News Round-Up – December 12th 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth Royal Navy CVF carrier

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

Armed Forces face ‘completely unacceptable’ delay to pay rise
(Telegraph)

Theresa May orders ministers to cool public dispute over defence
(The Guardian)

Qatar Goes Ahead With $6.7 Billion Typhoon Combat Jets Deal With UK’s BAE Systems
(U.S. News & World Report)

The F-35 could intercept a North Korean missile launch — but it could bring an all-out war
(AOL)

Forces children’s charity which scooped a Sun Millie faces closure after Government denies funding
(The Sun)

‘Prepare for invasion’ Ex-MoD UFO chief drafts WAR PLAN for future ALIEN assault
(Express)

EU Army to be formed by 2025 – but France and Germany CLASH over defence plans
(Express)


British Army News

Can you find the camouflaged soldier hidden in this viral photo?
(Atlanta Journal)

Indian & British Army flex muscles in joint anti-terrorism exercise
(India Today)

Tank Driving Trainers To Strike
(Forces Network)

Royal Office minister meets top British military official
(Times of Oman)

New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online
(The Register)


Royal Air Force News

Corrie McKeague: Mother of missing RAF serviceman ‘now knows’ her son is not in landfill
(ITV News)

Member of Brunei royal family was on RAF training course in Shropshire
(Shropshire Star)

RAF Typhoons Return To Fly Sorties Over Estonia
(Forces Network)

Youngster donates his Christmas money to help Bournemouth veteran after RAF plea
(Bournemouth Echo)

How Sly;RAF Tornado crews repeatedly killed US Navy F-14s and F/A-18s in training
(The Drive)


Royal Navy & Marines News

The Queen commissions the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier – HMS Queen Elizabeth (Telegraph)

MoD confirms it is in talks with Brazil over sale of Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean
(Plymouth Herald)

Head of the Royal Navy will fight for our Royal Marines ‘every step of the way’
(Plymouth Herald)

Plymouth could lose 1400 sailors and submariners as Devonport fleet comes under attack
(Plymouth Herald)

I was invited on the Royal Navy’s newest and most powerful aircraft carrier — here’s what it was like
(Business Insider)

Dockyard union calls on Royal Navy work for Rosyth to stave off job cuts
(The Courier)

Ex-RN helicopter in Irish service to be named after crewmember lost in accident
(Irish Examiner)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

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December 10th 1899 – “Black Week” in South Africa

The Second Anglo-Boer War (sometimes referenced simply as the Boer War in the UK although there was an earlier conflict fought between 1880 and 1881) was fought between the British Empire in Africa and the Boers, a combined force from the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State. The Boer Republics declared war on Britain on October 11th 1899 after years of escalation and fears of Britain attempting to annex their territories for their gold and diamond deposits. The war would last until May 31st 1902 with a British victory and the absorption of their defeated foe’s lands in to the British Empire.

In 1899, Britain was overconfident regarding the state of her imperial security in the south African region and as such was woefully under-prepared for when the Boers struck. The Boer forces moved through much of the sparsely defended countryside while laying siege to the fortified British positions in towns like Kimberley and Ladysmith.

Then in one disastrous week beginning on December 10th 1899, the British Army suffered three devastating defeats by the forces of the Boer Republics. This week would become known as “Black Week”. The first came at Stormberg where Sir William Gatacre’s exhausted forces were beaten after undertaking a night march through heavy rain.

Second 2nd Anglo Boer War South Africa Black Week 1899 1902The next day on December 11th, an expedition under Lord Methuen that had been attempting to relieve the besieged town of Kimberley was also defeated by Boer forces at Magersfontein. Among the 1,000 British casualties at Magersfontein was Major-General Andrew Gilbert Wauchope CB CMG whose loss exacerbated the sense of disaster regarding the battle in Africa and back home.

On the following Friday, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in South Africa General Sir Redvers Henry Buller VC GCB GCMG was defeated attempting to relieve the town of Ladysmith. The battle at Colenso cost over 1,000 British casualties and forced Redvers in to retreat. This defeat brought an end to the “Black Week” and proved a wake-up call to the British who began a massive build-up of reinforcements.

