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Trenchard, Hugh

STEPHEN J. HARRIS and P. FACON


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


Extract

(1873–1956) Trenchard entered the British army through the militia, which offered the easiest route to a commission, and on his second try was appointed a subaltern in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He saw service in India, in South Africa during the Boer War, and in Nigeria before returning to England and, in 1912, transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. At the outbreak of the First World War he was appointed to command the RFC's Military Wing at Farnborough, where he was responsible for producing squadrons for service at the front and defending Britain against attack by German airships. He was offered command of the RFC's First Wing in France in the autumn of 1914 and was then appointed General Officer Commanding the Royal Flying Corps in August 1915. This gave Trenchard the opportunity to put into effect the ideas he had developed about tactical bombing and army support and, perhaps even more important, the need to fight in strength for air supremacyan offensive strategy which cost lives and was criticized by airmen and politicians alike but from which Trenchard never shrank. Named Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in 1917, Trenchard was not yet an advocate of either strategic bombing or of an independent Royal Air Force, believing it was the airman's first duty to support the army in the field, and he did not support the creation of a separate RAF on 1 April 1918. His resignation as ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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