The Bristol Bloodhound is a British surface-to-air missile developed during the 1950s. It served as the UK's main air defence weapon into the 1990s and was in large-scale service with the Royal Air Force and the forces of four other countries. Part of sweeping changes to the UK's defence posture, the Bloodhound was intended to protect the RAF's V bomber bases to preserve the deterrent force, attacking bombers that made it past the Lightning interceptor force. Bloodhound Mk. I entered service in December 1958, the first British guided weapon to enter full operational service; this was part of Stage 1 upgrades to the defensive systems, in the Stage 2, both Bloodhound and the fighters would be replaced by a longer-range missile code named Blue Envoy. When this was cancelled in 1957, parts of its design were worked into Bloodhound Mk. II doubling the range of the missile; the Mk. I began to be replaced by the Mk. II starting in 1964; the Bloodhound Mk. II was a advanced missile for its era comparable to the US's Nike Hercules in terms of range and performance, but using an advanced continuous-wave semi-active radar homing system, offering excellent performance against electronic countermeasures and low-altitude targets.
It featured a digital computer for fire control, used for readiness checks and various calculations. It was a large missile, which limited it to stationary defensive roles similar to the Hercules or the Soviets' S-25 Berkut, although Sweden operated its Bloodhounds in a semi-mobile form; the performance was such that it was selected as the interceptor missile in the Violet Friend ABM system, although this was cancelled. Bloodhound shares much in common with the English Electric Thunderbird, including some of the radar systems and guidance features. Thunderbird was smaller and much more mobile, seeing service with the British Army and several other forces; the two missiles served in tandem for some time, until the shorter-range role of the Thunderbird was replaced by the much smaller and fast-acting BAC Rapier starting in 1971. Bloodhound's longer range kept it in service until the threat of bomber attack by the Soviet Union disappeared with the dissolution of the union in 1991; the last Mk. II missile squadron stood down in July 1991, although Swiss examples remained operational until 1999.
After the end of the Second World War, UK air defences were run down, on the assumption that it would be at least a decade before another war started. However, the Soviet atomic bomb test of 1949 forced a re-evaluation of that policy, UK defence planners started studying the problems of building a more integrated air defence network than the patchwork of WWII expediencies; the Cherry Report called for a reorganisation of existing radars under the ROTOR project along with new control centres to better coordinate fighters and anti-aircraft guns. This was a stop-gap measure however; the missile portion was the least understood technology. In order to deploy and gain experience with these systems, the "Stage Plan" was developed. "Stage 1" called for missiles with a range of only 20 miles with capabilities against subsonic or low-supersonic attacking aircraft, which were assumed to be at medium or high altitudes. The Stage 1 missile would be used to protect the V bomber bases in the UK, as well as the British Army in the field.
The Stage 1 missile would be replaced with a much higher-performance and longer-range "Stage 2" system in the 1960s, which would have capability against supersonic targets at longer ranges. In 1947 all guided missile work was centralised at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, who took over ongoing projects from teams at the Army and Air Force. Among these were several SAM designs, including Brakemine and LOPGAP from the Army, the Fairey Stooge, a Navy-led effort. In place of all of these projects, the RAE and Ministry of Supply developed a new requirement for a single anti-aircraft missile for use by both the RAF and Navy, it required a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet, slant range of 30,000 yards and a speed of 700 miles per hour. This was given the name "Sea Slug", a development contract was signed with Armstrong Whitworth. A much longer-ranged weapon, 100,000 yards, was given the rainbow code "Red Heathen" and began work at English Electric in October 1948. Looking for a second approach to the Sea Slug requirement, the RAE approached De Havilland, but they declined due to workload.
