Ashore, afloat and airborne
: the logistics of British naval airpower, 1914-1945

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis analyses the logistics behind the expansion and operations of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Ann during the two World Wars. The logistics of British naval aviation has largely been a peripheral topic compared with operational issues. Studies of aviation during both World Wars are also unusual. The aim is to study this topic largely through the available original material, both official and unofficial, and thereby to provide a new focus for the analysis of naval aviation. Both organisations had to expand from a small base under the exigencies of wartime conditions, in 1914 when aviation was in its infancy and in 1939 just after the Navy had regained full control over naval aviation. This thesis will investigate the relationship between naval air logistics and strategy, national economics, operations and tactics and therefore is organised under five main themes. Firstly, to examine the naval air expansion programmes, especially in the Second World War, from which other requirements stemmed. Secondly, to relate naval strategy to the needs for naval air stations, a topic frequently ignored by many authors who give more consideration to aircraft carriers. Thirdly, to address how successful was aircraft production in meeting the requirements laid down in the expansion programmes. Fourthly, the coordination of resources, be they ships or squadrons, for operations and fifthly, from the tactical perspective the difficulties of maintaining aircraft in the front line. The conclusion includes an appreciation of comparisons between naval aviation during the two World Wars and a summary of the air logistics of the British Pacific Fleet in 1945 when many earlier developments came to fruition.
    Date of Award30 Nov 2007
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • King's College London
    SupervisorAndrew Lambert (Supervisor)


    • naval history
    • Fleet Air Arm
    • Royal Naval Air Service
    • First World War
    • Second World War
    • logistics

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