BT Tower (Birmingham)
The BT Tower known as the Post Office Tower and the GPO Tower is a famous landmark and telecommunications tower in Birmingham, is the tallest structure in the city. Its Post Office code was YBMR. Construction of the tower commenced in July 1963 and was completed in September 1965; the tower became operational in December 1966 and was opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman James S. Meadows, on 5 October 1967, it was designed by the Ministry of Public Building and Works with M. H. Bristow being the senior architect, it has 26 storeys, housing technical areas and offices, five levels of circular aerial galleries at the top. The original intention was to build a circular tower similar to the London one but without the public floors above the aerial galleries. At one time the Post Office wanted to increase the height from 500 feet, agreed by the Ministry of Aviation, to 600 feet; this was refused in order to avoid non-standard procedures for aircraft approaching Birmingham Airport from the north-west.
Cost over-runs on the London tower led to a review of the Birmingham design, it was decided to use a circular design of the'Chilterns' type as used at Stokenchurch, Pye Green, Sutton Common, Heaton Park and Tinshill radio stations, but with the internal diameter increased from 32 feet to 37 feet to provide sufficient space on the equipment floors. The square design, as built, was proposed for aesthetic reasons by the Chief Architect of the Ministry of Public Building and Works; the tower was designed to be stable in high winds. Channels at each corner funnel the wind to counteract the force of the wind swaying the structure. A stable platform is necessary so that the microwave dishes mounted on the side of the structure keep line of sight with the remote transmitter they are communicating with. There were two steel rails on one wall on which a trolley was designed to run to carry the dishes up to the aerial galleries; the original horn dishes were too heavy for the roof mounted crane to lift and had to be stripped down in this state they were only just under the crane's maximum load capacity.
The ability to lift dishes was dependent on the weather and to complicate matters, the steel rails only went to the bottom of the first aerial gallery. To get the dishes higher a steel cable system was used, mounted on poles; when the trolley reached the aerial gallery it had to be disconnected from the rails and swung out to attach to the cables. In August 2003, the tower was painted an ultramarine blue to cover the existing light brown which had started to discolour; the balconies were painted to stand out from the tower in a dark shade of blue. On 18 March 2004, Jasper Carrott switched on the night time illuminations of the tower in response to Birmingham City Council's policy of encouraging the illumination of local landmarks; the tower is home to a pair of peregrines, with a webcam installed in 2010. On 5 February 2012 the last of the large analogue aerial dishes was removed following a migration to digital transmission. Around eighty smaller dishes remain. In October 2018, at a meeting between the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council, plans were discussed for the renovation of the tower.
Following Birmingham’s successful bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, as part of the city’s master plan in preparation for the games, the WMCA and Birmingham City Council agreed that the tower needed to be repurposed, with suggestions of a viewing platform or bar and restaurant. There are 24 equipment height floors, a Band Branching area – the square section seen from outside, double the normal floor height, followed by five aerial galleries. Floor numbering used YBMR/A followed by the actual floor number +1, i.e. the Ground Floor was YBMR/A1 etc. The aerial galleries were labelled YBMR/B1-5. List of tallest buildings and structures in Birmingham Skyscrapernews.com's entry BT Tower Peregrine webcam Birmingham's Hidden Spaces: BT Tower
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
10 Holloway Circus
10 Holloway Circus is a 397-foot tall mixed-use skyscraper in Birmingham city centre, England. It is named after the developers, Beetham Organisation, was designed by Ian Simpson and built by Laing O'Rourke; the entire development covers an area of 7,000 square feet. It is the tallest occupied building in Birmingham and the 30th tallest building in the United Kingdom, it has 39 floors, is the second tallest structure in the city after the 499 ft British Telecom Tower. The front façade of the building is floor-to-ceiling glass decorated in "tiger stripes" which are used to enhance the vertical impact; as the apartments were being furbished, an aqua coloured camouflage was added to these windows with some of the tiger stripes being removed. Coloured lights can be seen underneath the overhang at night; the lower 19-floors are a Radisson Blu hotel, which opened to guests on 16 January 2006 whilst the upper floors were still being furnished. The upper 20 floors contain 158 apartments. There are eight circular concrete columns as well as the core on each floor.
