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Naval School, Eastchurch

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1911 February: Frank McClean offered The Admiralty the loan of aeroplanes for the purposes of instructing Naval Officers in aviation. The Admiralty then asked for volunteers from Officers of the Fleet to undergo a course of flying instruction at Eastchurch. This resulted in over 200 names being submitted. Four Officers were selected to undergo the first course, which began on March 2nd 1911 - Lieutenants C. R. Samson, R. Gregory and A. M. Longmore and Capt. E.L. Gerrard RMLI.

Another member of the Aero Club, Mr G.B. Cockburn, gave up a year of his time entirely free of cost to the Admiralty, to instruct these Officers in the art of flying. The initial course was satisfactorily carried out with only two minor crashes. In addition these Officers underwent a course of technical training at Short Brothers Works at Eastchurch, and also visited the principal French aeroplane factories and the French Military Aeroplane Trials held at Rheims, with a view to studying foreign developments.

The original agreement between Mr McClean and the Admiralty was that two machines should be lent in which the Naval pilots should be taught. In October 1911, Lieut. Samson R.N., the first Commanding Officer of Eastchirch, persuaded the Admiralty to buy two training machines and sent 12 ratings there as the basis of a Naval Flying School. This was agreed to by the Admiralty, with the result that on December 25th 1911, agreement was reached between them; the Royal Aero Club, the brothers Short and Mr F.C. McClean for the Admiralty to rent the Aerodrome for £150 per year with a proviso that they (the Admiralty) could if they so desired, purchase the ground at a rate of £16 per acre as from December 25th 1918.

1912 The Committee of Imperial defence recommended that the Naval Wing of the Flying Corps should be established at the Naval Flying School at Eastchurch pending the development of the Central Flying School. In mid-1912 the flying certificates issued were described as Royal Naval Aviation School, Eastchurch

By 1913 barracks had been built at Eastchurch for the Naval personnel and the school was also described as the Royal Naval Flying School[1]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Frank McClean: The Godfather to British Naval Aviation By Philip Jarrett