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
Aviation, or air transport, refers to the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Aircraft includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as lighter-than-air craft such as balloons and airships. Aviation began in the 18th century with the development of the hot air balloon, an apparatus capable of atmospheric displacement through buoyancy; some of the most significant advancements in aviation technology came with the controlled gliding flying of Otto Lilienthal in 1896. Since that time, aviation has been technologically revolutionized by the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world; the word aviation was coined by the French writer and former naval officer Gabriel La Landelle in 1863. He derived the term from the verb avier, itself derived from the Latin word avis and the suffix -ation. There are early legends of human flight such as the stories of Icarus in Greek myth and Jamshid and Shah Kay Kāvus in Persian myth.
Somewhat more credible claims of short-distance human flights appear, such as the flying automaton of Archytas of Tarentum, the winged flights of Abbas ibn Firnas, Eilmer of Malmesbury, the hot-air Passarola of Bartholomeu Lourenço de Gusmão. The modern age of aviation began with the first untethered human lighter-than-air flight on November 21, 1783, of a hot air balloon designed by the Montgolfier brothers; the practicality of balloons was limited. It was recognized that a steerable, or dirigible, balloon was required. Jean-Pierre Blanchard flew the first human-powered dirigible in 1784 and crossed the English Channel in one in 1785. Rigid airships became the first aircraft to transport passengers and cargo over great distances; the best known aircraft of this type were manufactured by the German Zeppelin company. The most successful Zeppelin was the Graf Zeppelin, it flew over one million miles, including an around-the-world flight in August 1929. However, the dominance of the Zeppelins over the airplanes of that period, which had a range of only a few hundred miles, was diminishing as airplane design advanced.
The "Golden Age" of the airships ended on May 6, 1937 when the Hindenburg caught fire, killing 36 people. The cause of the Hindenburg accident was blamed on the use of hydrogen instead of helium as the lift gas. An internal investigation by the manufacturer revealed that the coating used in the material covering the frame was flammable and allowed static electricity to build up in the airship. Changes to the coating formulation reduced the risk of further Hindenburg type accidents. Although there have been periodic initiatives to revive their use, airships have seen only niche application since that time. In 1799, Sir George Cayley set forth the concept of the modern airplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift and control. Early dirigible developments included machine-powered propulsion, rigid frames and improved speed and maneuverability There are many competing claims for the earliest powered, heavier-than-air flight; the first recorded powered flight was carried out by Clément Ader on October 9, 1890 in his bat-winged self-propelled fixed-wing aircraft, the Ader Éole.
It was the first manned, heavier-than-air flight of a significant distance but insignificant altitude from level ground. Seven years on 14 October 1897, Ader's Avion III was tested without success in front of two officials from the French War ministry; the report on the trials was not publicized until 1910. In November 1906 Ader claimed to have made a successful flight on 14 October 1897, achieving an "uninterrupted flight" of around 300 metres. Although believed at the time, these claims were discredited; the Wright brothers made the first successful powered and sustained airplane flight on December 17, 1903, a feat made possible by their invention of three-axis control. Only a decade at the start of World War I, heavier-than-air powered aircraft had become practical for reconnaissance, artillery spotting, attacks against ground positions. Aircraft began to transport people and cargo as designs grew more reliable; the Wright brothers took aloft the first passenger, Charles Furnas, one of their mechanics, on May 14, 1908.
During the 1920s and 1930s great progress was made in the field of aviation, including the first transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown in 1919, Charles Lindbergh's solo transatlantic flight in 1927, Charles Kingsford Smith's transpacific flight the following year. One of the most successful designs of this period was the Douglas DC-3, which became the first airliner to be profitable carrying passengers starting the modern era of passenger airline service. By the beginning of World War II, many towns and cities had built airports, there were numerous qualified pilots available; the war brought many innovations to aviation, including the first jet aircraft and the first liquid-fueled rockets. After World War II in North America, there was a boom in general aviation, both private and commercial, as thousands of pilots were released from military service and many inexpensive war-surplus transport and training aircraft became available. Manufacturers such as Cessna and Beechcraft expanded production to provide light aircraft for the new middle-class market.