The RAE turned to Bristol Aerospace, signing an agreement late in 1949. Shortly after the Sea Slug system began development, it became clear that the beam riding guidance systems of the early experimental missiles did not work at long range, the move was made to use semi-active radar homing in its place; the Defence Research Policy Committee reviewed the efforts, suggested suspending the longer-ranged Red Heathen effort and focussing on a 30,000 yard weapon. This became a "new" Red Heathen, with Armstrong, Bristol and EE now all working on different approaches to the same basic requirement. Ferranti was brought on to begin development of the new radars and guidance systems. Before long, the two Red Heathen entries began to diverge. EE designed a system around a liquid rocket engine similar to the one in the original LOPGAP project. However, the RAE was interested in seeing ramjets developed, suggested Bristol make use of one. In 1949, the tw
A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat, with heavy firepower, strong armour, tracks and a powerful engine providing good battlefield manoeuvrability. They are a key part of combined arms combat. Modern tanks are versatile mobile land weapon system platforms, mounting a large-calibre cannon in a rotating gun turret, supplemented by mounted machine guns or other weapons, such as ATGMs, or rockets, they combine this with heavy vehicle armour which provides protection for the crew, the vehicle's weapons, its propulsion systems, operational mobility, due to its use of tracks rather than wheels, which allows the tank to move over rugged terrain and adverse conditions such as mud, be positioned on the battlefield in advantageous locations. These features enable the tank to perform well in a variety of intense combat situations both offensively with fire from their powerful tank gun, defensively due to their near invulnerability to common firearms and good resistance to heavier weapons, all while maintaining the mobility needed to exploit changing tactical situations.
Integrating tanks into modern military forces spawned a new era of combat, armoured warfare. There are classes of tanks, some being larger and heavily armoured, with high calibre guns, while others smaller armoured, equipped with a smaller calibre, lighter gun; these smaller tanks move over terrain with speed and agility and can perform a reconnaissance role in addition to engaging enemy targets. The smaller faster tank would not engage in battle with a larger armoured tank, except during a surprise flanking manoeuvre; the modern tank is the result of a century of development from the first primitive armoured vehicles, due to improvements in technology such as the internal combustion engine, which allowed the rapid movement of heavy armoured vehicles. As a result of these advances, tanks underwent tremendous shifts in capability in the years since their first appearance. Tanks in World War I were developed separately and by Great Britain and France as a means to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front.
The first British prototype, nicknamed Little Willie, was constructed at William Foster & Co. in Lincoln, England in 1915, with leading roles played by Major Walter Gordon Wilson who designed the gearbox and hull, by William Tritton of William Foster and Co. who designed the track plates. This was a prototype of a new design that would become the British Army's Mark I tank, the first tank used in combat in September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme; the name "tank" was adopted by the British during the early stages of their development, as a security measure to conceal their purpose. While the British and French built thousands of tanks in World War I, Germany was unconvinced of the tank's potential, built only twenty. Tanks of the interwar period evolved into the much larger and more powerful designs of World War II. Important new concepts of armoured warfare were developed. Less than two weeks Germany began their large-scale armoured campaigns that would become known as blitzkrieg – massed concentrations of tanks combined with motorised and mechanised infantry and air power designed to break through the enemy front and collapse enemy resistance.
The widespread introduction of high-explosive anti-tank warheads during the second half of World War II led to lightweight infantry-carried anti-tank weapons such as the Panzerfaust, which could destroy some types of tanks. Tanks in the Cold War were designed with these weapons in mind, led to improved armour types during the 1960s composite armour. Improved engines and suspensions allowed tanks of this period to grow larger. Aspects of gun technology changed as well, with advances in shell design and aiming technology. During the Cold War, the main battle tank concept became a key component of modern armies. In the 21st century, with the increasing role of asymmetrical warfare and the end of the Cold War, that contributed to the increase of cost-effective anti-tank rocket propelled grenades worldwide and its successors, the ability of tanks to operate independently has declined. Modern tanks are more organized into combined arms units which involve the support of infantry, who may accompany the tanks in infantry fighting vehicles, supported by reconnaissance or ground-attack aircraft.
