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World War One: Fleet Air Arm

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The growth of the Royal Naval Air Service

On 5 August 1914 the British Air Service consisted of a Naval Wing, known as the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), a military wing, known as the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), and a central flying school. The Naval Wing, controlled by the Admiralty, comprised an airship squadron recently taken over from the Military Wing and three aeroplane and seaplane squadrons with a total of 93 machines. The Military Wing controlled by the War Office, comprised four aeroplane squadrons with a total of 179 machines. The two wings had total combined personnel of 197 officers and 1,647 other ranks. By 1918 the RNAS had over 55,000 servicemen and nearly 3,000 aircraft. The service had grown far beyond what it could organise and before the War was over it was decided to amalgamate both the Army’s Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Navy’s RNAS.

Various aircraft from Squadron No.1 of the RNAS including 110hp Clerget Nieuport, Morane Biplane (110 le Rhone), Nieuport Scout and Bristol Scout (RFC), 1916 (FAAM)
Various aircraft from Squadron No.1 of the RNAS including 110hp Clerget Nieuport, Morane Biplane (110 le Rhone), Nieuport Scout and Bristol Scout (RFC), 1916 (FAAM)

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Significant RNAS operations

Trials and developments

Land operations

The RNAS Armoured Car Division

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