Colindale is an area which lies within the London Borough of Barnet, although the western side of Colindale's main shopping street is within the London Borough of Brent It is the NW9 area of Hendon. Colindale is an area of suburban character, it is situated about eight miles north west of Charing Cross. In the borough and ancient parish of Hendon, the area was the dale between Mill Hill and The Burroughs. By the middle of the 20th century, it had come to include that part of the Edgware Road between The Hyde and Burnt Oak; the area is named after a 16th-century family of the same name. Until the 20th century, Colindale was without any buildings save for a large house called Colindale Lodge, Colindale Farm and a few cottages. All of these properties were on Colindeep Lane which had in the medieval period been an alternative route out of London to the Edgware Road. By the end of the 16th century it was not used as a main road and by the middle part of the 19th century was called Ancient Street. By the end of the 19th century, cheap land prices made Colindale attractive to developers.
Colindale Hospital was opened in 1898 as an asylum for the long-term sick of central London, in 1907 The Government Lymph Establishment for making vaccines was built. By 1996 the majority of the hospital was closed, in 2009 lies derelict. In 1902, the British Library built a new depository and kept the newspaper library there in 1934. Garston’s Ltd established a trunk factory in 1901, as well as a row of cottages called Leatherville; as such it is the first manufacturer'in the Colindale'. By 1914 there was housing between Colindale Avenue and Annesley Avenue to house the workers of such endeavours. After the First World War a number of other manufacturing companies came to Colindale. Franco Illuminated Signs opened on Aerodrome Road in 1922, having made the lights for the Franco British Exhibition of 1908, it was best known for the neon signs found in Piccadilly from the 1920s to the 1970s. Frigidaire started in a wooden shack in Aerodrome Road, employing 11 people in 1923, selling the first automatic household fridges in England.
The reason why many of these and other companies chose Colindale was that there was land available for expansion. However, by 1923, when the tube railway reached Colindale, land prices had increased and factory expansion was not so easy, so some industries looked elsewhere for premises. In 1931, for example, decided to build a new manufacturing plant to the west, on the A5 Edgware Road, had moved its entire operations there by 1946. After the tube station opened, development as a London suburb was rapid, by 1939 much of the western side was semi-detached housing. Typical was the Colin Park Estate, built by F. H. Stucke & Co. around Colindeep Lane in 1927. Some of the houses on this estate are by the architect E. G. Trobridge. St Matthias started as a mission church in 1905, its permanent building was opened in 1934, rebuilt between 1971 and 1973. Colindale Primary School opened in Colindeep Lane in 1921, with a new building constructed in Woodfield Avenue in 1933. In 2011 the design and build for a new three form entry school was completed by The Kier Group and Sprunt Architects.
In September 1940, Colindale tube station and the Newspaper Library were bombed. and the site was visited by George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother. A V-1 flying bomb hit Colindale Hospital on 1 July 1944, killing four members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Hendon Tram Depot was in 1910 the scene of the first trials in Britain of a trolleybus; this location became Colindale Trolleybus Depot, from which route 645 operated until January 1962, when the depot was closed down and demolished. Land behind the depot was used from 1959 to 1962 by the George Cohen 600 Group for scrapping the vast majority of London's fleet of 1891 trolleybuses. Colindale houses many of North London's largest institutions, including the Royal Air Force Museum, Public Health England's Centre for Infections, the Colindale Campus of Barnet and Southgate College and the Peel Centre; the British Library's newspaper depository was in Colindale until it was closed in 2013. Located here is the Grahame Park Estate, built on the former Hendon Aerodrome.
