Archive for the 'Air Power Studies' Category

Some more thoughts on an Air Force Records Society

[Cross posted from Thoughts on Military History]

I have written elsewhere there has been some discussion of whether there is a need for an Air Force Records Society. I have prepared a briefing paper that has been sent round to various people working in the field. However, I thought I would post part of it here to try and gain further ideas on this project. I am interested in any thoughts people may have on this.

Overview

Both the Royal Navy and Army have a Records Society. To date the Naval Records Society, founded in 1893 by leading figures including Professor Sir John Knox Laughton, has published over 150 volumes. The Army Records Society has published thirty-one volumes to date. Both organisations have been successful in promoting the history of their respective services by bringing together collections of documents to highlight the past.

The history of British air power is now more than one hundred years old. An important question exists, should there be a records society that deals with the Royal Air Force. The RAF and its predecessors, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, have a rich documentary heritage that should be preserved. The society would provide a valuable source for serving officers, scholars and all those interested in British air power history and the development of air power generally.

As noted below publications could include a variety of strands. However, to begin with there are several obvious sources that could be explored. These included the papers of Lieutenant General Sir David Henderson or Marshal of the Royal Air Force Viscount Trenchard. Possible unpublished memoirs include the fascinating work written by Air Marshal Sir Edgar Kingston-McCloughry, which is a refreshing honest and critical work that was never published, and languishes in his papers at the Imperial War Museum. There is also the possibility of publishing significant works that are now out of copyright. In addition, it may be worth looking into the possibility of publishing key volumes from the Air Historical Branch Narrative collection.

Aim of the Society

The object of an Air Force Records Society would be to edit and publish manuscripts relating to the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm, and their antecedents’, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, and to reprint works of military interest.

Council/Committee

The society will require a council in order to run it effectively. It should consist of a:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Editor
  • Councillors’

Members should come from leading figures in the field of air power history. Terms of service and responsibilities will be laid out in a constitution that can only be revised at an annual general meeting.

Membership

Membership should be drawn from anyone who has an interest in the history of the RAF and FAA and their antecedents’. It is hoped that membership will be drawn from members of academia, the Ministry of Defence the heritage sector, students, serving and retired members of the RAF and FAA.

Possible Volumes

As with the NRS and ARS, the society would look to publish one volume per year. The society would aim to publish volumes that deals with the following areas:

  • Personal Papers
  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Unpublished Memoirs/Autobiography
  • Themed Documents Collections
  • Miscellany

Challenges

There are several challenges that will need to be surmounted in order to see an Air Force Records Society come to fruition:

  • Setting up a committee
  • Produce a constitution for the society including terms of service for council members
  • Advertising the society
  • Developing a relationship with relevant archival collections
  • Developing a relationship with a relevant publisher in order to produce volumes
  • Receiving proposals for future publications
  • Developing a website

Thoughts welcomed

A New Book – A Military Transformed?

As I have noted over on Birmingham “On War” I have just signed the contracts for my first book. It is a collection of essays from the symposium from April on Transformation and Innovation in the British Military. I will be editing it with Stuart Mitchell and Dr Michael LoCicero. It is to be entitled, A Military Transformed? Transformation and Innovation in the British Military, 1792 to 1945. You can follow updates to it over on the War Studies blog. However, there will be several interesting air power chapters that will be of interest to readers. Here are the air power chapters:

  1. James Pugh (University of Birmingham) ‘Naval Wing Good, Military Wing Bad? An Orwellian inspired analysis of British Aviation Doctrine, 1912-1914’
  2. John Alexander (University of Birmingham) “Despised and Neglected’: Transformation and Innovation in British Air Defence, 1922-1935’
  3. Ross Mahoney (University of Birmingham) ‘Operation JUBILEE and the Transformation of Air Support for Combined Operations: The Case of Command and Control and Aerial Bombardment’
  4. Richard Hammond (University of Exeter) ‘British Aero-Naval Co-Operation in the Mediterranean and the Formation of RAF No. 201 (Naval Co-Operation) Group

These were really interesting papers so should be excellent papers. The book will be published by Helion and Company and will be out in 2013.

Are you an Air Power Studies MPhil/PhD Student?

As I have mentioned previously one of my roles is that I am the Student Representative on the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Air Power Group Committee. In order to help me in this role it would be useful to establish a mailing list for postgraudate researchers working in the field of Air Power Studies so that we may discuss issues that may be taken to the committee. I am also interested in finding out who is currently engaged in doctoral research in order to illustrate the diversity of work that is ongoing. The list would also be a useful way of networking and providing you with information of events and publications that may be of interest. You do not need to be a member of RAeS for this, though membership does give you access to the publications such as the Journal of Aeronautical History.

If you wish to be added to the list, please email me at airpowerstudies@gmail.com with the following details:

Name

Working Thesis Title

Institution

Supervisor

Date of Completion

Email

I would like to hear from as many scholars as possible. Air Power Studies, as a sub-set of the broader War Studies field, encompasses all aspects of History, Strategic Studies, Economics, Law, Ethics, Philosophy and International Relations.

