Lord Curzon, the chair of the Air Board appears to have had enough of the Admiralty’s disregard of the board’s role. He recently learned of their commitment to £3m worth of spending on material without reference to the Board.
Today he wrote to the Prime Minister and the War Committee with his concerns. The Report, written in plain and forceful language, was, in effect, an indictment of the Admiralty’s attitude towards the Board. He stated:
“We are not prepared at this moment, while the war is still proceeding, and in the face of the dislocation that might be caused, to advocate the amalgamation of the two Services into a single Imperial Service, or the creation of an Air Ministry which shall assume supreme responsibility for the administration of such a service. Should the Board be in existence at the end of the war, it will be prepared to formulate a plan for the creation of an Air Ministry, which appears to be the only solution of the problem of the Air Service of the future, having regard both to its Imperial aspects and to the great expansion that may be expected, not on the Naval and Military side alone, but in respect of commercial and other developments.”
The Report therefore recommended that the existing Supply Departments for both services should be unified and placed under the Air Board, which would be charged with the whole responsibility for supply, design, inspection, and finance, and further recommended that the administration of the Royal Naval Air Service at the Admiralty should no longer be divided among the various Sea Lords, but made self-contained as was the administration of the Royal Flying Corps at the War Office. The officer who presides over the Naval Air Service should, said the Report, be made a member of the Board of Admiralty with authority and powers similar to those enjoyed by Sir David Henderson at the War Office.