Colindale is the home to Colindale Primary School. A small brook, a tributary of the River Brent called the Silk Stream, runs north to south. In Colindale ward as of the 2011 census, 23% of the population was White British, 15% Other White, 14% Black African, 11% Other Asian and 10% Indian. Argonaut Games once had its headquarters in Colindale. Colindale Underground station, on the Northern line's Edgware branch, is situated on the north side of the east-west Colindale Lane. Parts of Colindale have been designated by the Mayor of London in his London Plan as a'proposed area of intensification'; as a result, Barnet Council designated a'Colindale Area Action Plan' and carried out public consultation events. The Council has finalised its preferred plan in mid-2009, it will be examined at a public hearing by the Planning Inspectorate, for anticipated approval by the Council in 2010. In early 2008, the Campaign for Better Transport published an plan for an off-road orbital North and West London Light railway, taking over the westernmost of the two Midland Main Line freight lines which run north from West Hampstead, via Cricklewood, B
James Glaisher FRS was an English meteorologist and astronomer. Born in Rotherhithe, the son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was a Junior assistant at the Cambridge Observatory from 1833 to 1835 before moving to the Royal Observatory, where he served as Superintendent of the Department of Meteorology and Magnetism at Greenwich for thirty-four years. In 1845, Glaisher published his dew point tables, for the measurement of humidity, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1849. He was the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, he was president of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1867 to 1868. Glaisher was elected a member of The Photographic Society the Royal Photographic Society, in 1854 and served as the Society's President for 1869–1874 and 1875–1892, he remained a member until his death. He is most famous, however, as a pioneering balloonist. Between 1862 and 1866 with Henry Tracey Coxwell as his co-pilot, Glaisher made numerous ascents to measure the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at its highest levels.
His ascent on 5 September 1862 broke the world record for altitude, but he passed out around 8,800 metres before a reading could be taken. One of the pigeons making the trip with him died. Estimates suggest that he rose to more than 9,500 metres and as much as 10,900 metres above sea-level. Glaisher lived at 22 Dartmouth Hill, London, where there is a blue plaque in his memory, he died in Croydon, Surrey in 1903, aged 93. In 1843 he married Cecilia Louisa Belville, a daughter of Henry Belville, Assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. James and Cecilia Glaisher had two sons, Ernest Glaisher and the mathematician James Whitbread Lee Glaisher, one daughter Cecilia Appelina. A lunar crater is named after him; the name was approved by the IAU in 1935. Jennifer Tucker. "Voyages of Discovery on Oceans of Air: Scientific Observation and the Image of Science in an Age of "Balloonacy"" Osiris, 2nd series, Volume 11, "Science in the Field":144–176. Glaisher, James. Travels in the Air. London: Bentley, 1871.
B. Lippincott, 1871. Extract "Glaisher, James". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Royal Society citation Newspaper cutting from New York Times, 1909. Details of 1862 balloon flight; the Victorians who flew as high as jumbo jets NOAA photo library – Illus. from Glaisher's 1871'Travels in the Air'.
Volunteer Gliding Squadron
Volunteer Gliding Squadrons are Royal Air Force Flying Training units, operating military Viking TX.1 conventional gliders to train cadets from the Air Training Corps and the RAF section of the Combined Cadet Force. Since 2014, the squadrons operate under No. 2 Flying Training School, newly reformed for this purpose at RAF Syerston, within No.22 Group of the Royal Air Force Air Command. The 10 Units, along with the Royal Air Force Central Gliding School, are standardised annually by the Royal Air Force Central Flying School. Under the Air Cadet Organisation prior to 2010, Headquarters Air Cadets presently still retains administrative support. VGSs are made up of volunteer staff; each is headed by a Commanding Officer and several executives, all of whom are commissioned into the Training Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Instructors comprise a mixture of regular RAF/RN/Army personnel, civilian gliding instructors and flight staff cadets. Gliding was first introduced for the Air Defence Cadet Corps in 1939, but formally became part of official training with the Air Training Corps in 1942.
From 1946, 87 Gliding Schools came under the Reserve Command. The gliding schools were established under RAF Reserve Command. In 1955, RAF Flying Training Command took over the responsibility and amalgamated them into 27 gliding schools under Headquarters Air Cadets. At the same time the gliding schools were renumbered with three-digit numbers, the first two digits being the parent Home Command Group. In 1968, RAF Training Command was established. In 1977, Training Command was absorbed into RAF Support Command, moved into Personnel and Training Command on its establishment in 1994 before being subsumed into Air Command in March 2007, where the gliding schools rest today. Under Air Command, the chain of command for these units is through No.22 Group. On behalf of Air Officer Commanding No.22 Group, the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons and the Central Gliding School are the responsibility of the Officer commanding No. 2 Flying Training School. Formulated in 1946, the Home Command Gliding Instructors School was established in 1949 at RAF Detling to train Qualified Gliding Instructors for the gliding schools.
