The loss of Lanoe Hawker has highlighted once again that it doesn’t matter how good the pilot is, if his aircraft in outmatched in engine speed, maneuverability and fire-power. New types cannot come soon enough or air superiority will be lost.
Nevertheless, the pilot problem is real enough and then problem of supply has been worsened by the casualties during the recent offensive. Hugh Trenchard, the RFC CO, was not unaware of this of course, and today he wrote of his concerns to Sefton Brancker, Director of Military Aeronautics at the War Office.
“The pilot question is making me very uneasy. If we are going on with this fighting all through the winter every fine day and lose on an average each fine day anything between 8 and 12 pilots either killed, wounded or missing we shall have to take drastic steps I think to get pilots from the Navy. There is no doubt they have some good pilots.”
The Navy has of course already been contributing to the activities on the Western Front, but clearly more is needed.