The Royal Naval Air Service was formed from the Naval Wing of the joint Royal Flying Corps (1912), but from 1914, when the RFC became the flying branch of the British Army, it was administered by the Admiralty Air Department. It merged with the RFC as the RAF in 1918. In 1924 the Fleet Air Arm was formed of RAF units operating from RN ships, brought under Admiralty control in 1939.
Naval Air Stations guarded dockyards and promoted research and development. In 1917 the first night-time Gotha raid on Chatham Naval Barracks led to the first anti-aircraft gun emplacements. Wartime bombing caused Naval Air Stations to be built around British and overseas coasts, particularly along the English south coast.
Jim Humberstone: ‘Calshot, the Solent and the establishment of Royal Naval Air Stations around British Coasts: 1911–1918’
Bob Wealthy and Colin van Geffen: ‘Calshot and Lee-on-the-Solent Royal Naval Air Stations in the First World War’
Tina Bilbé: ‘Anti-Zeppelin Experiments Combining Airship and Aeroplane Technology’
Celia Clark: ‘In search of Leslie Bates RNAS’
Philip MacDougall: ‘A Deliberately Suppressed History – the Royal Navy’s Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishments’
David Evans: ‘Creation and renewal of RNAS Portland/HMS Osprey near Portland Naval Base’
Ian Stafford: ‘The Royal Naval Air Service and Air Defence of the Halifax Naval Yard and Base: a study in waning enthusiasm’
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