The tank is the 20th century realization of an ancient concept: that of providing troops with mobile protection and firepower. The internal combustion engine, armour plate, continuous track were key innovations leading to the invention of the modern tank. Many sources imply that Leonardo da Vinci and H. G. Wells in some way "invented" the tank. Leonardo's late 15th century drawings of what some describe as a "tank" show a man-powered, wheeled vehicle with cannons all around it; however the human crew would not have enough power to move it over larger distance, usage of animals was problematic in a space so confined. In the 15th century, Jan Žižka built armoured wagons containing cannons and used them in several battles; the continuous "caterpillar" track arose from attempts to improve the mobility of wheeled vehicles by spreading their weight, reducing ground pressure, increasing their traction. Experiments can be traced back as far as the 17th century, by the late nineteenth they existed in various recognizable and practical forms in several countries.
It is frequen
Ministry of Works (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Works was a department of the UK Government formed in 1940, during World War II, to organise the requisitioning of property for wartime use. After the war, the Ministry retained responsibility for Government building projects. In 1962 it was renamed the Ministry of Public Building and Works, acquired the extra responsibility of monitoring the building industry as well as taking over the works departments from the War Office, Air Ministry and Admiralty; the Chief Architect of the Ministry from 1951 to 1970 was Eric Bedford. In 1970 the Ministry was absorbed into the Department of the Environment, although from 1972 most former Works functions were transferred to the autonomous Property Services Agency. Subsequent reorganisation of PSA into Property Holdings was followed by abolition in 1996 when individual Government departments took on responsibility for managing their own estate portfolios; the tradition of building specific structures for military or governmental use began to break down at the time of World War I, when the unprecedented need for armaments prompted the rapid construction of factories in English locations where a skilled workforce was not recruited.
The department derived from the Office of Works responsible only for royal properties which became the Office of Woods, Land Revenues and Works. The Office of Works was founded in 1851 and became the Ministry of Works in 1940; this became the Ministry of Works & Planning, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government 1951-62, the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works before being subsumed in the Department of the Environment in 1970 and English Heritage in 1984. Architect Frank Baines guided the rapid development of estates of houses in a terraced style, for workers and their families in places close to the required factories and depots. Examples included the Well Hall garden suburb south of the Royal Arsenal, Aeroville near the Grahame-White aeroplane factory at Hendon, the Roe Green estate at Stag Lane in the London Borough of Brent. Considering the pace of their construction, these estates were picturesque and were subsequently considered superior in scenic terms to many estates of municipal housing that followed in the peacetime of the 1920s, guided by the Tudor Walters Committee report of 1919 and the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919.
Their styling owed much to the English garden suburb tradition and garden areas and front boundaries were more varied than on contemporary estates within military bases where state ownership endured over a longer period. By the late 20th century the Well Hall example had become known as the Progress Estate and legend has it that no two houses there are built to the same plan. From the 1880s the Office of Works was responsible for the upkeep of ancient monuments, a role taken on by the Department of the Environment and when responsibility for heritage matters was devolved, in 1977, by English Heritage and the other Home Country heritage organisations; as such it forms the basis for any research into official or historic structures ranging from post offices to palaces and all archaeological sites in state care, including Stonehenge. In conjunction with the Foreign Office it was responsible for the fabric of British embassies and consulates across the world. Apart from English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw, its vast archive is dispersed throughout many other organisations including national Museums and Galleries, other government departments including the Government Art Collection and the now hived-off agencies covering Royal Parks and Palaces.
Every Record Office, every museum and every town council in the British Isles will hold files relating to the MOW who in 1947 enabled the first'Lists' defining and protecting historic buildings which now forms the heritage protection of over 400,000 sites. A detailed history of offices and staff remains to be written: the work of the completely anonymous civil servants who worked for this large government department is absent from published or online sources unless these manifold official activities impinge on current specialized research on the military, archaeological or architectural links; the Ministry of Works descended from a long line of offices with responsibilities for managing Royal and Governmental property. These are summarised below. 1378–1832 Office of Works. This office was established to oversee the building of the King's residences. 1832–1851 Office of Woods, Land Revenues and Buildings. The Office of Works continued to operate as the Works Department within the larger Office.
