Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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HQ Unit on board HMS Pegasus


[Apr 1920 | May 1920 | Jun 1920 | Jul 1920 | Aug 1920 | Jul 1921 | Apr 1921 | Aug 1921 | Jul 1922 | May 1923 | Jul 1923 | May 1924 | Jul 1925 | Jul 1935 | Jul 1936 | Aug 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.

The original HMS Pegasus was being built at the John Brown yards on Clydebank when it was bought by the Admiralty on 27 February 1917.  It was launched on 9 June 1917 and commissioned as a seaplane carrier on 15 August 1917.  In 1923 the forward flying off deck was removed and in was reclassified as an aircraft tender on 26 February 1924.  It was paid off to the reserve on 7 May 1925 but was recommissioned 1929 as a ferry carrier, finally being sold for scrapping at Morecombe on 22 August 1931.

The HQ Unit was formed in December 1918 at Dundee but it was 6 March 1920 before she sailed to Turkey and presumably disbanded on her return in December 1923.   It reformed on 20 March 1924 and disbanded on its return from Singapore on 31 March 1925.

April 1920

Fleet Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Notes
Flt Lt Francis N Halsted A & S  
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac A & S  
Obs Off Ernest J Garner O  
Fg Off William Wheatley T  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  
Fg Off Edward D H Davies S later A/Cdre
Fg Off George A A Pennington A & S  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A DFC; later AM
Obs Off Douglas R W Thompson O  
Plt Off Sidney A Conway Stores  

Source - Air Force List April 1920

May 1920

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Flt Lt Francis N Halsted A & S 24 Nov 1919  
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac A & S  9 Dec 1919  
Obs Off Ernest J Garner O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off William Wheatley T  1 Mar 1920  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Edward D H Davies S 27 Feb 1920 later A/Cdre
Fg Off George A A Pennington A & S 27 Feb 1920  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Douglas R W Thompson O  2  Dec 1919  
Plt Off Sidney A Conway Stores 14 Jan 1920  

Source - Air Force List May 1920

June 1920

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Flt Lt Francis N Halsted A & S 24 Nov 1919  
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac A & S  9 Dec 1919  
Obs Off Ernest J Garner O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Douglas R W Thompson O  2  Dec 1919  
Plt Off Sidney A Conway Stores 14 Jan 1920  

Source - Air Force List June 1920

July 1920

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Flt Lt Francis N Halsted A & S 24 Nov 1919  
Obs Off Douglas R W Thompson O  2  Dec 1919  
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac A & S  9 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Ernest J Garner O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Sidney A Conway Stores 14 Jan 1920  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  

Source - Air Force List July 1920

August 1920

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field SO 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Francis N Halsted A & S 24 Nov 1919  
Obs Off Douglas R W Thompson O  2  Dec 1919  
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac A & S  9 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Ernest J Garner O  5 Dec 1919  
Fg Off Sidney A Conway Stores 14 Jan 1920  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  

Source - August 1920 Air Force List

April 1921

Source - April 1921 Air Force List

July 1921

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field A & S 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Frederic C Lander A & S 15 Oct 1920 AFC
Obs Off Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919 MBE
Fg Off James W Young A 24 Jan 1921  
Fg Off Esmond S Ades S 11 Aug 1920  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A & S  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Robert B Hunter O 31 Aug 1920  
Fg Off Edward D H Davies S 27 Feb 1920 later A/Cdre
Fg Off William Wheatley T  1 Mar 1920  
Fg Off Sidney A Conway T 14 Jan 1920  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  

Source - Air Force List July 1921

August 1921

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Branch Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field A & S 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Frederic C Lander A & S 15 Oct 1920 AFC
Flt Lt Eric B C Betts O  5 Dec 1919 DSC, DFC; later AVM
Obs Off Leonard Ritson O  5 Dec 1919 MBE
Fg Off James W Young A 24 Jan 1921  
Fg Off Esmond S Ades S 11 Aug 1920  
Fg Off Stephen C Strafford A & S  2 Dec 1919 DFC; later AM
Obs Off Robert B Hunter O 31 Aug 1920  
Fg Off Edward D H Davies S 27 Feb 1920 later A/Cdre
Fg Off William Wheatley T  1 Mar 1920  
Fg Off Sidney A Conway T 14 Jan 1920  
Fg Off Geoffrey R B Smyth A  9 Dec 1919  