There were several factors that led to these disasters. Firstly, the British forces in Africa were used to fighting rebel tribesmen armed with spears rather than a well disciplined force armed with equivalent weapons to themselves. The British also struggled to organise themselves effectively beyond the immediate battlefield which meant opportunities to take advantage of weaknesses in the Boer lines were missed. Finally, the Boers were fighting in territory they had grown up in whereas much of the British force consisted of troops brought in from across the Empire such as Australia and New Zealand as well as Britain itself.

All these lessons would be learned and through 1900 and 1901 the Boers would be beaten back until their final defeat in 1902.

D-class Submarines of the Royal Navy

At the dawn of the 20th century, the submarine was firmly establishing itself within the world’s navies and the Royal Navy began to seriously look at its future applications. In 1905, a committee was set up to finalise the specifications for the next class of British submarine which would be significantly larger than the C-class boats which were then just entering service. While the C-class and the classes before it were short ranged vessels primarily operated in the coastal and harbour protection role, the new class would be the first British submarines designed for a more offensive role requiring greater endurance to conduct patrols at sea.

royal navy c class submarine world war 1 one

C-class submarine

The resulting D-class submarine was one of the most influential designs in the history of the submarine service incorporating numerous innovations that would be carried on in later classes. It was obvious from the very start that the new class of submarine was going to be significantly bigger than the types then being fielded in order to carry sufficient fuel and provisions for its longer ranged mission. They would also have to take greater consideration in to crew comfort and accommodation than previous classes. This saw the new design eventually swell to over twice the displacement of the C-class coming in at 483 tons on the surface and 595 submerged.

The shape of the new sub would also be came radically different compared to the C-class with the fitting of ballast tanks mounted externally along the pressure hull, a feature that would continue until the Oberon-class launched in 1960. These had the advantage of offering a significant increase in reserve buoyancy that made the submarine easier to manoeuvre and safer to operate in unsettled waters. It also freed up considerably more space inside the pressure hull for fuel and supplies. Another feature included in the design aimed at increasing stability was the fitting of hydroplanes on the forward half of the hull as well as the rear. These had been introduced on the C-class but unlike the earlier type they were positioned so that they remained submerged even when the submarine was cruising on the surface while the aft hydroplane was much further forward due to the unusual shape of the external ballast tanks. The angle of rise and dive angles were set at 50 degrees with the forward hydroplane and 70 degrees in the rear.

Perhaps the biggest departure for British submarine design that the D-class undertook was the adoption of a diesel-fuelled engine for cruising on the surface. This offered numerous advantages over the previous petrol-powered types including importantly for its envisioned mission, greater economy. It was also considerably safer since it was found that explosive fumes often built up in the pumps when using petrol engines. The French Navy had launched the world’s first diesel-powered submarine, the Aigrette, the same year the D-class committee met, proving the concept worked although there were some misgivings especially concerning reliability. The two diesel engines were 600hp units developed by Vickers and each drove their own propellers making the D-class the first British twin-screw submarine type. For propulsion underwater the diesels were cut off and power was provided by a 410kw electric motor.

The D-class had a comparatively impressive range of around 2,500 nautical miles making it a truly ocean-going warship while it could cruise at an economical 5 knots submerged for 45 nautical miles. The committee had demanded that the submarines be capable of around 13 knots on the surface and while it was reported that some of the class could on occasion exceed this figure they generally didn’t travel faster than 11 knots. They were designed for a top speed of 10 knots submerged but the actual speed was closer to 9 although it was rare for them to operate at such speeds due to the significant drain on the batteries this would incur.

Primary armament consisted of two forward 18-inch torpedoes mounted in tubes located vertically on top of one another and with a single reload available for each. The tubes were covered by a one-piece external cap designed to be rotated through 90 degrees to reveal them when it came time to fire. The size of the D-class led some on the design committee to raise concerns that it would not be manoeuvrable enough to escape attack by an enemy vessel and so provision was made for an aft torpedo tube that could be used to launch a torpedo at a pursuing attacker. Unlike the earlier coastal types which could signal the shore with lamps or semaphore, the sea-going nature of the D-class made wireless a requirement from the start and as such it was the first British submarine to be designed with the capability. The aerial was mounted in the coning tower and was extended when riding on the surface but unfortunately was quite short ranged.