1851–1940 Office of Works. The Office was given a separate identity in order to bring it under the direct control of Parliament. 1940–1942 Ministry of Works and Buildings. The Ministry was formed during World War II as the Government's need for new buildings and the conversion of existing buildings became more urgent. 1942–1943 Ministry of Works and Planning. 1943–1962 Ministry of Works. See above. 1962–1970 Ministry of Public Building and Works. See above. BT Tower, London Ordnance Survey head office, Southampton First Commissioner of Works
Charles Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Charles Frederick Algernon Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford, was a senior Royal Air Force officer. He served as a bomber pilot in the First World War, rose to become first a flight commander and a squadron commander, flying light bombers on the Western Front. In the early stages of the Second World War he was commander-in-chief of Bomber Command, he was an advocate of strategic area bombing against German industrial areas, viewed it as a war winning strategy. In October 1940 he was made Chief of the Air Staff, remained in this post for the rest of the war. During his time as Chief he continuously supported the strategic bombing offensive against Germany, advocated the formation of the Pathfinder Force, critical to improving the destructive force of Bomber Command, he fended off attempts by the Royal Navy to take command over RAF Coastal Command, resisted attempts by the British Army to establish their own Army Air Arm. Portal retired from the RAF following the end of the war.
He served as Controller of Production at the Ministry of Supply for six years. Portal was made chairman of British Aluminium, he was unsuccessful in fending off a hostile takeover of British Aluminum by Sir Ivan Stedeford's Tube Investments, in what was known as the "Aluminium War". Afterward he served as chairman of the British Aircraft Corporation. Portal was born at Eddington House, Berkshire, the son of Edward Robert Portal and his wife Ellinor Kate, his younger brother Admiral Sir Reginald Portal joined the Royal Navy and had a distinguished career. The Portals had Huguenot origins. Charles Portal, or "Peter" as he was nicknamed, was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford. Portal had intended to become a barrister but he did not finish his degree and he left undergraduate life to enlist as a private soldier in 1914. At the beginning of the First World War, Portal joined the British Army and served as a dispatch rider in the motorcycle section of the Royal Engineers on the Western Front.
Portal was made a corporal soon after joining the Army and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant only weeks later. Around the same time, Portal was commended in Sir John French's first despatch of September 1914. In December 1914, Portal was given command of all riders in the 1st Corps Headquarters Signals Company. In July 1915, with the need for dispatch riders reducing, Portal transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, he served first as an observer and from November 1915, as a flying officer. He graduated as a pilot in April 1916, joined No. 60 Squadron flying Morane biplanes on the Western Front. He became a flight commander with No. 3 Squadron flying BE2c aircraft on the Western Front on 16 July 1916. Portal was promoted to temporary major in June 1917 and given command of No. 16 Squadron flying RE8 aircraft on the Western Front at the same time. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel on 17 June 1918 and given command of No. 24 Wing at RAF Grantham in August 1918. Portal was awarded the Military Cross in January 1917, the Distinguished Service Order on 18 July 1917 and a Bar to his DSO on 18 July 1918.
In August 1919 Portal was appointed to a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force in the rank of major. He became a chief flying instructor at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in November 1919 and attended RAF Staff College in 1922, before joining the air staff conducting flying operations in the home sector in April 1923. Promoted to wing commander on 1 July 1925, he attended the senior officers' war course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, in 1926 before taking over No. 7 Squadron flying Vickers Virginia bombers from RAF Worthy Down in March 1927 and concentrated on improving bombing accuracy. Portal attended the Imperial Defence College in 1929 and became Deputy Director of Plans in the Directorate of Operations & Intelligence at the Air Ministry in December 1930. Promoted to group captain on 1 July 1931, he was appointed commander of British forces in Aden in February 1934, in which role he tried to control the local tribesmen by use of an air blockade. Promoted to air commodore on 1 January 1935, he joined the Directing Staff at the Imperial Defence College in January 1936.
