The Anti-Aircraft defences in London have finally been brought into line with those in the rest of the country. Up until now, there have been seven seven sub-commanders under the General Officer Commanding, London District for training, and under Lord French, the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, for operations.
In the rest of the country each Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander is responsible both for training and operations.
The War Office have now decided that this is no longer sustainable and have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel M. St. L. Simon, Royal Engineers as the overall commander for London. Simon had been brought home from France in February 1916 to supervise the construction of gun and light positions in the London area and so know s the area well. His official title is Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander, London.
He is under the orders of Lord French for training and operations, and of the GOC London District, for administration and discipline.
Simon has already started taking steps to simplify and to standardize both equipment and training. He is also proposing that the various searchlights should cooperate to provide an orderly ‘light’ patrol around London. He also issued orders that when airships approached, the searchlights and guns were to be used without hesitation even at long range with the aim of keeping the enemy away from the capital: The destruction of the hostile craft was to be secondary.
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive as the chances of hitting the Zeppelins at long distance was slim. However Simon had noted a trend in which other airships tended to abandon their missions if another airship was hit. He hoped that the ring of searchlights and guns might provide a deterrent effect.