With the disestablishment of Home Command, HCGIS was split into two Gliding Centres to accommodate the gliding schools in the north and south of the UK. A further reorganisation amalgamated the Gliding Centres into the Central Gliding School in 1972 at RAF Spitalgate, where it was renamed the Air Cadet Central Gliding School in 1974. In 2009, following the formal approval of the CGS unit badge, the Air Cadet Central Gliding School was renamed the Royal Air Force Central Gliding School and in 2010 restructured under No.1 Elementary Flying Training School. The CGS is commanded by a Wing Commander RAF, who acts as OC Flying for RAF Syerston; the Chief Instructor is a Squadron Leader RAF. The examiners of the CGS are Flight Lieutenant RAFR and Squadron Leader RAFR officers, however all future appointments shall be RAFVR commissions; the RAF chose to re-equip the ageing fleet with the first of the modern GRP gliders, in 1983 acquired an initial batch of 10 Schleicher ASK 21 named Vanguard TX.1. The first examples were delivered to the ACCGS at Syerston in time for the new Instructors' courses to take place.
The first VGS to equip with these was 618 VGS at RAF West Malling. Instructors from this unit were converted to the new training syllabus and began flying the type during July and August of that year; the first Vanguard TX.1s were delivered to West Malling in July 1983 and training for cadets began in August. After the initial 10 were delivered, Alexander Schleicher was unwilling to open a production line for the MoD, as they did not want to sideline their civilian market. A tender was issued and Grob Aerospace was awarded the contract to supply 100 Grob G 103 Twin II Acro Gliders; the RAF named the military variant as the Viking TX.1 in Air Cadet service. A single specimen was delivered to Slingsby Aviation in the UK for fatigue life testing; the Venture T.1 was trialled at the ACCGS at RAF Spitalgate in 1971/73. 10 GSs were first issued with the T.1 variant in 1977, but were upgraded with the TX.2. The development of many sites and closures of many RAF aerodromes put strain on many conventional VGS.
Further GSs were allocated with the TX.2s. In 1991 the Venture TX.2 was replaced with the Vigilant T.1. Designated the Vigilant TX.1, the glider designation'X' was dropped due to its change of role. In 2000, ACO-COS Group Captain Mike Cross announced the sale of the Valiant TX.1 and Kestrel TX.1 fleets. This concluded the RAF's many successful years competing in national gliding competitions and setting world records. Established as Gliding Schools, the GSs were re-designated Volunteer Gliding Schools in 1978. In 2005, following a decision by the Royal Air Force Board, the VGSs were renamed Volunteer Gliding Squadrons, keeping their VGS abbreviation. Following the restructure in 2005, a further reorganisation was initiated in 2010 by AOC 22 Group RAF. On 1 April 2010, Command and Control together with the responsibility for supervision and regulation of the Central Gliding School and 27 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons, was moved from the Air Cadet Organisation to the Directorate of Flying Training under No. 1 Elementary Flying School.
A further restructure in December 2011 saw No.1 EFTS absorbed into No.3 Flying Training School, together with a Gliding branch of the School developed from No.1 EFTS. In April 2014 all Air Cadet Organisation gliding was paused due to airworthiness concerns
Burnage is a suburb of the city of Manchester in North West England, about 4 miles south of Manchester city centre and bisected by the dual carriageway of Kingsway. The population of the Burnage Ward at the 2011 census was 15,227, it lies between Withington to the west, Levenshulme to the north, Heaton Chapel to the east and Didsbury and Heaton Mersey to the south. The name Burnage is thought to have stemmed from "Brown Hedge", from the old brown stone walls or "hedges" which were common there in medieval times. In a survey of 1320, the district is referred to as "Bronadge". During the Middle Ages, Burnage was an area of common marsh land. Burnage did not have its own manor but the land was shared between the farmers from the Manors of Withington and Heaton Norris as it was a border district between two neighbouring lordships. A survey of 1320 records 356 acres of common pasture land under the Manor of Heaton; as the population began to expand, the land was reclaimed for arable land. In a survey of 1322, the Lord of Manchester was permitted to appropriate more land for arable use, provided he left enough common pasture land for the commoners to graze their animals.
