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
Westland Sea King
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines, British-made anti-submarine warfare systems and a computerised flight control system; the Sea King was designed for performing anti-submarine warfare missions. A Sea King variant was adapted by Westland as troop transport known as the Commando. In British service, the Westland Sea King provided a wide range of services in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force; as well as wartime roles in the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, the Sea King is most well known in its capacity as a Royal Navy Search and Rescue and RAF Search and Rescue Force helicopter. The Sea King was adapted to meet the Royal Navy's requirement for a ship-based airborne early warning platform. On 26 September 2018, the last remaining Sea King variant in Royal Navy service was retired.
Most operators have replaced, or are planning to replace, the Sea King with more modern helicopters, such as the NHIndustries NH90 and the AgustaWestland AW101. HeliOperations continue to operate the Mk 5 Sea Kings, based at RNAS Portland, training Federal German Navy pilots Westland Helicopters, which had a long-standing licence agreement with Sikorsky Aircraft to allow it to build Sikorsky's helicopters, extended the agreement to cover the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King soon after the Sea King's first flight in 1959. Westland proceeded to independently develop the Sea King, integrating a significant proportion of components from British suppliers. On this matter, authors Jim Thorn and Gerald Frawley stated that: "Despite appearances, Westland's Sea King different aircraft from Sikorsky's". Many of the differences between the Westland-built Sea King and the original helicopter were as a result of differing operational doctrine. While the U. S. Navy Sea Kings were intended to be under tactical control of the carrier from which they operated, the Royal Navy intended its helicopters to be much more autonomous, capable of operating alone, or co-ordinating with other aircraft or surface vessels.
This resulted in a different crew arrangement, with operations being controlled by an observer rather than the pilot, as well as fitting a search radar. The Royal Navy selected the Sea King to meet a requirement for an anti-submarine warfare helicopter to replace the Westland Wessex, placing an order with Westland for 60 SH-3D Sea Kings in June 1966; the prototype and three pre-production aircraft were built by Sikorsky at Stratford and shipped to the United Kingdom to act as trials and pattern aircraft. The first of the SH-3Ds was fitted with General Electric T58s and, after being shipped from the United States, was flown in October 1966 from the dockside at Avonmouth to Yeovil airfield; the other three were delivered from the docks, by road to Yeovil, for completion with British systems and Rolls-Royce Gnome engines. The first Westland-built helicopter, designated Sea King HAS1, flew on 7 May 1969 at Yeovil; the first two helicopters were used for trials and evaluation by Westland and the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment.
By 1979, the Royal Navy had ordered 56 HAS1s and 21 HAS2s to meet the anti-submarine requirements, these were configured for the secondary anti-ship role. The Westland Sea King was updated and adapted for numerous roles, subsequent variants include the HAS2, HAS5 and HAS6. Changes from initial production aircraft included an expansion of upgraded engines. One of the most extensively modified variants was the Westland Commando, operated by the Royal Navy as the HC4; the Commando had capacity for up to 28 equipped troops and had been developed to meet an Egyptian Air Force requirement. Due to the deletion of the amphibious capability, not required in the Egyptian desert, the most noticeable change from the Sea King was the deletion of the side floats, the main undercarriage being carried on stub sponsons. An improved variant of the Egyptian Commando, with changes including the fitting of folding blades common to the ASW variants, was designated as the Sea King HC4 by the Royal Navy and all the aircraft were new build.
First flying on 26 September 1979, due to its operational range of up to 600 nautical miles without refuelling, the HC4'Commando' became an important asset for amphibious warfare and troop transport duties, in particular. Several Royal Naval Air Squadrons have operated the Commando variant, such as 845 Naval Air Squadron, 846 Naval Air Squadron and 848 Naval Air Squadron. In British service, the Sea King HC4 was deployed on operations in the Falklands, the Balkans, both Gulf Wars, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. Towards the end of the Sea King's operational life, several HAS6s were repurposed by the removal of the ASW equipment, as troop transports. In 2010, the last of the UK's converted ASW Sea Kings to troop transports were retired. In the 1970s, Westland's experience with the Sea King led the company to conduct the British Experimental Rotor Program, in coordination with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which applied innovations in composite materials and new design principles to the helicopter rotor.
