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Remembered Today:

RAF group base 1918-1919


Teddie
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A friend has posed a question to me regarding a recently acquired postcard showing a group photo of No8 (t) group H Otr's RAF Southamton, can anybody shed any light as to who and what they are? and where they were bases? The image includes Naval (RNAS ?) personnel women and what looks to be RFC.

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Here's the photo, if that helps the experts - s-l1600.jpg

 

(Before the experts arrive, i'd like to bet 50p on No.8 (Training) Group. Apparently the "training" part was added in August 1918. Possibly, they were in Gosport at some stage). 

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Maybe along the road at Grange? (just over the fence from where I'm sitting)

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Yes, it looks like Gosport, a training airfield constructed from early 1914.Its first residence unit was No 5 Squadron which flew in from Netheravon in July 1914.Its presence there was short and the airfield was vacated when the first RFC  units departed for France....at the time the RFC did not have enough strength in manpower and aircraft to man the airfield. After that a series of units passed through the place.

 

Its claim to notability was the arrival of Major R R Smith-Barry in December 1916 to take command of No1 Reserve Squadron.Smith- Barry had observed the quality of pilots posted to the Western Front and sought to set up structured training headed by dedicated instructors.From his training notes he received encouragement from General Salmond who sanctioned the formation of the Gosport Special School of Flying involving the amalgamation of Nos 1,25 and 55 Training Squadrons from August 1917.Smith -Barry's training methods were then accepted throughout RFC  training from early 1918.

 

With the formation of the RAF,new structures were introduced and RAF Gosport was placed in No 2 Area with each area having its own dedicated training organisation. No 8 Group at Gosport still accommodated what had become the No1 Special School of Flying.From July 1918 the areas were renamed geographically and the RAF Gosport training unit unit became the South West Area Flying Instructor's School.HQ Gosport was established in late October 1918 to deal with a collection of units but the Armistice saw its future threatened.However the station survived when it was named to be the home of the RAF Torpedo School in July 1919 and in September 1919 was then selected as a permanent RAF airfield within the Coastal Area as a No 10 Group Station.

 

Smith -Barry largely forgotten but must be regarded as the father of structured flying training in the RFC which then continued from the formation of the RAF.

 

As regards uniforms,personnel transferred from the RNAS or RFC tended to use items of uniforms from their previous service until the RAF uniform, as determined by the Air Ministry,was issued.

 

I cannot see the image clearly.One thing intrigues me,I have never heard of a RAF Southampton before but it may be explained by the fact that when the RAF was formed,Gosport was placed in the No 2 Area within No 8 Group whose HQ was at Southampton.

 

Further research regarding Gosport when the RFC vacated it for France. After the airfield had been without a unit for 2 months.the RNAS stepped in and took hold of the airfield bringing in their No 1 Squadron which was in residence until the squadron was posted to Dover in January 1915.Apparently the RFC were displeased with RNAS requisition of the airfield and immediately posted in ,in turn,Nos 8,13 and 17 Squadrons utilising nearby forts,Fort Grange and Fort Rowner for accommodation.

Edited by Frank_East
RAF HQ at Southampton. RNAS presence at Gosport.
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The SOUTHAMPTON reference might stem from the time when areas surrounding the outside of the Town of Southampton where referred to as the 'County of Southampton' not Hampshire.

Edited by Teddie
correction of wording
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Teddie,

 

Is it in order for me to send a copy of the image to a friend in the Gosport library?

 

sJ

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1 hour ago, seaJane said:

Teddie,

 

Is it in order for me to send a copy of the image to a friend in the Gosport library?

 

sJ

I haven't posted the image, I believe it was IPT that did that.

 

Teddie

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Oops, my mistake! I was hoping the colleague might be able to ID the building.

16 minutes ago, Teddie said:

I haven't posted the image, I believe it was IPT that did that.

 

Teddie

 

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1 hour ago, mickdavis said:

8 Group HQ were at 1 Cumberland Place, Southampton. Wouldn't be surprised if that was the building shown.

Certainly not what no.1 looks like now, but this shows nos. 2-4 Click

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1 hour ago, mickdavis said:

8 Group HQ were at 1 Cumberland Place, Southampton. Wouldn't be surprised if that was the building shown.

Just checked out the Street directories for Cumberland Place for 1916-17 and 1920, in the first was a doctors surgery and the Trojan Club, and the club features again in the 1920 directory, I'm more incline to think it was more Easterly than Southampton town, anywhere between Netley and Gosport.

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