Source - Air Force List August 1921

July 1922

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Arthur R T Pipon  1 Dec 1921 DSC
Fg Off William V Simons  5 Dec 1921  
Fg Off James W Young 24 Jan 1921  
Fg Off Esmond S Ades 11 Aug 1920  
Fg Off

Gerald S Shaw

 8 May 1921 later A/Cdre
Fg Off Leon Martin 3 Dec 1921  
Fg Off William E James 24 Feb 1922  
Fg Off Sidney A Conway 14 Jan 1920  
Plt Off Jasper G Peck 20 Jan 1922  
Plt Off Dennis C Prance  9 Mar 1922  
Stores Officer
Fg Off Christopher J Elliott 20 Jan 1922  

Source - Air Force List July 1922

May 1923

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Edward D Davis  7 Jun 1922 later AVM
Fg Off William V Simons  5 Dec 1921  
Fg Off

Gerald S Shaw

 8 May 1921 later A/Cdre
Fg/Obs Off Leon Martin 3 Dec 1921  
Fg Off

Alfred R Wardle

 7 Jun 1922 later A/Cdre
Fg Off Archibald J Rankin  3 Mar 1923 later A/Cdre
Fg Off William E James 24 Feb 1922  
Fg/Obs Off Jasper G Peck 20 Jan 1922  
Fg/Obs Off Dennis C Prance  9 Mar 1922  
Stores Officer
Fg Off Christopher J Elliott 20 Jan 1922  

Source - May 1923 Air Force List

July 1923

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Mediterranean Fleet Mediterranean Group
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Roger M Field 10 Jul 1920  
Flt Lt Edward D Davis  7 Jun 1922 later AVM
Fg Off

Gerald S Shaw

 8 May 1921 later A/Cdre
Fg Off Percival Harris 23 Mar 1923  
Fg/Obs Off Leon Martin 3 Dec 1921  
Fg Off

Alfred R Wardle

 7 Jun 1922 later A/Cdre
Fg/Obs Off Lance D Stewart  5 May 1923  
Fg/Obs Off Jasper G Peck 20 Jan 1922  
Fg/Obs Off Dennis C Prance  9 Mar 1922  
Stores Officer
Fg Off Christopher J Elliott 20 Jan 1922  

Source - Air Force List July 1923

May 1924

Fleet Command/Group Units operated
Special duty in Singapore  
  • No formed units

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward L Tomkinson 21 Mar 1924 DSO, AFC
Flt Lt Gerald E Livock 21 Mar 1924 DFC
Fg Off Edward P M Davis 21 Mar 1924 AFC, AM
Fg Off Frederick H Isaac 21 Mar 1924 DFC
Fg/Obs Off Leon Martin 21 Mar 1924  
Fg Off

Alfred R Wardle

21 Mar 1924 later A/Cdre
Fg Off Archibald J Rankin 21 Mar 1924 later A/Cdre
Fg/Obs Off Harry A Dinnage 21 Mar 1924  
Fg/Obs Off Lance D Stewart 21 Mar 1924  
Stores Officer
Fg Off Albert J Redman 21 Mar 1924 DFC

Source - Air Force List May 1924

She was paid off at Devonport on 7 May 1925.

On 21 December 1934 HMS Ark Royal was renamed HMS Pegasus.

July 1935

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Air Force List July 1935

July 1936

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Air Force List July 1936

August 1936

Source - August 1936 Air Force List

July 1937

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Air Force List July 1937

July 1938

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Air Force List July 1938

January 1939

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Air Force List January 1939

April 1939

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Confidential Air Force List April 1939

May 1939

Station Units operated
Portsmouth  

Source - Confidential Air Force List May 1939

[Apr 1920 | May 1920 | Jun 1920 | Jul 1920 | Aug 1920 | Jul 1921 | Apr 1921 | Aug 1921 | Jul 1922 | May 1923 | Jul 1923 | May 1924 | Jul 1925 | Jul 1935 | Jul 1936 | Aug 1936 | Jul 1937 | Jul 1938 | Jan 1939 | Apr 1939 | May 1939]

This page was last updated on 07/07/18

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