The AIR MINISTRY was a department of the Government of the United Kingdom with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Royal Air Force , that existed from 1918 to 1964. It was under the political authority of the Secretary of State for Air .
* 1 Organisations before the
* 1.1 The Air Committee
* 1.2 The Joint War Air Committee
* 1.2.1 Membership
* 1.3 The Air Board
* 1.3.1 The first Air Board * 1.3.2 The second Air Board
* 2 Establishment of the
* 4 Activities
* 4.1 Aircraft production * 4.2 Weather Forecasting * 4.3 World War II technology
* 5 Abolition * 6 See also * 7 External links * 8 References
ORGANISATIONS BEFORE THE AIR MINISTRY
THE AIR COMMITTEE
On 13 April 1912, less than two weeks after the creation of the Royal
Flying Corps (which initially consisted of both a naval and a military
wing), an Air Committee was established to act as an intermediary
THE JOINT WAR AIR COMMITTEE
By 1916 the lack of co-ordination of the Army 's Royal Flying Corps and the Navy 's Royal Naval Air Service had led to serious problems, not only in the procurement of aircraft engines, but also in the air defence of Great Britain. It was the supply problems to which an attempt at rectification was first made. The War Committee meeting on 15 February 1916 decided immediately to establish a standing joint naval and military committee to co-ordinate both the design and the supply of materiel for the two air services. This committee was titled the Joint War Air Committee, and its chairman was Lord Derby . It was also at the meeting on 15 February that Curzon proposed the creation of an Air Ministry. As with the pre-war Air Committee, the Joint War Air Committee lacked any executive powers and therefore was not effective. After only eight sittings, Lord Derby resigned from the Committee, stating that "It appears to me quite impossible to bring the two wings closer together ... unless and until the whole system of the Air Service is changed and they are amalgamated into one service."
The Joint War Air Committee was composed as follows:
* Chairman – Lord Derby * Director of Air Services (Admiralty) – Rear Admiral C L Vaughn Lee * Superintendent of Aircraft Design (Admiralty) – Commodore M F Sueter * Squadron Commander W Briggs * Director of Military Aeronautics (War Office) – Major-General Sir David Henderson * Lieutenant-Colonel E L Ellington
Advisory Members were also appointed as required.
THE AIR BOARD
The First Air Board
The next attempt to establish effective co-ordination between the two air services was the creation of an Air Board. The first Air Board came into being on 15 May 1916 with Lord Curzon as its chairman. The inclusion of Curzon, a Cabinet Minister, and other political figures was intended to give the Air Board greater status than the Joint War Air Committee. In October 1916 the Air Board published its first report which was highly critical of the arrangements within the British air services. The report noted that although the Army authorities were ready and willing to provide information and take part in meetings, the Navy were often absent from Board meetings and frequently refused to provide information on naval aviation.
The Second Air Board
In January 1917 the Prime Minister
David Lloyd George
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AIR MINISTRY
Despite attempts at reorganization of the Air Board, the earlier problems failed to be completely resolved. In addition, the growing number of German air raids against Great Britain led to public disquiet and increasing demands for something to be done. As a result, Lloyd George , the British Prime Minister, established a committee composed of himself and General Jan Smuts , which was tasked with investigating the problems with the British air defences and organizational difficulties which had beset the Air Board.
Towards the end of the First World War, on 17 August 1917, General
Smuts presented a report to the War Council on the future of air
power. Because of its potential for the 'devastation of enemy lands
and the destruction of industrial and populous centres on a vast
scale', he recommended a new air service be formed that would be on a
level with the Army and
* Lord Rothermere , Air Minister and President
* Lieutenant-General Sir David Henderson , Additional Member and
Sir Hugh Trenchard , Chief of the Air Staff
* Major-General (formerly Rear-Admiral) Mark Kerr , Deputy Chief of
the Air Staff
* Major-General (formerly Commodore)
Godfrey Paine , Master General
Sefton Brancker , Controller-General of Equipment
* Sir William Weir , Director-General of Aircraft Production in the
Ministry of Munitions
HISTORY – 1920S
In April 1921
David Lloyd George
With the fall of Lloyd George in October 1922 Sir Samuel Hoare became
the Secretary of State for Air. He was the first Secretary to have a
seat in the Cabinet (Churchill had been in the Cabinet as Secretary
for War as well as for Air), and remained in the post until January
1924, when a Labour government took power and
Lord Thomson was made
Secretary of State for Air. A supporter of airships , Thomson was
responsible for the Imperial
After the fall of the MacDonald government in November 1924 Hoare returned to the Air Ministry. He was interested in developing air links to the Empire and Dominion countries, particularly India and South Africa. He negotiated a subsidy from the Treasury for Imperial Airways to start a service from Cairo to India. Hoare, with his wife Lady Maud, flew on the inaugural 13-day flight to Delhi, leaving Croydon on 26 December 1926 and arriving on 8 January 1927. The air route to Cape Town, after much negotiation, was finalised in 1929, before he left office, but only commenced in 1932.
His time at the
An early priority for Sir Hugh Trenchard , Chief of the Air Staff 1919–1930, was to establish the officer cadet training college at Cranwell as a permanent establishment. It was Hoare's job to negotiate with the Treasury for the necessary funds. After much resistance Hoare managed to include a provision for permanent buildings in his estimates for 1929. The foundation stone of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell was laid in 1929 and formally opened in 1934.
Trenchard had conceived the idea of a university air officer training corps, a sort of Territorial Army for the R.A.F. Hoare and particularly his well connected Parliamentary Private Secretary the academic Sir Geoffrey Butler, then created University Air Squadrons , at Cambridge University then at Oxford University in October 1925, without, however the militarism of the Officer Training Corps and in close collaboration with scientific and engineering work of the Universities.
The third aspect of Hoare's time at the
The ordering procedure used I.T.P. (Intention to Proceed) contract
papers; these specified a maximum fixed price, which could (after
investigation) be less. But when
In later years the actual production of aircraft was the responsibility of the Ministry of Aircraft Production (1940–46), the Ministry of Supply (1946–59), the Ministry of Aviation (1959–67) and finally the Ministry of Technology (1967–70).
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As a result of the need for weather information for aviation, the Meteorological Office located many of its observation and data collection points on RAF stations .
WORLD WAR II TECHNOLOGY
In the 1930s, the
By April 1944, the ministry's air Intelligence branch had succeeded in its intelligence e