Portal was promoted to air vice marshal on 1 July 1937 before being appointed Director of Organization at the Air Ministry on 1 September 1937. Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1939 New Year Honours, Portal became Air Member for Personnel on the Air Council on 1 February 1939, he was promoted to the acting rank of air marshal on 3 September 1939, appointed commander-in-chief of Bomber Command in April 1940 and promoted to the substantive rank of air marshal on 1 July 1940. Portal advocated strategic area bombing against German industrial areas, the same sort of targets that the Luftwaffe was targeting in the United Kingdom, he was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1940 Birthday Honours. On 25 October 1940, Portal was appointed as Chief of the Air Staff with the temporary rank of air chief marshal, he continued in this capacity for the remainder of the war. The first issue he had to resolve was an attempt by the Royal Navy to take over RAF Coastal Command as well as an attempt by the British Army to establish their own Army Air Arm.
Portal persuaded both the Army and the Navy that the RAF could adequately look after their needs. The second issue Portal had to resolve was the need for a renewed strategic bombing offensive. In August 1941 he received a report on the relative inefficiency of RAF daytime raids and proposals
The War Office was a Department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army between 1857 and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. It was equivalent to the Admiralty, responsible for the Royal Navy, the Air Ministry, which oversaw the Royal Air Force; the name "War Office" is given to the former home of the department, the War Office building, located at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall in central London. Prior to 1855'War Office' signified the office of the Secretary at War. In the 17th and 18th centuries a number of independent offices and individuals were responsible for various aspects of Army administration; the most important were the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, the Secretary at War and the twin Secretaries of State. Others who performed specialist functions were the controller of army accounts, the Army Medical Board, the Commissariat Department, the Board of General Officers, the Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces, the Commissary General of Muster, the Paymaster General of the forces and the Home Office.
The term War Department was used for the separate office of the Secretary of State for War. The War Office developed from the Council of War, an ad hoc grouping of the King and his senior military commanders which managed the Kingdom of England's frequent wars and campaigns; the management of the War Office was directed by the Secretary at War, whose role had originated during the reign of King Charles II as the secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. In the latter part of the 17th century the office of Commander-in-Chief was vacant for several lengths of time, which left the Secretary at War answering directly to the Sovereign; the department of the Secretary at War was referred to as the'Warr Office' from as early as 1694. After Blathwayt's retirement in 1704 Secretary at War became a political office. In political terms it was a minor government job which dealt with the minutiae of administration rather than grand strategy; the Secretary, a member of the House of Commons presented the House with the Army Estimates and spoke on other military matters as required.
In symbolic terms he was seen as signifying parliamentary control over the Army. Issues of strategic policy during wartime were managed by the Southern Departments. From 1704 to 1855, the job of Secretary remained occupied by a minister of the second rank. Many of his responsibilities were transferred to the Secretary of State for War after the creation of that more senior post during 1794. In February 1855 the new Secretary of State for War was additionally commissioned as Secretary at War, thus giving the Secretary of State oversight of the War Office in addition to his own Department; the same procedure was followed for each of his successors, until the office of Secretary at War was abolished altogether in 1863). During 1855 the Board of Ordnance was abolished as a result of its perceived poor performance during the Crimean War; this powerful independent body, dating from the 15th century, had been directed by the Master-General of the Ordnance a senior military officer, a member of the Cabinet.
The disastrous campaigns of the Crimean War resulted in the consolidation of all administrative duties during 1855 as subordinate to the Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet job. He was not, however responsible for the Army; this was reduced in theory by the reforms introduced by Edward Cardwell during 1870, which subordinated the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary for War. In practice, however, a huge amount of influence was retained by the exceedingly conservative Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, who had the job between 1856 and 1895, his resistance to reform caused military efficiency to lag well behind that of Britain's rivals, a problem which became obvious during the Second Boer War. The situation was only remedied during 1904 when the job of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and replaced with that of the Chief of the General Staff, replaced by the job of Chief of the Imperial General Staff during 1908. An Army Council was created with a format similar to that of the Board of Admiralty, directed by the Secretary of State for War, an Imperial General Staff was established to coordinate Army administration.