The post-tensioned flat plates of the upper floors are concrete and measure 9 in in thickness.10 Holloway Circus received 12 points in the 2006 Emporis Skyscraper Awards placing it in eighth position in the top ten. The plans for the development were first revealed in 1998 as part of a competition in which designs for a tower acting as a gateway to the city centre were to be submitted to the council and for a building that could aid the regeneration plans in and around the area; the site chosen was the AEU Building, designed by The John Madin Design Group and completed in 1957, at Holloway Circus. Two serious proposals were put forward, one by CALA Homes, which consisted of two cylindrical glass towers, the other by the Beetham Corporation, a single 44-storey tower with two spires on the roof producing a total height of 630 feet; the Beetham Corporation won, however it was forced to scale down the towers height, due to height limits enforced after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The spires were removed and replaced by two cones placed on the rear of the tower on top of the stairwells. The overhang at the front was added; the proposed office space was removed and the planning application was withdrawn. The new design was submitted, was withdrawn by the Beetham Corporation after talks over the purchase of the adjacent multi-storey car park with National Car Parks broke down without a deal; this was a surprise to the developers as they had expected to be able to purchase the land and had included their plans for the site in the previous planning application. Amendments to the planning application were made and it was resubmitted in October 2000; the final design was approved by the Planning Department at Birmingham City Council with conditions on 3 April 2003 after the Beetham Corporation paid £1.8 million under Section 106 to gain planning approval. A model of the tower was tested in a wind tunnel with models of surrounding buildings being included; the ground of the model was accurate to that of the Birmingham landscape.
The model passed with few problems and construction of the tower began. Construction began in March 2003 with the erection of hoardings around the site allowing clearance work to commence and the construction of a tower crane; the concrete core began to rise and reached a considerable height before the construction of the concrete floor panels began. The transportation of materials to the higher levels were done using a lift attached to the middle of the curved frontage; that area was intended to be used as a staircase in the case of an emergency. The building topped out in April 2005; the construction of the building encountered several problems. Not far into the construction of the lift shaft, a piece of scaffolding became dislodged and fell to the ground causing traffic delays around Holloway Circus which subsequently resulted in widespread disruption in the city centre. On 24 November 2005, 5 pieces of cladding from the higher levels on the sides became detached from the building and fell to the ground.
No injuries were caused, however fear of more panels falling off caused nearby roads to be closed for an entire weekend, until the site could be declared safe by inspectors. Clips were installed to secure the panels, as of mid-2006, work was underway to permanently secure the panels in place using new clips; the securing of the panels was completed in late-August 2006. The Beetham Corporation could now face legal action due to the structure causing road closures and subsequent congestion. Excluding the problems with the panel clips, construction of the floors took ten months. Concrete was the primary material in the construction of the structure; the Beetham Organisation again faced legal action over claims by people who signed contracts to buy flats before the tower was completed that the flats they received did not match those described in the sales literature. As a result of technical problems within the underground car park, resident's cars were trapped for three days. Cars are placed on a platform and are taken into a space by a computer when the owner's card is swiped, glitches meant that people who had purchased spaces within the park either could not get access to their cars or were unable to enter the car park in their vehicles.10 Holloway Circus faced yet more problems when, on 8 July 2007, a glass panel shattered and sent pieces raining 60 feet onto the ground.
The 6 ft by 3 ft panel on the eighth floor of Beetham Tower is believed to have shattered due to a build up of chemical compounds inside the glass. Splinters fell onto the
An architect is a person who plans and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e. chief builder. Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction. Throughout ancient and medieval history, most of the architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans—such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder; until modern times, there was no clear distinction between engineer. In Europe, the titles architect and engineer were geographical variations that referred to the same person used interchangeably.
It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional'gentleman' architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 15th century but became available after 1500. Pencils were used more for drawing by 1600; the availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas. However, the development was gradual; until the 18th-century, buildings continued to be designed and set out by craftsmen with the exception of high-status projects. In most developed countries, only those qualified with an appropriate license, certification or registration with a relevant body may practice architecture.
Such licensure requires a university degree, successful completion of exams, as well as a training period. Representation of oneself as an architect through the use of terms and titles is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as architectural designer are not protected. To practice architecture implies the ability to practice independently of supervision; the term building design professional, by contrast, is a much broader term that includes professionals who practice independently under an alternate profession, such as engineering professionals, or those who assist in the practice architecture under the supervision of a licensed architect such as intern architects. In many places, non-licensed individuals may perform design services outside the professional restrictions, such design houses and other smaller structures. In the architectural profession and environmental knowledge and construction management, an understanding of business are as important as design.
However, the design is the driving force throughout the project and beyond. An architect accepts a commission from a client; the commission might involve preparing feasibility reports, building audits, the design of a building or of several buildings and the spaces among them. The architect participates in developing the requirements. Throughout the project, the architect co-ordinates a design team. Structural and electrical engineers and other specialists, are hired by the client or the architect, who must ensure that the work is co-ordinated to construct the design; the architect, once hired by a client, is responsible for creating a design concept that both meets the requirements of that client and provides a facility suitable to the required use. The architect must meet with, question, the client in order to ascertain all the requirements of the planned project; the full brief is not clear at the beginning: entailing a degree of risk in the design undertaking. The architect may make early proposals to the client, which may rework the terms of the brief.