Initial trials carried out with active Sea Kings found several advantages to the BERP rotor, including a longer fatigue life and improved aerodynamic char
Westland Helicopters was a British aerospace company. Westland Aircraft, the company focused on helicopters after the Second World War, it was amalgamated with several other British firms in 1960 and 1961. In 2000, it merged with Italian helicopter manufacturer Agusta to form AgustaWestland, which in turn merged into Leonardo-Finmeccanica in 2016. Westland Aircraft was founded in 1935 when Petters Limited split its aircraft manufacturing from its aircraft engine concerns. During the Second World War the company produced military aircraft including the Lysander, the Whirlwind and the Welkin. After the war, the company began to build helicopters under a licensing agreement with Sikorsky. From the mid-1950s the company came to concentrate on helicopters to the exclusion of other types. Production started with the Sikorsky S-51, which became the Westland Dragonfly, flying for the first time in 1948 and entering service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in 1953. Westland developed an improved version, the Widgeon, not a great success.
Success with the Dragonfly was repeated with the Sikorsky S-55 which became the Whirlwind, a re-engined Sikorsky S-58 in both turboshaft and turbine engine powered designs as the Wessex. The chairmanship of Eric Mensforth from 1953–1968 marked the start of the transition, aided by the government when in 1959–1961 they forced the merger of the 20 or so aviation firms into three groups. British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley Group took over fixed-wing designs, while the helicopter divisions of Bristol and Saunders-Roe were merged with Westland to form Westland Helicopters in 1961. Westland inherited the Saro Skeeter helicopter, a development of the Cierva W.14 Skeeter and the Fairey Rotodyne compound gyroplane design. They continued to develop the latter, terminating their own Westland Westminster large transport design; the company continued to produce other aircraft under licence from Bell. They produced their own designs: the Westland Scout and its naval variant the Westland Wasp from the P.531, which found favour with the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm respectively.
In the late 1960s, the company began a collaboration with Aérospatiale to design three new helicopters, the Aérospatiale Puma, Aérospatiale Gazelle and Westland Lynx, with the last being a Westland design. Through Saunders-Roe, Westland became first a part owner from 1970, the sole owner of the British Hovercraft Corporation, subsequently trading as Westland Aerospace. Most designs were Saunders-Roe derivatives. For many years Westland owned the main London heliport at Battersea. Despite good support from the British establishment, the company fell into unprofitability. Sikorsky approached with a bail-out deal in 1985 that split the cabinet and led to the resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine in January 1986 over the fate of Britain's sole helicopter manufacturer; the split, which became known as the Westland affair, was over whether to push the company into a European deal or accept the US company's offer. The link with Sikorsky was accepted. In 1984, Westland proposed the WG 44 light attack helicopter based on the Lynx dynamics, incorporating low observable technologies derived from its SUPERVISOR and PHOENIX UAS projects experience in 1977-1983.
In 1987, in parallel with the Agusta A129 supported by Westland, Fokker, MBB and CASA, its WG 47 development was completed as a confidential private venture with a faceted fuselage, internal weapons and twin canted tail rotors. A side-exiting infrared suppressor integrated the exhausts and its tandem cockpit with the pilot in front had transparencies angled outward to eliminate optical glint; this presaged the US Army Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche, rolled out in 1995 and cancelled in 2004, while the fuselage shaping was retained for the NH90. In the 1990s, the company returned to profitability and grew as a result of several major contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence for EH101 Merlin helicopters and for 67 licence-built Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, designated the WAH-64 and entering full operational service in 2005. GKN bought into Westland in 1988, they soon acquired the shares owned by Fiat. In 1994, Westland became a wholly owned subsidiary of GKN, it was merged with Finmeccanica's Agusta helicopter division in 2000.
The newly merged company AgustaWestland still maintains the plant at Yeovil. In 2004, Finmeccanica S.p. A. acquired GKN's share in the joint venture. The former Westland site at the now unused airfield in Weston-super-Mare houses The Helicopter Museum featuring a number of examples of Westland aircraft. WS-51 - Westland Dragonfly WS-55 - Westland Whirlwind Westland Widgeon WG-58 - Westland Wessex Westland Westminster – prototype stage only Westland Scout Westland Wasp Westland Sioux WS-61 - Westland Sea King Westland Puma Westland Gazelle WG.13 - Westland Lynx WG.30 - Westland 30 EHI EH101 Westland WAH-64 Apache Bristol Belvedere Fairey Rotodyne GKN Westland AP1-88 Black Arrow Airship Industries Skyship 500 - transmission system Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom James, Derek N. Westland: A History. Gloucestershire UK: Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2002. ISBN 0-7524-2772-5. Mondey, David. Westland. London: Jane's Publishing Company, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0134-4. James, Derek N.'Westland Aircraft since 1915'.
