22 December 1916 – Air Board given new powers

Following the formation of the War Cabinet on 7 December, the question of long term air policy remained unanswered and on 19 December, Lord Curzon addressed a note to the War Cabinet calling attention to the outstanding problems of air policy and supply. He made it clear that there was no possibility of meeting Sir Douglas Haig’s demand for twenty extra fighting squadrons from Royal Flying Corps resources, and he stated that it was indispensable that stock should be taken of all material to be produced for both air services during the next few months.

Today, in response the War Cabinet decided to widen the powers of the Air Board. It was laid down that

“(1) The Air Board should continue to fulfil the functions allotted to it, devoting special attention to the question of the proper allocation of the aerial resources of the country whenever conflict of com- petition arose as between the Admiralty and War Office.

(2) A Fifth Sea Lord should be added to the Board of Admiralty in order to represent that Department on the Air Board with a status and authority of the Director-General of Military Aeronautics.

(3) A representative of the Ministry of Munitions should be added to the Air Board.

(4) The design and supply of aircraft should be trans- ferred from the Admiralty and War Office to the Ministry of Munitions.

At the same time, the New Ministries and Secretaries Act became law giving legislative backing to the Air Board and its president who is now  ‘deemed to be a Minister appointed under this Act and ‘the Air Board a Ministry established under this Act’.

Section 7 of the Act said the Air Board was formed “for the purpose of organizing and maintaining the supply of aircraft in the national interest in connexion with the present war…”

Section 8 of the Act stated that ‘The Air Board shall in relation to aircraft have such ‘powers and duties of any Government Department or ‘Authority, whether conferred by Statute or otherwise, ‘as His Majesty may by Order in Council transfer to the ‘Board, or authorize the Board to exercise or perform ‘concurrently with or in consultation with the Govern- ‘ment department or authority concerned.’

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One thought on “22 December 1916 – Air Board given new powers

  1. Pingback: 31 January 1917 – Fifth Sea Lord | airwar19141918

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