15 June 1916 – Haig wants more squadrons

The British Commander Douglas Haig, despite his early dismissal of the air services is now fully supportive of the assistance they provide to his forces. In conjunction with his plans for further expansion of the Army, he also wants to expand the Royal Flying Corps to provide additional support.

Obviously there is a long lead in time to provide pilots, aircraft and engines in sufficient numbers to meet demand.

Currently there are 59 Squadrons in existence, of which 28 are serving in France, 5 in other theatres, 7 on Home defence duties and the remaining 19 in training for deployment. Supporting these are an additional 26 training squadrons. War Office approval has been given for a total of 70 operational squadrons including 10 Long-range bombing squadrons.

Today, Haig submitted plans to the Air Board for the expansion of the Royal Flying Corps. He wants to double the number of operational squadrons on the Western Front to 56 by spring 1917 ‘at the latest, and sooner, if possible’.

This will increase the total number of service squadrons sanctioned to 86, including 10 home defence, 10 in other theatres and 10 long range bombing squadrons. To support the expansion, Haig also plans to increase the number of training squadrons to 56, not including the Central Flying School.          

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