Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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HQ Unit on board HMS Vindictive


[Jul 1925 | Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929]

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 Vindictive was laid down by Harland and Wolff at Belfast on 26 June 1916 and was launched on 17 January 1918, being completed as an aircraft carrying cruiser on 21 September 1918.  She was paid off to the reserve on 24 December 1919.  She was later moved to Chatham and converted back into a cruiser with facilities for seaplanes and was the first major British warship to be equipped with a catapult.  She was paid off to the reserve on 30 December 1929, became a cadet training ship in May 1937 and was converted to a heavy repair ship in 1939.

The HQ Unit was formed on 3 September1918 at Blandford, embarking at Belfast on 22 September, finally disbanding on 1 April 1930.

July 1925

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward J P Burling 27 Apr 1925 DSC, DFC

Source - Air Force List July 1925

March 1926

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward J P Burling 27 Apr 1925 DSC, DFC

Source - March 1926 Air Force List

July 1926

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward J P Burling 27 Apr 1925 DSC, DFC

Source - Air Force List July 1926

December 1926

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 401 Flight

  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward J P Burling 27 Apr 1925 DSC, DFC

Source - December 1926 Air Force List

July 1927

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr Edward J P Burling 27 Apr 1925 DSC, DFC

Source - Air Force List July 1927

July 1928

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr

Richard G Gardner

11 Jun 1928 DSC; later A/Cdre

Source - Air Force List July 1928

September 1928

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr

Richard G Gardner

11 Jun 1928 DSC; later A/Cdre

Source - September 1928 Air Force List

July 1929

Fleet Units operated
5th Cruiser Squadron
  • No 444 Flight

 

Rank Name Date Notes
No officers listed

 

Source - Air Force List July 1929

[Jul 1925 | Mar 1926 | Jul 1926 | Dec 1926 | Jul 1927 | Jul 1928 | Sep 1928 | Jul 1929]

This page was last updated on 15/01/18

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