On 11 November 2016, Professor Niall Barr examines the development of air defence during the First World War through the experience of his Great Uncle.



This talk blends part of Professor Barr’s family history with an examination of the German bombing campaign against Britain in the First World War and the development of the air defence of the UK, culminating in the deployment of No. 151 Squadron as the sole night fighter squadron sent to France in 1918. Professor Barr’s great uncle, William Aitken, served first as an infantryman on the Western Front before gaining a commission and training as a pilot in the RFC. Aitken served in a home defence squadron in 1917 and then went with No. 151 squadron to France in 1918. By combining a personal history with the development of one aspect of the air war, this talk provides a new and interesting perspective on the RFC/RAF during the First World War.


This lecture will be held in the RAF Museum lecture theatre at 12:30PM on Friday 11 November 2016.


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.



Niall Barr is Professor of Military History at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London, based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College. Educated at the University of St Andrews, he has previously taught at St Andrews and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He joined the Staff College in 2000, where he teaches on a wide range of military courses, including the Higher Command and Staff Course and conducts numerous battlefield tours and staff rides. His main research interest concerns the fighting methods of the British Army in the Twentieth Century, but he also has an enduring interest in the Scottish military tradition. His most recent publication is Yanks and Limeys: Alliance Warfare in the Second World War (2015).


The First World War in the Air Lunchtime Lectures, funded by the HLF, forms part of our Research Programme for 2016. This programme also consists of the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies, the Cold War Lunchtime Lectures and other events such as conferences. You can download a copy of the Research Programme here.

For more details about the RAF Museum’s research programme, please email me at ross.mahoney@rafmuseum.org

BAE Systems and the Heritage Lottery Fund supports the RAF Museum’s First World War in the Air programme of events.


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