SMHS Meeting: A Prelude to Royal Navy flying in WW1 1895-1914

15 Jan 2014

In January we welcomed back Richard Searles for his talk

Richard, a retired Naval Officer served in the Navy from 1955-1972, with 12 years in the Fleet Air Arm. His talk covered the early days of flying, early aviation in the UK and Naval aviation 1909-1914.

Predominantly the domain of wealthy thrill-seekers, the early flying attempts were many and varied. Richard delighted us with an extensive collection of pictures and video clips which, whilst apparently comical, reminded us of the huge risk of death and injury that these pioneers assumed.

The Navy was initially reluctant to embrace aviation. Frank McClean, now recognised as the godfather to British naval aviation, owned 16 aircraft and lent them to the Admiralty to train Naval Aviators but it was not until 1909 that the first aircraft was ordered by the Navy.

Richard took questions on naval aviation and brought us right up to date with his knowledge of the Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently under construction and expected to enter service in 2016.


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7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.


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