D-class submarine Royal Navy World War One WWI

So many innovations were being incorporated in to this new design that the committee demanded that the construction of the first-of-class be undertaken by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness under a veil of total secrecy. The building where HMS D1 was laid down on May 14th 1907 was therefore heavily guarded and all workers sworn to secrecy. The naval race with the Kaiser’s Germany was now in full swing and Germany was building their own submarines starting with the SM U-1 based on the Karp-class designed by Spaniard Raimondo Lorenzo d’Equevilley Montjustin for the Imperial Russian Navy. While inferior to the D-class, the U-1 was an impressive start for the Germans when it was compared to the previous British classes. Further east, the Russians began construction of the Akula as HMS D1 neared completion in 1907 but both these designs were still inferior to the British sub.

D-class submarine royal navy world war one 1 I (1)D1 was launched at Barrow-in-Furness on May 16th 1918, a year and two days after she was laid down, in a secret ceremony where the only invited guests were a handful of officers from the depot ship HMS Mercury. The submarine was formally commissioned in to the Royal Navy in September 1909 by which time work had started on HMS D2 and HMS D3 at Barrow. On May 3rd 1910, D1 received a new commander in Lieutenant Noel F. Laurence (later Admiral Laurence) who commanded the submarine through that year’s annual naval exercise. The exercise was the chance to get some invaluable experience of the new type engaged in operations similar to what it might experience in war. After loading supplies and fuel in Portsmouth, D1 slipped out of harbour and transited to its operating area off the west coast of Scotland completely undetected by the British Home Fleet. The submarine then conducted a three-day patrol simulating two attacks on British cruisers before putting back to port. Key to remaining undetected was D1’s battery capacity which allowed it to remain submerged during the bulk of daylight hours (in winter the D-class was found that it could remain submerged throughout the fewer daylight hours.)

This highly successful exercise was unfortunately marred by repeated troubles with the revolutionary diesel engines. The fact that D1 had two diesel engines meaning there was always a spare to fall back on was viewed as positively as possible by its supporters but it was clear Vickers had to address this problem if the D-class was to be a success. Despite grand ambitions for a fleet of 18 D-class vessels, the orders was scaled back to ten to allow Vickers time to remedy the reliability issues with the diesels so that these could be implemented on the recently laid down D4, D5, D6, D7 and D8. The latter two vessels in the class were constructed at Chatham Royal Dockyard in Kent and were followed by HMS D9 and D10.  During this time, the D-class would find itself receiving yet another first when D4 was completed with a 12-pounder quick firing deck gun and while this would not be fitted to any other members of the class, deck guns would remain on British designs until after World War II.

As experience on HMS D1 and D2 filtered back, a series of recommendations for improvements were submitted and began to be incorporated in HMS D9 and D10. These improvements became so extensive and included greater armament, increased displacement and improved engines that they became a new class entirely. As such D9 and D10 became the first of the new E-class submarines which would serve with great distinction during the Great War however they would also scupper plans for anymore D-class boats. HMS D6 would be the final D-class to be commissioned (April 19th 1912) while D8 was built to a marginally different configuration incorporating redesigned hydroplanes that were all set at 50 degrees for changing depth as opposed to the 50/70 split in the previous vessels. Along with the E-class fleet, the eight D-class boats formed the backbone of the Royal Navy’s patrol submarine force upon the outbreak of war in August 1914.

D-class submarine royal navy world war one 1 I (3)On August 28th 1914, the Royal Navy met the German Navy in their first major engagement of the war at the First Battle of the Heligoland Bight. The battle took place in the south-eastern North Sea after a British force attacked German patrols off the north-west German coast. Although entirely a surface action, British submarines did play their part and among them was HMS D2 and D8 who were tasked with patrolling the mouth to the River Ems in north-west Germany to block any German reinforcements that may attempt to enter the battle.

Nearly two months later, D8 was sent to shadow the German hospital ship Ophelia which was reportedly looking for survivors from German torpedo boats destroyed in an engagement with HMS Undaunted. The British had become suspicious of the hospital ship because of the amount of radio communication it was making with the German Admiralty and when her crew spotted the British submarine’s periscope they quickly changed course and headed for home even though they were protected under the articles of war which both sides respected in the early months. The M-class destroyer HMS Meteor was sent to inspect the ship under international law and observed her commanding officer throwing secret documents overboard as it approached. The British decided to seize the vessel as a war prize believing it had been spying on British warships thus invalidating its hospital ship status. The British renamed the ship SS Huntley and used it for transporting fuel from Portishead to Boulogne before it was sunk by UB-10 on December 21st 1915.

