Today, 28 Squadron RFC became the first British air unit to arrive in Italy to support operations there.
Back on 26 October 1917, the British and French Governments had agreed to send divisions from the Western front to help the Italians, and three days later a British detachment, consisting of the head-quarters of the XIV Corps, together with the 23rd and 44th Divisions, had been ordered to Italy. General Sir Herbert C. O. Plumer arrived to take command of the British troops in Italy on 10 November and he established his head-quarters at Legnago, but shortly afterwards moved to Padua.
For air co-operation. 28 Squadron RFC Sopwith Camels) and 34 Squadron RFC (RE8s)have been withdrawn from France, and grouped to form 51 Wing under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Percy Mills.
Each squadron has been allotted one month’s supply of petrol and oil, an adequate supply of transport and spares, and had their establishments increased to allow of immediate replacements of casualties. This is to allow the units to operated independently until the relevant support services can be set up.
The first trains left Candas in France on 7 November. The Squadrons have travelled by train, rather than flying, such is the uncertainty surrounding the operations, and this way the aircraft and stores can travel together.
While these arrangements were under way, an Allied conference on 5 November at Rapallo, agreed to send two additional British divisions to Italy, with two more aeroplane squadrons in this case 45 and 66 Squadrons RFC (Sopwith Camels)
The War Cabinet then decided to send yet a third detachment to Italy, consisting of the XI Corps headquarters
and two divisions, and so another corps squadron. 42 Squadron RFC (RE8s) was earmarked. These Squadrons will begin their transfer over the next few days.