chapter  3
40 Pages

RNAS development and the challenges from within and without, leading to the formation of the RAF, 1916–1918

ByDennis Haslop

Chapter Three discusses pivotal events and a number of changes within the Admiralty and RNAS organizations, up to the creation of a single air service in 1918. In early 1916, a JWAC (Joint War Air Committee) was formed, but the vexatious issue of available aeroplane resources was not solved. Resource allocations, and the state of inter-service rivalry, renewed the debate as to whether or not to have an independent air service. In May 1916, the War Cabinet decided to replace the JWAC with an Air Board. Of only marginal improvement, a second Air Board was established in 1917 under a president. Since no compromise on the issue of rivalry could be found, the new president appointed a visiting South African general to inquire into the possibility of reorganizing the air services, which ultimately led to the formation of a single air service in April 1918. After the merger of the two services, the Admiralty virtually controlled air doctrine and maritime air policy up to the end of the war. At the end of the war, the RAF (Royal Air Force) was still in its infancy and entered a post-war period clearly in need of a defined strategic function.