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.
Published October 10, 2011
Air Power History , Air Power Studies , War Studies
Tags: Aerial warfare, Air Force Records Society, Army, Army Records Society, David Henderson, Imperial War Museum, Navy Records Society, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, University of Birmingham
[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.
Published September 26, 2011
Air Power History , Air Power Studies , Events , War Studies
Tags: Aerial warfare, Air Power Doctrine, Leadership, Staff College, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, University of Birmingham, War Studies
This year the following air power seminars will take place at the War Studies Seminar at the University of Birmingham.
11 October 2011
James Pugh (University of Birmingham)
‘Early British Air Power Doctrine and the Influence of the Staff College, 1908-14’
17 January 2012
Ross Mahoney (University of Birmingham)
‘Leadership Effectiveness: Understanding a Key Metric of Operational Military History – Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory, a Case Study’
They will take place at 5:30pm in the Arts Lecture Room 3, First Floor, Arts Building, University of Birmingham