Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by High Wood, Jun 29, 2021.
Can anyone please confirm that this is H.M.S. Eagle?
NH 72556 HMS EAGLE (British aircraft carrier, 1918)
So that is a yes then?
It came with the following photographs of various aircraft. They all belonged to a pilot whose photographs I have.
Fairey III with floats.
There are some comparisons here...
Yes that is HMS Eagle...her profile is pretty unique with the rounded bow and large island with two squat funnels and tripod mast
Nice pictures High Wood. Guessing your pilot was a RAF bloke given the pre-war nature of the aircraft, as the FAA only came into existance in 1939?
Yes, he was R.A.F. but originally R.N.A.S.
Humphrey Montagu Whittle.
R.N.A.S. service history.
The man himself.
There is this on Amazon...
Oh wow, I didn't know that that book existed, thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Humphrey Mountagu, second child of Gentleman Humphrey Norris Whittle and his second wife, Florence Mountagu Bayne, formerly Callendar, was baptized on November 10, 1899, at Saint James, Parish of Chorley, Lancashire, England.
By 1901 Humphrey Mountagu is counted aged 1, in a census for Chorley, living at Yarrow House, with his father (49), married and colliery proprietor, his mother (47), married, and his siblings: Dorothy (9) and Marjorie (4). He is engaging five house helpers.
By November 6, 1922, he is listed as a student, arriving in San Franciso, California, United States, sailing on the Tahiti from Wliington, New Zeland and having Lytham, England as last and final residence.
On December 28, 1926 he is found in the Hamburg Passenger Manifest, sailing on the Stockport, 1st. class, from the port of Hamburg, Germany to Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.
Between the years 1914 and 1940, as to the London Gazette issued in the said years, he was recorded as member of the Royal Air Force, being promoted firstly from Flight Lieutenant to the rank of Squadron and later on to Wing Commander or Lieutenant Colonel.
On May 6, 1932, he was recorded as a member to the Royal Aero Club located at 119 Piccadilly, London and elected Chairman for the year 1932.
In 1937 he got married with Margaret Steward Menzies Mac Farlane at Kensington, Greater London.
Humphrey Mountagu Whittle, Group Captain died aged 43, killed by enemy action, on war service, belonging to the Royal Air Force, 151 Squadron transferred to Number 1 Depot, Uxbridge.
His siblings were: Kathleen Moreton, Dorothy Florence and Marjorie Norris
His death is announced in the England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, on October 30, 1942.
There are Probate Records for him registered at Llandudno, Conwy County Borough, Wales, April 12, 1943.
Not entirely true. The Royal Navy Air Service and Royal Flying Corps were amalgamated in 1918. The Fleet Air Arm was established in 1924 as the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF. A right mish-mash. Admin responsibility was with the Air Ministry whilst operational control lay with the Admiralty. Aircraft were specified by type and numbers by the Admiralty who supplied the funds to cover the costs but supply was with the Air Ministry. Pilots, of whom in 1924 more than half were naval officers, wore RN uniform but were given RAF ranks.
1939 was the date that full control of the FAA was given to the Admiralty.
Fleet Air Arm, Naval Aviation, Royal Navy Air Service History
Many thanks for the information. Here he is with his sisters.
This is his sister Kathleen.
Well that is the simplified version. The reality was rather different.
When the RNAS and RAF merged to become the RAF on 1 April 1918 the two arms were of roughly comparable size. However when post WW1 reality hit and the RAF had to massively downsize it was the former RNAS part that came of worst. Coastal patrol where many served was deemed largely unnecessary for example. Very few ex RNAS officers rose to senior command positions in the RAF come WW2. Most senior RAF officers then were ex RFC.
Then we have the air culture of the 1920s and 1930s. The bomber was what would win the next war and everything else, including the FAA, had to play second fiddle.
Then we have the administrative arrangements. The RAF, as the new kid on the block, defended its patch vigorously. The Air Ministry actually went so far as to ban those surviving ex RNAS, now RAF, officers from maintaining contact with their former RN colleagues. So navy and air arm began to grow apart and each sides understanding of the needs/possibilities of what aviation could do began to diverge.
The solution was supposed to be found in Air Ministry inter-service committees. But here again most members, and almost all the aviation related technical knowledge, came from the RAF and Air Ministry, with only junior representation from the RN with little staff experience allowed.
All contact with industry in relation to aircraft design had to be via the Air Ministry. The AM only wanted to propose modified RAF aircraft for naval use, despite the RN being the ones holding the purse strings for those aircraft and having different needs from the RAF. That attitude then filtered through to industry who also began to think of naval aircraft as being of secondary importance.
The RAF also sought to limit the numbers of aircraft that could be operated from a carrier on the basis of a difference of opinion as to what was considered “efficient”. The RN had to prove what was possible before the RAF relented and agreed to provide more.
The RN was not entirely innocent in all this. It was slow to adopt transverse arrester gear (but if you are only operating a few light aircraft this wasn’t a problem in the 1920s) from the early 1930s and catapults (Ark Royal was the first in 1939). It also insisted until 1939/40 that new fighter types had to carry an observer to find its way back to a carrier so reducing their performance.
Despite that the RN led the world in carrier operations through to the early 1930s. It pioneered the carrier itself and things like Taranto/Pearl Harbor style attacks and use of multi carrier task forces. But when aircraft performance began to take off (pardon the pun) in the mid/late 1930s it got left behind due to the administrative arrangements for its Air Arm.
There was also the issue of career progression for personnel in the FAA. Just about the most senior flying related role in the RN was flight/squadron commander. After that, to remain in aviation, you had to transfer to the RAF or remain in the RN and go into one of the more mainstream activities like navigation, gunnery etc.
So the Inskip Report of late 1937 proposed transferring control of the FAA back to the RN, which took effect on 24th May 1939. At that point about 50% of pilots and all observers were supposed to be RN, but the RAF wasn’t providing all it should. Also a large proportion of the mechanics etc still came from the RAF (it was mid war before the last stragglers returned to RAF control).
But even into WW2 it was the Air Ministry and then the Ministry of Aircraft
Production that controlled which aircraft got produced. And again the FAA had to play second fiddle to the RAF and its massive fighter and bomber programmes. Hence it had to rely on aircraft from the USA. But even there it had to compete with the USN. So Britain gladly took Corsairs and made them work on carrier decks while the USN concentrated on Hellcats (at least until late 1944).
So essentially the RN had one hand tied behind its back in relation to aviation matters throughout the inter-war period and when it finally did get control back it was too late to have much effect on the first half of WW2. The FAA emerged from WW2 in a much better state. The RN went on to develop the 3 main features of the modern carrier in the early 1950s - the steam catapult, the angled deck and the mirror / optical landing system
Thank you Ewen, that provides some extremely interesting context I didn't know behind why e.g. British carrier planes were as they were in the first part of the war.
From the same house clearance. Possibly a Boulton Paul Defiant.
Separate names with a comma.