chapter  3
47 Pages

The Nadir of Maritime Aviation, 1930-39

T h e q u a l i t y of force with which Coastal Command entered war in September 1939 was virtually indistinguishable from that existing at the start of the decade. Not all sections of the Royal Air Force benefited from the injection of defence funding after 1933, and just as maritime aviation was to suffer proportionately greater cuts in relation to other branches of the air force in the period of disarmament after the First World War, the maritime aspect grew most slowly when expansion of the air force occurred. The chief reason for this was the preoccupation in both public and Service arenas with the threat to Great Britain from Continental sources of aerial bombardment, the best counter to which was generally considered to be the building up of Britain’s own strategic bomber force. Coming after what were perceived to be major successes in policing the Empire by air, the events in China and Spain gave added momentum to the drive to achieve at least parity with other nations’ bombing forces.