Today Lieutenant-Colonel H. R. M. Brooke-Popham, currently Officer Commanding, No 3 Wing RFC, succeeded Lieutenant-Colonel F. H. Sykes as G.S.O. I at RFC flying head-quarters in France.
After graduating from Sandhurst in May 1898, Brooke-Popham was gazetted to the Oxfordshire Light Infantry as a second lieutenant and the following year promoted to lieutenant on 24 November 1899. As a subaltern he saw active service in the Second Boer War during 1899 and 1900 and on 26 April 1902 he was seconded for further duty in South Africa. During his time there he served in the Orange Free State, the Transvaal, the Orange River Colony, and Cape Colony. He was promoted to captain on 9 November 1904. From 22 January 1910, he attended the Army Staff College at Camberley.
Brooke-Popham was attached to Air Battalion Royal Engineers during its manoeuvres of 1911, after which he decided to learn to fly. He attended the flying school at Brooklands and gained Royal Aero Club certificate number 108 in July 1911. In early 1912 he transferred to the Air Battalion, taking up duties as a pilot in March. The next month, Brooke-Popham was appointed Officer Commanding of the Battalion’s Aeroplane Company.
With the creation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from the Air Battalion on 13 May 1912, Brooke-Popham was transferred to the RFC. He was appointed the first Officer Commanding of 3 Squadron.nFollowing the outbreak of the First World War, Brooke-Popham went to France as the Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General in the headquarters of the Royal Flying Corps, where he was responsible for the administrative and technical support to the squadrons deployed in the field.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sykes is to be seconded to the Admiralty and will take over command of the air forces in the Dardanelles.