The creation of the Army Council was recommended by the War Office Committee, formally appointed by Letters Patent dated 8 February 1904 and by Royal Warrant dated
Royal Aircraft Establishment
The Royal Aircraft Establishment was a British research establishment, known by several different names during its history, that came under the aegis of the UK Ministry of Defence, before losing its identity in mergers with other institutions. The first site was at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire to, added a second site RAE Bedford in 1946. In 1988 it was renamed the Royal Aerospace Establishment before merging with other research entities to become part of the new Defence Research Agency in 1991. In 1904–1906 the Army Balloon Factory, part of the Army School of Ballooning, under the command of Colonel James Templer, relocated from Aldershot to the edge of Farnborough Common in order to have enough space to inflate the new "dirigible balloon" or airship, under construction. Templer's place was taken by Colonel John Capper and Templer himself retired in 1908. Besides balloons and airships, the factory experimented with Samuel Franklin Cody's war kites and aeroplanes designed both by Cody and J. W. Dunne.
In October 1908 Cody made the first aeroplane flight in Britain at Farnborough. In 1909 Army work on aeroplanes ceased and the Factory was brought under civilian control. Capper was replaced as Superintendent by Mervyn O'Gorman. In 1912 the Balloon Factory was renamed the Royal Aircraft Factory, its first new designer was Geoffrey de Havilland who founded his own company. Later colleagues included John Kenworthy who became chief engineer and designer at the Austin Motor Company in 1918 and who went on to found the Redwing Aircraft Co in 1930 and Henry Folland – chief designer at Gloster Aircraft Company, founder of his own company Folland Aircraft. One of the designers in the engine department was Samuel Heron, who went on to invent the sodium-filled poppet valve, instrumental in achieving greater power levels from piston engines. While at the RAF, Heron designed a radial engine that he was not able to build during his time there, however upon leaving the RAF he went to Siddeley-Deasy where the design, the RAF.8, was developed as the Jaguar.
Heron moved to the United States where he worked on the design of the Wright Whirlwind. Other engineers included Major F. M. Green, G. S. Wilkinson, James E. "Jimmy" Ellor, Prof. A. H. Gibson, A. A. Griffith. Both Ellor and Griffith would go on to work for Rolls-Royce Limited. In 1918 the Royal Aircraft Factory was once more renamed, becoming the Royal Aircraft Establishment to avoid confusion with the Royal Air Force, formed on 1 April 1918, because it had relinquished its manufacturing role to concentrate on research. During WWII the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment based at Helensburgh in Scotland, was under the control of the RAE. In 1946 work began to convert RAF Thurleigh into RAE Bedford. Engineers at the Royal Aircraft Establishment invented high strength carbon fibre in 1963. In 1961, the world's first grooved runway for reduced aquaplaning was constructed. In 1965, a US delegation visited to view the new surfacing practice and initiated a study by the FAA and NASA. On 1 May 1988 the RAE was renamed the Royal Aerospace Establishment.
On 1 April 1991 the RAE was merged into the Defence Research Agency, the MOD's new research organisation. On 1 April 1995 the DRA and other MOD organisations merged to form the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency; the Bedford site was shut down in 1994. In 2001 DERA was part-privatised by the MOD, resulting in two separate organisations, the state-owned Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the privatised company QinetiQ. Between 1911 and 1918 the Royal Aircraft Factory produced a number of aircraft designs. Most of these were research aircraft, but a few went into mass production during the war period; some orders were met by the factory itself, but the bulk of production was by private British companies, some of which had not built aircraft. Up to about 1913 the designation letters referred to the general layout of the aircraft, derived from a French manufacturer or designer famous for that type: S. E. = Santos Experimental B. E. = Blériot Experimental F. E. = Farman Experimental From 1913/4 onwards this was changed to a designation based on the role for which the aircraft was designed: A.
