Flt Lt Oliver I Gilson 22 May 1934 Adjutant, MBE, DSC
Flt Lt Eric C Passmore 23 Apr 1934 Signal duties,
Flt Lt Gerrard J C Paul  4 Jun 1936 Engineer duties; later A/Cdre
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Norman W Law 25 May 1934  
Warrant Officer
WO F C H Kirby

13 Sep 1936

 

Source - Air Force List July 1937

July 1938

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Wg Cdr J Noakes 20 Sep 1937 AFC, MM
Sqn Ldr Adrian W Franklyn  2 Jan 1935 Armament duties, MC
Flt Lt Eric C Passmore 23 Apr 1934 Signal duties,
Equipment Branch
Flt Lt Roland G Seymour  6 Sep 1937 later A/Cdre
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off F Stevens  2 May 1938  
Warrant Officer
WO E G Cheeseman 13 Dec 1937  

Source - Air Force List July 1938

January 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No 801 Squadron

  • No 811 Squadron

  • No 822 Squadron

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
Commissioned Engineer Officer
Fg Off F Stevens  2 May 1938  
Commissioned Signals Officer
Fg Off F H V Gould  5 Sep 1938  
Warrant Officer
WO E G Cheeseman 13 Dec 1937  

Source - Air Force List January 1939

April 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No units shown

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
No personnel listed

Source - Confidential Air Force List April 1939

May 1939

Fleet Units operated
Home Fleet
  • No units shown

 

Rank Name

Date

Notes
No personnel listed

Source - Confidential Air Force List May 1939

[Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929 | Jul 1932 | Jul 1933 | Jan 1934 | Jul 1934 | Jul 1935 | Jul 1936 | Jul 1937 | Jul 1938 | Jan 1939 | Apr 1939 | May 1939]

This page was last updated on 21/01/18

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