The class would suffer its first combat loss on November 3rd 1914. D5 was sailing near South Cross Buoy off Great Yarmouth in pursuit of German Admiral Franz von Hipper’s battlecruisers that had raided Yarmouth the day before when it struck a mine laid by the SMS Stralsund. There were only five survivors including Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert who had been in command. Almost three weeks later on November 23rd 1914, D2’s commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Arthur Jameson was washed overboard while the submarine was charging its batteries on the surface. The submarine was then put under the command of Lieutenant Commander Clement Head but his captaincy would be shortlived for on November 25th, just two days after Jameson’s death, D2 was spotted by a German patrol boat on the surface off Borkum which proceeded to ram the British vessel. The submarine quickly sank taking Head and his entire crew of 25 with it.

Along with the E-class fleet, the D-class spent much of the early war years patrolling the Heligoland Bight as part of the British effort to contain the German Navy in port. On June 15th 1915, HMS D4 under the command of Lieutenant Commander John R. G. Moncreiffe stumbled across the unfortunate German netlayer Bielefeld that had ran aground and was being assisted by a German destroyer. Seizing the opportunity, Moncreiffe attacked the destroyer with a single torpedo which unfortunately missed and alerted the Germans to D4’s presence. The destroyer powered up and went in pursuit of the submarine in the extremely shallow water attempting to ram its coning tower that was only just below the surface. Luckily for Moncreiffe and his crew, he eventually managed to evade the destroyer and return to the position of the Bielefeld where they sank the German ship before escaping out to sea.

On August 13th 1917, D6 under the command of Commander William Richardson took part in an effort to lure out German U-boats using a decoy sailing vessel, HMS Prize so-named because she was actually a German topsail schooner captured in the English Channel mere hours after the war began. During the patrol, the two British vessels encountered the U-Boat UB-48 which exchanged gunfire with Prize before disappearing. Later that night close to midnight, D6 was on the surface when they observed Prize explode from a torpedo hit from UB-48 which had returned under the cover of darkness before escaping again. Prize sank with all hands.

D-class submarine royal navy world war one 1 I (3)

On September 12th 1917, D7 under the command of Lieutenant Oswald E. Hallifax was cruising off the coast of Northern Ireland when he and his men spotted the German U-boat U-45. U-45’s war up to that point had been a successful one having sunk 45,622 tons of allied shipping. Hallifax dispatched a torpedo at the U-boat which struck the rear of U-45 as its crew attempted to dive to safety. U-45 sank killing all but two of its crew who were rescued by D7 and taken prisoner.

HMS D3 2

The crew of HMS D3 

Tragedy was narrowly averted on February 10th 1918 when D7 was mistakenly depth charged by the M-class destroyer HMS Pelican. Now under the command of Lieutenant George Tweedy, D7 managed to surface and show her flag to the Pelican before any serious damage was done. Not as lucky however was D3 which on March 12th 1918, found itself the focus of attention from French airship AT-0 off Fecamp in the English Channel which mistook the identification rockets the British crew released for being German. The French airship dropped a series of bombs on the British submarine which sent it under the waves. Survivors of the attack managed to escape the doomed submarine and it was only when the French airmen heard them speaking English did they realise their mistake. Efforts to rescue the men proved to be in vain and they had drowned by the time help arrived.

D4 would add another U-boat to the D-class’ list of victims on May 12th 1918 when under the command of Lieutenant Claud Barry, it attacked and sank UB-72 in the English Channel south of Weymouth. The U-boat had been in service with the Germans for just eight months but accounted for sinking over 10,000 tons of allied shipping. Only three of the crew survived the sinking.

A month later on June 24th 1918, the D-class fleet would suffer its last wartime loss when D6 was attacked by UB-73 with a torpedo from a range of just 80 meters. UB-73’s torpedo passed under D6 and exploded throwing a column of water 30-40 feet into the air. At first it appeared D6 was unscathed but approximately half a minute later the front of the British submarine pitched down abruptly and it sank soon afterwards. Only two of D6’s crew survived the sinking and were taken prisoner by the Germans. When these men were questioned over the sinking after the war, the British Admiralty determined that the torpedo must have employed a magnetic pistol; a device used to trigger the warhead by detecting the magnetic field around a metal object such as a ship. UB-73 would survive the war to be surrendered to the French.