London: Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-847-X The hovercraft of the Westlands Aircraft Group Westland at Helis.com: timeline and database section
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
The English Electric Company Limited was a British industrial manufacturer formed after the armistice of World War I by amalgamating five businesses which, during the war, had been making munitions and aeroplanes. It specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers, railway locomotives and traction equipment, diesel motors and steam turbines, its activities were expanded to include consumer electronics, nuclear reactors, guided missiles, military aircraft and mainframe computers. Two English Electric aircraft designs became landmarks in British aeronautical engineering. In 1960, English Electric Aircraft merged with Vickers and Bristol to form British Aircraft Corporation. In 1968, English Electric's operations were merged with GEC's, the combined business employing more than 250,000 people. Aiming to turn their employees and other assets to peaceful productive purposes, the owners of a series of businesses decided to merge them forming The English Electric Company Limited in December 1918.
English Electric was formed to acquire ownership of: Coventry Ordnance Works of Coventry which retained a separate identity and Scotstoun sold by April 1920 Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford Dick, Kerr & Co. of Preston founded 1880 and its subsidiaries: United Electric Car Company of Preston Willans & Robinson of Rugby which retained a separate identity—not wholly owned. The owners of the component companies took up the shares in English Electric. John Pybus was appointed managing director in March 1921 and chairman in April 1926. J H Mansell of Coventry Ordnance Works, John Pybus of Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing and W Rutherford of Dick, Kerr were joint managing directors; the five independent major operations under their control had these principal capabilities: Coventry Ordnance Works: the plant was built for the production of heavy armaments but was suitable for the manufacture of large generating units Phoenix Dynamo Works: during the war production was shells and aeroplanes but by July 1919 had been returned to electric motors Dick and United Electric Car: special war work munitions and metallic filament lamps, prior to the war locomotives and tram cars Willans & Robinson: made steam turbines and diesel motors, there was a foundryTogether these businesses covered the whole field of electrical machinery from the smallest fan motor to the largest turbo-generator.
In November 1919, English Electric bought the Stafford works of Siemens Brothers Dynamo Works Ltd. In 1931 Stafford became English Electric's centre. However, there was no post-war boom in electrical generation. Though English Electric products were indeed in heavy demand, potential buyers were unable to raise the necessary capital funds. In 1922, a drastic reorganisation of the works was carried through and that managed to halve overheads; the Coventry Ordnance Works was closed down. Cables and wireless equipment were in buoyant demand, but that would have been a new field for the company to enter. English Electric's business was in mechanical plant. Both the 1926 general strike and the miners strike caused heavy losses. In 1929 part of the Coventry Ordnance Works was sold and the pattern shop at Preston, neither of, required. By the end of 1929, it was clear the only solution to English Electric's financial difficulties was a financial restructure; the restructure acknowledged the loss of much of the shareholders' capital and brought in new capital to re-equip with new plant and machinery.
In the event, an American syndicate fronted by Lazard Brothers and Co. bankers came up with the new capital, but left control in the hands of the previous shareholders. In June 1930, four fresh directors were appointed. Ten days there was a formal announcement of an American Arrangement. "English Electric, with works at Preston, Rugby and Coventry, had entered into a comprehensive arrangement" with Westinghouse Electric International Company of New York and Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA, whereby there would be an exchange of technical information between the two organisations on steam turbines and electrical apparatus. It was made clear that this technical and manufacturing link did not carry with it any control from America. In recognition of the exchange arrangement, Westinghouse had offered to provide further capital, which would be less than 10% of the total, including that new capital organised earlier by Lazard Brothers. Seven weeks the chairman, W L Hichens, who had temporarily replaced P J Pybus in 1927 retired at the end of July 1930 and was replaced by Sir Holberry Mensforth as a director and as chairman.
