The King's Air Force

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a command in'Palestine, wherein recent months the Royal Air Force has been on almost continuous active service co­operating with the Army in restoring order. The other overseas commands are those in Trans-Jordan, India, Aden and Singapore, which is the headquarters of the Far East Command. The work of the R.A .F. overseas is described in a special article elsewhere in The Kin g’s Air Force .The four Dominion Air Forces are separate from the Royal Air Force at home, but, of course, in the event of a war or some similar emergency, the whole of the Empire’s air forces would work in the closest collaboration. As it is, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force have liaison officers at the Air Ministry in London. Officers from those Air Forces and from those of .New Zealand and South Africa are from time to time seconded for service in the R.A of.F. the Mother Country and attend courses of instruction. In general, the R.A .F .squadrons are composed of fighter squadrons, bomber squadrons, bomber transport squadrons, army co-operation squadrons and general reconnaissance squadrons. These recon­naissance squadrons are equipped with landplanes, or with flying boats, some of which can work as self-contained units over areas several thousands of miles wide. The fighter squadrons are, perhaps, the most important, and are certainly the most spectacular. The work of a fighter is mainly defensive, against raiding bom­bers, and the fighter collaborates with balloons, searchlights and anti-aircraft guns. For many years the fighter was always a single-seat machine, but single- and two-seat aeroplanes are now included in the R.A .F. equipment. The great traditions of the Royal Air Force were largely built on the men who flew fighter type aircraft— Albert Ball, McCudden, Ira Jones, “Mick” Mannock, W. L. Bishop and many others who also became world famous. If the fighter squadrons provide us with the spectacular work of the R.A .F., the work performed by the other squadrons is no less valuable. The counter-offensive weapon is the bomber, whether it is a heavy or a medium type. The medium bomber combines high speed with con­siderable weight-carrying capacity. One of the outstanding features of the heavy bomber is its ability to make long-range flights. Some bombers are equipped as troop carriers and are included in the bomber transport squadrons. The army co-operation squadrons have several types of machines, including“ Autogiro "aircraft, known in the ser­vice as Rotas. Their slow-flying and spot- landing capabilities make this type of machine a particularly valuable unit for army co-operation. 4 headquarters controlling a. number of hoyal Air Force stations and their units. In the Bomber Command, for example, tiere are five groups. The next subsidiary' is the Station, vhich contains a number of Squadrons. The squadrons, together with the stations, maybe considered the basis of the entire organization of the Royal Air Force. Smaller than the squadron is the Flight, which is subsidiary to the squadron and is generally composed of three or more aircraft. Then there is a miscellaneous but nonetheless important section which includes training establishments— sjch as the Cranwell Cadet College and tie technical schools for airmen and boys—and the medical services. The regular service of the Royal Air Force is divided into six main sections. The General Duties Branch undertakes tae flying, technical, command and administrative duties of the R.A .F. The other branches are the Equipment E-ranch, the Accountant Branch, the Medical Branch, the Dental Branch and the Chaplain's Branch. The regular Air Force at home is supported by various reserve organiza­tions. These include the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and the Auxiliary Air Force. Details of these organizations are given in special articles elsewhere in The Kin g's Air Force .Almost every officer (including those with short service com­missions) and airman pass to the reserve after they have completed their periods of service on the active list. While on the reserve they maybe called 011 to re-join the active list in the event of a national emergency. There are other classes of Air Force Reserve which could supplement the regular service in an emergency. The R.A .F. Reserve Class E is for men, in­cluding pensioners, who have previously served in the ranks of the R.A.F. Such men, however, are not liable for training during peacetime. Similarly, there is the R.A .F. Officers’ Emergency Reserve in which former officers of the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force are enrolled for administrative and special duties in an emergency. There is no peacetime train­ing for these officers, but members of the emergency reserve must give an honour­ able undertaking to serve when required. Radio Reserves The Royal Air Force Civilian Wireless Reserve is on a different basis from the other R.A .F. reserve organizations. This is open for men who are amateur wireless experimenters, preferably holders of the General Post Office Transmitting Licences. The peacetime training is normally done at home and consists of the proper reception of special pro­ grammes of transmissions from R.A .F. wireless telegraphy stations. The Observer Corps, although closely connected in its work with the R.A .F., is not part of the Air Force organiza­tion, but is allied with the Special Constabulary under|^' the National Service Scheme. The Overseas Com­mands are organized anon area basis. The Mediterranean Command head­quarters are at Malta and much of its work is in co­operation with the Royal Navy. The Middle East Com­mand has its head­quarters at Cairo, but its operations overspread vast territories. There is i l!in m BERKELEY SQUARE HOUSE, in Berkeley Square, London, W.,is the home of the Air Ministry. Hundreds of offices in this building are filled with busy clerks and executives who handle the initial administration of all branches of the Royal Air Force.
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