As 1918 drew on, the surviving four D-class vessels were becoming increasingly obsolete compared to the newer types then being fielded by the Royal Navy. When it was decided to conduct experiments in to new ways to detect a submerged submarine such as with piezoelectric hydrophones dipped in to the sea from airships (a precursor to modern ASW helicopters), the 10-year old D1 was chosen to be deliberately sunk off Dartmouth harbour. The submarine was sunk to a depth of 25 fathoms (150 feet) on October 23rd 1918 for the trials.

The remaining three submarines were briefly retained by the Royal Navy after the war but seldom went to sea or even had a permanent crew assigned. D4, D7 and D8 were then decommissioned in 1919 before being sold for scrap in December 1921 to H. Pounds based in Portsmouth. Despite their problematic birth, the D-class can be considered a success in their own right. However, their contribution to the development of British submarines and their operation cannot be overstated and would prove the genesis from which nearly every major British submarine class was derived until the nuclear age.

 

 

 

 

The First Changing of the Queen’s Guard by the Royal Navy at Buckingham Palace

Royal Navy sailors have performed the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace for the first time in the ceremony’s 357-year history. Eighty-six sailors from 45 Royal Navy ships and establishments spent a month preparing ahead of the first ceremony on Sunday morning.

Representing many branches of the Royal Navy, the Senior Service’s traditional navy blue uniforms have replaced for a short period, the distinctive red tunics worn by the Foot Guards. Starting at Buckingham Palace in full show of the general public, they are also set to Mount Royal Guards at Windsor Castle, The Tower of London and St James’s Palace over the next few weeks.

“The last time the Navy had an operational role guarding the Queen was with Elizabeth the first, when Sir Walter Raleigh was appointed Captain of the Queen’s Guard in 1587,” said Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Lieutenant Commander Steve Elliot and Raleigh’s successor in the role. “So it goes back a little while.”

News Round-Up – November 27th 2017

UK United Kingdom Royal air force navy raf f-25b lightning II VSTOL

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

UK government set to compromise over defence cuts after Tory revolt
(The Guardian)

As pressures mount over the funding of UK defence, has a ‘fog of war’ descended over the arms industry?
(Telegraph)

Theresa May To Reaffirm UK’s Commitment To European Security Amid Fresh Brexit Talks
(Forces Network)

F-35 fighter jet production ‘provided massive boost to UK economy’
(BT.com)

‘WW2’ shell handed in to Exeter police
(BBC News)

Morgan Sindall Wins GBP250 Million Contract From UK Defence Ministry
(Interactive Investor)

‘We keep searching’ for Argentine sub after ‘explosion’ report, navy says
(fox6now)

Thorntons Christmas ad passes on the love to armed forces charity
(The Drum)


British Army News

Joint exercise of Indo-UK armies to be held in Bikaner
(Times of India)

Family of men killed by SAS in Afghanistan given £3364 by British Government
(The Independent)

New Technology Recovers Fingerprints From IEDs And Fired Ammunition
(Forces Network)

James Corry: IRA bomber ‘released from German jail after four days’
(The Irish News)

British Army explores augmented reality
(Shephard Media)

The War On Poaching: British Forces On The Front Line
(Forces Network)


Royal Air Force News

RAF base continues preparations for fighter jet arrival
(ITV News)

The Spitfire that time couldn’t bury
(Yorkshire Post)

‘Keep Windscreens Clean To Prevent Collisions’, Fighter Pilots Advised
(Forces Network)

Firefighting museum vehicles moved out of RAF Scampton
(BBC News)

RAF Benevolent Fund create digital storytelling experience for supporters
(UK Fundraising)

RAF Atlas takes over in Middle East
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RAF Recruits Gear Up for 100th Anniversary
(Forces Network)

UK aims to certify P-8 by early 2019
(IHS Jane’s 360)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal Navy sailors perform Changing of the Guard in historic first
(Telegraph)

