Dr Ben Jones of the Portsmouth Business School at the RAF College at Cranwell will discuss ‘From the Grand Fleet to Gallipoli: The Origins of Maritime Air Power’ as part of the RAF Museum’s First World War in the Air Lunchtime Lecture Series on 13 November 2015.


This paper will explore a landmark year for British naval aviation, 1915. For the first time the Royal Naval Air Service focussed upon the submarine threat with the swift development of the Sea Scout airship at Admiral Fisher’s behest and its first substantial expeditionary operation employing aeroplanes, seaplanes and kite balloons took place at Gallipoli. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill laid the foundations for future strategic bombing raids, not usually associated with maritime air power, demanding a very large fleet of aircraft capable of delivering a series of ‘smashing blows’ on the enemy. However, following the removal of Churchill and Fisher from office, Rear-Admiral Vaughan Lee, an officer with no air experience, was appointed to the post of Director of Air Services, heralding a period when British naval aviation lacked innovation and urgency, especially regarding its core role of supporting the Grand Fleet. While the fast liner Campania entered service as a seaplane carrier and a Bristol Scout became the first British aeroplane to be launched at sea from HMS Vindex, technological challenges and the RNAS’ range of priorities precluded greater progress in enhancing air support for the fleet.


This lecture will be held in the RAF Museum lecture theatre at 12:30PM on Friday 13 November 2015.


This lecture is free of charge however we do ask that you pre-book a free ticket as seats are limited. Booking is quick and easy, we just need some basic contact information.



Dr Ben Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Portsmouth Business School based at RAF College Cranwell. His research interests include maritime air power, naval logistics during the Second World War and British defence policy East of Suez in the post-war period. Dr Jones is General Editor of the Navy Records Society and is writing a three volume series on The Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War, the first of which was published in 2012.



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