When the Navy Took to the Air: The Experimental Seaplane Stations of the Royal Naval Air Service

Author(s): Philip MacDougall

Overseas Military

Up to and during the First World War, the Royal Navy was at the forefront of developments in aviation: concerned not just with the use of military aircraft to defend the fleet, but also securing the homeland against Zeppelin raiders and undertaking tactical air strikes into enemy territory. With the aeroplane a totally new and revolutionary weapon, the work of several experimental airfields and seaplane stations became crucial to the success of these operations. Taking the lead role were Felixstowe and the Isle of Grain, where work on the development of new aircraft and aerial weapons was handled, alongside ground-breaking advances in navigational systems, air-to-ground radio communication, and deck-board ship landings. These two air stations (as well as others with a more minor role) witnessed a huge scale of expenditure and the assembly of an elite group of experts and hotshot pilots who, in pushing the envelope to the extreme, sometimes sacrificed their own lives.
The work of these experimental stations has been more or less forgotten, a result of the Royal Naval Air Service having been subsumed into the Royal Air Force, and the subsequent emphasis on the aeroplane as a weapon of land warfare. In this First World War anniversary period, it is a story that needs telling.


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Product Information

Philip Macdougall is a graduate of the University of Lancaster and a former lecturer at the University of Kent. He has written extensively on the subject of military aviation and is the author of the Fonthill title: 'Air Wars, 1920-1939: The Development and Evolution of Fighter Tactics'. He has a particular interest in naval aviation having lived on the Isle of Grain, the site of the nation's most important experimental air station until its closure in 1924.

General Fields

  • : 9781781555729
  • : Fonthill Media
  • : Fonthill Media
  • : 0.294
  • : May 2017
  • : 234mm X 156mm X 13mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Philip MacDougall
  • : 176
  • : 359.00941
  • : Paperback
  • : 30 black and white photographs