The "program" is essential to producing a project. This is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept. Design proposal are expected to be both imaginative and pragmatic. Depending on the place, finance and available crafts and technology in which the design takes place, the precise extent and nature of these expectations will vary. F oresight is a prerequisite as designing buildings is a complex and demanding undertaking. Any design concept must at a early stage in its generation take into account a great number of issues and variables which include qualities of space, the end-use and life-cycle of these proposed spaces, connections and aspects between spaces including how they are put together as well as the impact of proposals on the immediate and wider locality. Selection of appropriate materials and technology must be considered and reviewed at an early stage in the design to ensure there are no setbacks which may occur later; the site and its environs, as well as the culture and history of the place, will influence the design.
The design must countenance increasing concerns with environmental sustainability. The architect may introduce, to greater or lesser degrees, aspects of mathematics and a
The cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or replica, set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with an inscription on the stone indicating the construction dates of the building and the names of architect and other significant individuals; the rite of laying a cornerstone is an important cultural component of eastern architecture and metaphorically in sacred architecture generally. Some cornerstones include time capsules from, or engravings commemorating, the time a particular building was built; the ceremony involved the placing of offerings of grain and oil on or under the stone. These were the people of the land and the means of their subsistence; this in turn derived from the practice in still more ancient times of making an animal or human sacrifice, laid in the foundations.
Frazer in The Golden Bough charts the various propitiary sacrifices and effigy substitution such as the shadow, states that: Nowhere does the equivalence of the shadow to the life or soul come out more than in some customs practised to this day in South-eastern Europe. In modern Greece, when the foundation of a new building is being laid, it is the custom to kill a cock, a ram, or a lamb, to let its blood flow on the foundation-stone, under which the animal is afterwards buried; the object of the sacrifice is to give stability to the building. But sometimes, instead of killing an animal, the builder entices a man to the foundation-stone, secretly measures his body, or a part of it, or his shadow, buries the measure under the foundation-stone, it is believed. The Roumanians of Transylvania think that he whose shadow is thus immured will die within forty days. Not long ago there were still shadow-traders whose business it was to provide architects with the shadows necessary for securing their walls.
In these cases the measure of the shadow is looked on as equivalent to the shadow itself, to bury it is to bury the life or soul of the man, deprived of it, must die. Thus the custom is a substitute for the old practice of immuring a living person in the walls, or crushing him under the foundation-stone of a new building, in order to give strength and durability to the structure, or more in order that the angry ghost may haunt the place and guard it against the intrusion of enemies. Ancient Japan legends talk about Hitobashira, in which maidens were buried alive at the base or near some constructions as a prayer to ensure the buildings against disasters or enemy attacks. A VIP of the organization, or a local celebrity or community leader, will be invited to conduct the ceremony of figuratively beginning the foundations of the building, with the person's name and official position and the date being recorded on the stone; this person is asked to place their hand on the stone or otherwise signify its laying.
Still, until the 1970s, most ceremonies involved the use of a specially manufactured and engraved trowel that had a formal use in laying mortar under the stone. A special hammer was used to ceremonially tap the stone into place; the foundation stone has a cavity into, placed a time capsule containing newspapers of the day or week of the ceremony plus other artifacts that are typical of the period of the construction: coins of the year may be immured in the cavity or time capsule. Freemasons sometimes perform the public cornerstone laying ceremony for notable buildings; this ceremony was described by The Cork Examiner of 13 January 1865 as follows:... The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Munster, applying the golden square and level to the stone said. After this, Bishop Gregg spread cement over the stone with a trowel specially made for the occasion by John Hawkesworth, a silversmith and a jeweller, he gave the stone three knocks with a mallet and declared the stone to be'duly and laid'. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Munster poured offerings of corn and wine over the stone after Bishop Gregg had declared it to be'duly and laid'.
The Provincial Grand Chaplain of the Masonic Order in Munster read out the following prayer:'May the Great Architect of the universe enable us as to carry out and finish this work. May He protect the workmen from danger and accident, long preserve the structure from decay. So mote it be.' The choir and congregation sang the Hundredth Psalm. In Freemasonry, which grew from the practice of stonemasons, the initiate is placed in the north-east corner of the Lodge as a figurative foundation stone; this is intended to signify the unity of the North associated with darkness and the East associated with light. A cornerstone will sometimes be referred to as a "foundation-stone", is symbolic of Christ, whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the "head of the corner" and is the "Chief Cornerstone of the Church". A chief or head cornerstone is placed above two wall
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du