It was announced that a Mr George H Nelson had been appointed to the board and would take up the position of managing director early in October. Mensforth had been taken away from his position as general manager of American Westinghouse Trafford Park Manchester —where George Nelson had been his apprentice— in 1919 by the Minister of Transport; the Minister had given Mensforth the responsibility of easing the transition of the nation's munitions businesses back into peacetime industry. It was Mensforth, they began to reorganise. The main base of the company's operation was moved from London to Stafford including the sales departments and factory accounts and the principal executives in London; the managing director was to divide his time between the various works but would be in Stafford or in LondonOn 30 December 1930 the engineering shops at Preston closed leaving the following distribution: Preston: specialists
Short Type 184
The Short Admiralty Type 184 called the Short 225 after the power rating of the engine first fitted, was a British two-seat reconnaissance and torpedo carrying folding-wing seaplane designed by Horace Short of Short Brothers. It was first flown in 1915 and remained in service until after the armistice in 1918. A Short 184 was the first aircraft to sink a ship using a torpedo, another was the only British aircraft to take part in the Battle of Jutland. Torpedo-dropping trials had been undertaken using a 160 hp Gnome powered Short Admiralty Type 166 but this had proved insufficiently powerful, so in September 1914 a new specification was formulated for an aircraft to be powered by the 225 hp Sunbeam Mohawk engine being developed. Design proposals were invited from J. Samuel White and Short Brothers. Horace Short's response when the requirements were explained him by Murray Sueter, the director of the naval air department, was to say "Well, if you want this done, I will produce a seaplane that will satisfy you", on the strength of this assurance two prototypes were ordered, for which serial nos. 184 and 185 were reserved, the resultant type so becoming the Type 184.
Similar in basic design to earlier Short floatplanes built for the Navy, the Type 184 was an equal-span three-bay tractor configuration biplane. The fuselage was a conventional wire-braced wooden box-girder, with spruce longerons spindled out to reduce weight and fittings of manganese steel; the top surface of the fuselage was faired to a semi-circular section. The engine was mounted on bearers fixed to pressed steel transverse frames mounted between the longerons and the large rectangular radiator was mounted above and behind the engine, directly in front of the upper wing; the lower wings were parallel-chord, while the upper wings increased in chord from the centre section to the wingtips. The two prototype aircraft had ailerons on the upper wing only; these were single-acting, relying on the airflow to maintain them in a neutral position unless pulled downwards by using the flight controls. The interplane struts were steel tubing with wood fairings to produce a streamline section; the wings could be swung out from the pilot's position, by means of a hand-winch in the cockpit, locking being accomplished by means of a splined and threaded spigot in the forward spar and unlocked by a quarter-turn in a similar manner to the breech of a field-gun.
In the folded position the wings were supported by a transverse shaft mounted in front of the tailplane: this was rotated by a lever in the cockpit so that its upturned ends engaged with slots on the interplane struts in order to lock the wings in the folded position. The twin unstepped main floats were carried by a two struts attached to the front cross-tube and two pairs of struts attached to the rear cross-tube, both cross-tubes being arched in the middle to accommodate the torpedo crutches; the wooden tail float incorporated a small water-rudder actuated by torque tubes connected to the main rudder, cylindrical air-bags were fitted beneath the lower wing-tips. The aircraft was fitted with a radio transmitter and receiver, powered by a wind-driven generator mounted on a hinged arm so that it could be folded back when not being used, other equipment carried included a basket of carrier pigeons, intended to be used as a back-up for the radio in the event of forced landings. Initial trials revealed a lack of longitudinal control, the single-acting ailerons caused problems when taxying downwind, so the two prototypes were fitted with lengths of bungee cord attached to control horns on the upper aileron surface to return the aileron to the neutral position.
This only produced a marginal improvement, so ailerons were added to the lower wings, these being fitted to all the aircraft built apart from the two prototypes. These were linked by cables to the upper ailerons, the bungee cord to return the ailerons was rigged between the top of the rear interplane struts and the lower ailerons; the first aircraft flew in early 1915. An order for ten more aircraft had been placed, 936 aircraft were built by ten different British aircraft companies, making it the most successful of Shorts' pre-World War II aircraft; the two prototype aircraft were embarked upon HMS Ben-my Chree, which sailed for the Aegean on 21 March 1915 to take part in the Gallipoli campaign. On 12 August 1915 one of these, piloted by Flight Commander Charles Edmonds, was the first aircraft in the world to attack an enemy ship with an air-launched torpedo. However, the ship had been crippled by a torpedo fired by the British submarine E14. However, on 17 August 1915, another Turkish ship was sunk by a torpedo of whose origin there was no doubt.
