Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Salmond/Longcroft/Smith-Barry - Private Papers and Training

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm researching training in the RFC during the FWW. I'm keen to get behind some of the prevalent stories and see what archival truth there is to it. I'm pretty sure that Sir John Salmond, Sir Charles Longcroft and Robert Smith-Barry (SB) left no collection of private papers but I'd be delighted to be told that's not true!?


I am aware of papers at the RAFM on Salmond and some of Tredrey's material there on SB. I'm particularly interested in hearing opinions on SB that aren't grounded in Tredrey's work. I wonder if the significant ground work hasn't already been laid by Salmond and Guy Livingston in advance of SB's arrival. By all accounts SB was a maverick and individualist and while known to Trenchard from Upavon I find it slightly strange that Trenchard would have been as enthused with his personality or to pluck him from France with the words that Boyle states in his biography "“It’s about time you went home to try out these ideas you’ve been pestering me with. I’ve told the training people. So don’t let me or yourself down.”


Is there evidence of this in Trenchard's papers or was Boyle seeking credit for Trenchard in SB's reputation? 


Is it credible that an individualist like SB who was later promoted and demoted under a cloud for underhand dealings directly with Rothermere would have had the organisational abilities or backing to create what he is deemed to have created? There was allegedly a significant spat between Longcroft and Rothermere in this period where Boyle quotes the source as "Longcroft corroborated by Trenchard papers" but Trenchard wasn't there and I can't find any papers related to Longcroft.


Interested in any interesting sources or hearing from anyone with a view, evidence or simply an opinion! :thumbsup::)



Link to post
Share on other sites



This is from the Acknowledgements section of Ralph Barker's book "A Brief History of the Royal Flying Corps in World War 1':


' Material extracted from the PRO files includes personal memoirs and recollection of individual RFC personnel from files in the Class Air 1 Series, including 721, 2126, 2356, 2387, 2388, 2389, 2393, 2395 and 2413. Among those quoted from the series are ( a list of names follows) - R. Smith- Barry.'


'The Little Collection with grateful  thanks for site of documents in the archive: ( a list of names follows) - R. Smith Barry.


I hope this helps.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave, thanks for your reply. I assume that he refers to the Liddle Collection at Leeds. As far as I'm aware, what is actually in the collection is Tredrey's biography of him, and not a collection of private papers. I do have a host of papers to view there so I will check with the archivist.


There's nothing that I can see specifically SB related in his NA files either, a number of those references refer to interviews done with attendees at the Staff College which will contain anecdotal info.


Thanks again.


Also Dave/David! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...