Named arable farmers of this time included Thomas Grelley, Sir John de Byron, Sir John de Longford and Dame Joan de Longford, who farmed 136 acres of land subject to the Lord of Manchester. There are records of a sale of land, which refer to "that moiety of the place called Burnage lying next to Heaton", when John La Warre and his wife Joan granted 100 acres of moor and pasture in Heaton and Withington to a Thomas de Trafford; the Withington land belonging to the de Longford family passed to the Mosley family and subsequently to the Egerton family. Because the Mosleys were former Lords of the Manor of Withington, the Mosley family's heraldic crest was used as the crest of Withington. A carved Mosley crest can still be seen above the door of the old Withington Town Hall on Lapwing Lane in West Didsbury. In recognition of the connection with the Withington Manor, the Mosley crest was adopted in the 20th century as the badge of Burnage High School. By 1655, Burnage had become a township; the Egerton family were major landowners in Burnage.
In 1894, the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw described Burnage as the prettiest village in Manchester. Burnage had an established cottage industry in hand weaving. Many of the original weavers' cottages survive today. 1906 saw plans to build a "garden suburb" in the district. Burnage Garden Village was created by building many new semi-detached houses as well as open recreational spaces, including lawns, gardens, a bowling green, tennis courts, allotments and a children's playground. Hans Renold established; the factory closed during the late 1980s. The site lay abandoned for several years, but now has been developed and a Tesco supermarket and a development of flats and retail units sit on the site. Construction of Kingsway began in 1928, it was named after King George V and was numbered A5079. Like Princess Road further to the west, Kingsway was laid out as a dual carriageway for motor vehicles with a segregated tram track along the central reservation which allowed Manchester Corporation Tramways to run trams into Manchester City Centre.
A large housing estate was built by Manchester City Council along the Kingsway route characterised by brick semi-detached houses laid out in avenues and octagons. Today, only parts of Burnage Lane still survive as original weavers' cottages. A cinema, the Lido, was built in the 1920s on Kingsway; this was renamed the Odeon in the 1940s and became the Classic in the 1960s, before becoming the Concorde cinema in the 1970s which also included a bingo hall in the premises. The cinema closed in the early 1990s, has since been demolished and a supermarket built on the site. Mauldeth Hall in Green End was the dwelling of the Bishop of Manchester for more than 20 years, before his move to Higher Broughton. AviationOn 28 April 1910, French pilot Louis Paulhan landed his Farman biplane in Barcicroft Fields, Pytha Fold Farm, on the borders of Withington and Didsbury; this completed the first powered flight from London to Manchester, with a short overnight stop at Lichfield, he won a £10,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail, beating the British contender, Claude Grahame-White.
Two special trains were chartered to Burnage railway station to take spectators to the landing, with other spectators waiting through the previous night. Paulhan was followed throughout by a train carrying his wife, Henri Farman and his supporting mechanics. Today, a blue plaque recording Paulhan's achievement is displayed on a house in Paulhan Road, which forms part of the site where he landed. Babies' Hospital In 1919 the Manchester Babies Hospital moved to Cringle Hall in Burnage having been in Levenshulme and Chorlton-on-Medlock, it had 50 beds. After the building of a new pavilion on the open-air principle with glass wards specially designed for the treatment of rickets in 1925 the number of cots rose to 80. In 1935 a new hospital wing with much improved surgical facilities was opened by the Duchess of York in June 1935; the name of the hospital was changed to the Duchess of York Hospital for Babies. Until the creation of the National health Service in 1948 the hospital was supported by the Corporation of Manchester and by voluntary contributions.
It closed in 1986 and a new Duchess of York war
The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an