Royal Navy ship HMS Diamond ‘breaks down’ in Gulf
(BBC News)

Call to save HMS Repulse before WWII resting place of 500 Royal Navy crewmen is destroyed by Java Sea looters
(Telegraph)

Royal Navy frigates at Portsmouth and Devonport reorganised
(BBC News)

Kernel of truth: Life-sized nutcrackers reveal key moments in naval history
(Shropshire Star)

British Royal Navy’s HMS Albion training exercise continues
(Naval Technology)

Centenary of Women’s Royal Naval Service marked at Ulster Museum
(Belfast Newsletter)

BAE Systems awarded £18m Royal Navy contract
(Insider Media)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

News Round-Up – November 20th 2017

British Army Challenger 2 II main battle tank

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

Britain’s new military BFF (Best Friend France)
(POLITICO.eu)

MoD Figures Show British Armed Forces Falling In Strength
(Forces Network)

Former Defence Ministers Call For More Cash To Be Pumped Into The Armed Forces
(Forces Network)

Putin Wants to Rebuild Soviet Union, Former Head of British Army Warns
(Newsweek)

Fightback over defence cuts as political choices jeopardise our nation’s security
(Mirror)

£2500 Ministry of Defence grant pays for therapy garden at primary school
(Schools Week)

Jet engine inventor’s son visits Wright-Patterson
(Dayton Daily News)

Royal Navy And British Army Unite For Drill Practice
(Forces Network)


British Army News

Tanks here to stay say army on Battle of Cambrai’s 100-year anniversary
(Times & Star)

The Battle of Cambrai: ‘We had a sense of victory for the first time’
(BBC News)

Is the British Army on the Verge of Developing Super Ammo?
(The National Interest Online)

British military dog receives highest honor for valor
(KOMO News)

Goodbye Comfort Zone: Teenagers Get Taste Of Army Life
(Forces Network)

British Invasion! Royal Army sending more troops to train at Ft Polk
(KALB News)

Francis Rowntree killing ‘not justified’ – coroner
(BBC News)

Joseph Parker inquest: New witness ‘saw soldier shoot at man’
(BBC News)


Royal Air Force News

David Davis demanded the RAF fly him to Brexit negotiations
(Business Insider Nordic)

New Air Training Corps members recite the ‘cadets promise’
(Lynn News)

RAF Shawbury officer awarded flight safety award for drone awareness campaign
(Shropshire Star)

Babcock seals the deal for £160m worth of contracts with the Royal Air Force
(City A.M.)

UK RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier calls on ACM Dhanoa
(City Today)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Crack Royal Navy squad sent in to save missing Argentina submarine crew from beneath the waves
(The Sun)

Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown warns Royal Marines could ‘disappear in six years
(Mirror)

Queen to commission Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth on 7 December
(Naval Technology)

Royal Navy sailors set for a historic first as they guard the Queen
(The Portsmouth News)

Trident submarine plans facing a ‘perfect storm’ of problems, says MoD report
(Herald Scotland)

Royal Navy divers destroy wartime bomb found 60m from North Sea gas pipe
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)

Royal Navy commanders to use drones to track Russian ships near British waters
(Express)

Royal Navy rescues solo yachtsman stricken in rough seas in Bay of Biscay
(Sky News)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire interview

In the third of the RAF Centre for Air Power Studies rarely-seen before historic ‘leadership’ themed videos, inspirational wartime leader and world-renowned humanitarian, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC is interviewed by Group Captain (later Air Vice-Marshal) Tony Mason CB CBE DL at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell, February 1978. During the interview Group Captain Cheshire discusses his now legendary record of achievements throughout his service during WWII.

Group Captain Cheshire received a commission as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on November 16th 1937. Although he demonstrated considerable prowess in training as a single seat pilot, by a vagary of the system he was destined to be posted to Bomber Command. During the War his command appointments included 76 Squadron, 617 Squadron, and RAF Marston Moor and he was, at one time, the youngest group captain in the RAF. By July 1944 he had completed a total of 102 missions, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation simply states: ‘Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader’.

After the war, Cheshire founded the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability and devoted the remainder of his life to pursuing humanitarian ideals. His obituary in the Independent (1992) declares that ‘LEONARD CHESHIRE was one of the most remarkable men of his generation, perhaps the most remarkable’.