E. = Armed or Armoured Experimental C. E. = Coastal Experimental F. E. = Fighting experimental N. E. = Night Experimental R. E. = Reconnaissance experimental S. E. = Scout experimental fast single-seat aircraft. The B. S. 1 of 1913 was a one-off anomaly. R. T. & T. E. were used for one off prototypes. Several aircraft were produced during the days as the Army Balloon Factory; these include the airships as well as the Dunne designs. Subsequent Royal Aircraft Factory type designations are confusing. For instance the "F. E.2" designation refers to three quite distinct types, with only the same broad layout in common, the F. E.2, the F. E.2, the famous wartime two-seat fighter and general purpose design, the F. E.2. This last aircraft was the one that went into production, had three main variants, the F. E.2a, F. E.2b, the F. E.2d. As if this wasn't enough, there is the F. E.2c. E.2b's that experimentally reversed the sea
Shell Mex House
Shell Mex House is a grade II listed building situated at number 80 Strand, England. The current building was built in 1930–31 on the site of the Hotel Cecil and stands behind the original facade of the Hotel and between the Adelphi and the Savoy Hotel. Broadly Art Deco in style, it was designed by Frances Milton Cashmore of the architectural firm of Messrs Joseph. Standing 58 m tall, with 537,000 sq ft of floor space, Shell Mex House has 12 floors and is recognizable from the River Thames and the South Bank by the clock tower positioned on the south side of the building; the clock, known for a time as "Big Benzene", is the biggest clock face in London and second largest in the UK after the clock on the Liver Building in Liverpool, it was supplied by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon. It has faces looking towards the Strand, it was described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as "thoroughly unsubtle, but...hold its own in London's river front." The building was for many years the London headquarters of Shell-Mex and BP for which it was built.
Shell-Mex and BP was a joint venture company created by Shell and British Petroleum in 1932 when they decided to merge their United Kingdom marketing operations. Upon the brand separation of Shell-Mex and BP in 1975, Shell Mex House became the head office of Shell UK, Shell's UK operating company. Changes in the way that Shell was run in the 1990s led to the disposal of the property by Shell. Today known as 80 Strand, most of its floors are occupied by companies belonging to Pearson plc; the entrance of the building, set back from the Strand, is through a large gated archway. A green plaque was affixed to the wall just inside the gate in March 2008, proclaiming: The Royal Air Force was formed and had its first headquarters here in the former Hotel Cecil 1 April 1918. Below it is a brass plate stating: "This plaque was unveiled by the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy KCB CBE DSO ADC to mark the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force". During World War II, the building became home to the Ministry of Supply which co-ordinated supply of equipment to the national armed forces.
It was the home of the "Petroleum Board" which handled the distribution and rationing of petroleum products during the war. It was badly damaged by a bomb in 1940; the building reverted to Shell-Mex and BP on 1 July 1948 with a number of floors remaining occupied by the Ministry of Aviation until the mid-1970s. During this time, until the department's move to the present location in Farnborough, the building was the headquarters for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. On 17 May 2006, The Times reported that the building was for sale and that the Indian-Kenyan Kandhari family were the front-runners in the battle to buy it from the present owners and Robert Tchenguiz, they were said to have offered £530 million for the building, but were competing with other interested groups, including Menorah, the Israeli insurer, an Irish company, several British companies. An offer believed to be £520 million was made in December 2006 by Istithmar, the investment agency of the Dubai government, which withdrew their offer before completion.
The property was subsequently sold in July 2007 to a fund managed by Westbrook Partners. In the final scene of the 2016 feature film Assassin's Creed, directed by Justin Kurzel, the hero Callum Lynch and two other surviving assassins stand astride Shell Mex House and survey London. Shell Centre