On this occasion Flight Commander Edmonds torpedoed a Turkish transport ship a few miles north of the Dardanelles. His formation colleague, Flt Lt G B Dacre, was forced to land on the water owing to engine trouble but, seeing an enemy tug close by, taxied up to it and released his torpedo, sinking the tug. Without the weight of the torpedo Dacre was able to return to the Ben-My-Chree; the performance of the Type 184 in the climatic conditions of the Mediterranean was marginal, it being necessary to fly without an observer and carry a limited amount of fuel, the 184 was therefore used either as a bomber, carrying two 112 lb bombs, or for reconnaissance and gunnery observation. A Short 184, aircraft number 8359, was the only British aircraft to take part in the Battle of Jutland. Flown by Flt Lt Frederick Rutland with Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin as observer, the aircraft was launched from HMS Engadine at about 3.08 p.m.: flying at about 90 ft due to low visibility, they spo
Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales, its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton. Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills, the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. There is evidence of human occupation from Paleolithic times, of subsequent settlement by the Celts and Anglo-Saxons; the county played a significant part in Alfred the Great's rise to power, the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The city of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Somerset's name derives from Old English Sumorsǣte, short for Sumortūnsǣte, meaning "the people living at or dependent on Sumortūn"; the first known use of Somersæte is in the law code of King Ine, the Saxon King of Wessex from 688 to 726, making Somerset along with Hampshire and Dorset one of the oldest extant units of local government in the world.
An alternative suggestion is the name derives from Seo-mere-saetan meaning "settlers by the sea lakes". The Old English name is used in the motto of the county, Sumorsǣte ealle, meaning "all the people of Somerset". Adopted as the motto in 1911, the phrase is taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Somerset was a part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, the phrase refers to the wholehearted support the people of Somerset gave to King Alfred in his struggle to save Wessex from Viking invaders. Somerset settlement names are Anglo-Saxon in origin, but numerous place names include Brittonic Celtic elements, such as the rivers Frome and Avon, names of hills. For example, an Anglo-Saxon charter of 682 refers to Creechborough Hill as "the hill the British call Cructan and the Anglo-Saxons call Crychbeorh"; some modern names are Brythonic in origin, such as Tarnock, while others have both Saxon and Brythonic elements, such as Pen Hill. The caves of the Mendip Hills were settled during the Palaeolithic period, contain extensive archaeological sites such as those at Cheddar Gorge.
Bones from Gough's Cave have been dated to 12,000 BC, a complete skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, dates from 7150 BC. Examples of cave art have been found in Aveline's Hole; some caves continued to be occupied until modern times, including Wookey Hole. The Somerset Levels—specifically dry points at Glastonbury and Brent Knoll— have a long history of settlement, are known to have been settled by Mesolithic hunters. Travel in the area was facilitated by the construction of one of the world's oldest known engineered roadways, the Sweet Track, which dates from 3807 BC or 3806 BC; the exact age of the henge monument at Stanton Drew stone circles is unknown, but it is believed to be Neolithic. There are numerous Iron Age hill forts, some of which, like Cadbury Castle and Ham Hill, were reoccupied in the Early Middle Ages. On the authority of the future emperor Vespasian, as part of the ongoing expansion of the Roman presence in Britain, the Second Legion Augusta invaded Somerset from the south-east in AD 47.
The county remained part of the Roman Empire until around AD 409, when the Roman occupation of Britain came to an end. A variety of Roman remains have been found, including Pagans Hill Roman temple in Chew Stoke,Low Ham Roman Villa and the Roman Baths that gave their name to the city of Bath. After the Romans left, Britain was invaded by Anglo-Saxon peoples. By AD 600 they had established control over much of what is now England, but Somerset was still in native British hands; the British held back Saxon advance into the south-west for some time longer, but by the early eighth century King Ine of Wessex had pushed the boundaries of the West Saxon kingdom far enough west to include Somerset. The Saxon royal palace in Cheddar was used several times in the 10th century to host the Witenagemot. After the Norman Conquest, the county was divided into 700 fiefs, large areas were owned by the crown, with fortifications such as Dunster Castle used for control and defence. Somerset contains HM Prison Shepton Mallet, England's oldest prison still in use prior to its closure in 2013, having opened in 1610.
In the English Civil War Somerset was Parliamentarian, with key engagements being the Sieges of Taunton and the Battle of Langport. In 1685 the Monmouth Rebellion was played out in neighbouring Dorset; the rebels landed at Lyme Regis and travelled north, hoping to capture Bristol and Bath, but they were defeated in the Battle of Sedgemoor at Westonzoyland, the last pitched battle fought in England. Arthur Wellesley took Duke of Wellington from the town of Wellington; the Industrial Revolution in the Midlands and Northern England spelled the end for most of Somerset's cottage industries. Farming continued to flourish and the Bath and West of England Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts and Commerce was founded in 1777 to improve farming methods. Despite this, 20 years John Billingsley conducted a survey of the county's agriculture in 1795 and found that agricultural methods could still be improved. Coal mining was an important industry in north Somerset during the 18th and 19th centuries, by 1800 it was prominent in Radstock.
The Somerset Coalfield reached its peak production by the 1920s, but all the pits have now been closed, the last in 1973. Most of the surface