What can the Royal Aeronautical Society do for you?

One of the many activities I undertake is that I am the Student Representative on the committee of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Air Power Group. The group is one of the specialist groups of the society and ‘it arose from the wish of the then President of the Society to promote interest in the study of air power and to enable the Society to offer views on air power topics.’ One of the great success of the group has been the establishment of the Senior Research Fellow in Air Power Studies at the University of Birmingham, which is held by Air Commodore (ret’d) Dr Peter Gray. This position has seen an expansion in the provision of the academic study of air power with the emergence of an MA in Air Power: History, Theory and Practice and numerous PhD students now studying the topic at Birmingham. Because of this increased provision, I ‘volunteered’ to act as a student representative.

Therefore, what I would like to know from those students at any institution studying air power related topics (this is broadly defined, and encompasses history, law, ethics, and strategic studies related topics) is what can the group do for you? What support can be provided? All ideas are welcomed. I cannot promise anything but I can take the ideas to the committee and raise any concerns or thoughts that you may have.

Air Power Seminar at the University of Birmingham

The next War Studies Seminar at the Centre for War Studies at the University of Birmingham is an Air Power Seminar and is being given by:

Ross Mahoney

(University of Birmingham)

‘Leadership Effectivness: Understanding a Key Metric of Operational Military History – The Case of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory

The event will be on 17 January 2012. The Seminar meets on TUESDAYS at 5.30 p.m. in Lecture Room 1, 1st Floor, Arts Building.

Has the time come for an Air Force Records Society?

[Cross posted at Thoughts on Military History]

A couple of weeks ago I was involved in a panel discussion on the future of Air Power Studies at the Air Power Workshop held at the Centre for War Studies at the University of Birmingham. I was given the task of talking about some of the issues facing students working in the area of Air Power Studies and entitled it, ‘Air Power Students in an Age of Uncertainty’. A couple of the key issues I raised related to the problems of publishing for emerging scholars in the air power field. The first issue related to the demise of the Air Power Studies series that was published by Frank Cass/Routledge and whether or not there is a future in resurrecting a similar series. Hopefully there may well be.

The other issue I raised was whether or not there was a need to start an Air Force Records Society. Both the Army and the Royal Navy has a records society and given that the history of British Air Power is now more than 100 years old has not the time come for such an endeavour? I think it has. The RAF and its predecessors, the RFC and RNAS, have a rich documentary heritage that should be preserved. If we look at the mission of the Army Records Society this could be easily applied to an air force equivalent:

the object of the Army Records Society is to edit and publish manuscripts relating to the Army and to reprint works of military interest

In terms of the manuscript part of this there are plenty of papers that could be reprinted such as the Papers of Major General Sir David Henderson, which would be an interesting first volume. Of course an obvious volume would be on the papers of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Viscount Trenchard. With regards to works of interest there is a fascinating memoir written by Air Marshal Sir Edgar Kingston-McCloughry which is a refreshing honest and critical work that was never published and languishes in his paper at the Imperial War Museum. There are also plenty of interesting works that could be republished under the auspicious of the society. Given the both the Army and Navy Records Society only tend to publish one volume a year I do not think there is an issue of critical mass with regards to it only being a short-lived enterprise. The other key issue is whether or not there would be enough interest from interested parties.

So the question remains has the time come try to start such an organisation? Would you be interested? I think it has and we must try to preserve the history of the third service.

Thoughts and opinions wanted.

Shock and Awe: A Conference on the History of Aerial Bombing

Details of an interesting conference on bombing at the London School of Economics and Goldsmith College.

A Hundred Years of Bombing from Above

November 2011 marks the centenary of a world-historic event.

An Italian pilot, Guilio Cavotti dropped the first bombs from an aeroplane on to the oasis of Tagiura outside Tripoli.

The development of aerial bombardment was more than just a military revolution.

It changed both war and peace.

It redrew the legal and moral boundaries between civilians and combatants, spread the theatre of war into new environments and expanded the battlefield, making cities into places of mass death and taking warfare into private, domestic spaces.

The conference Shock And Awe: a hundred years of bombing from above will mark this anniversary and explore important elements of the century of bombing that followed the fateful attack on Tegura.

This multi-disciplinary event brings together internationally renowned critics, sociologists, geographers, philosophers and historians to reflect on all aspects of a hundred years of bombing from above.

It will develop a conversation between very different historical experiences and cases of bombing and establish a cosmopolitan conversation about these difficult issues.

The conference will be held at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Goldsmiths, University of London.

More details, including the registration details and programme, can be found here.


Welcome

Welcome to The Aerodrome, the unofficial blog of the Air Power Studies students at the University of Birmingham.

Please note all opinions expressed are those of the contributors and should not be taken to be those of the University of Birmingham, the Ministry of Defence or any other organisation or body.

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