Material on early military aviation collected by Sir Robert Brooke-Popham

Scope and Content

File 1 contains material relating to:

  • enquiries for information on wind currents to the Met Office
  • enquiries for information on monoplanes to Vickers, Deperdussin
  • enquiries for information on engines to General Aviation, Dansette Gillot & Anzani, NEC
  • wireless telegraphy from aeroplanes
  • French military aeroplane trials
  • Military Aeroplane Competition of 1912
  • British military aeroplane trials

File 2 contains material relating to:

  • reports from 1911, 1912 and 1913 on French and German aircraft and general information on military strategy, reconnaissance, competition with cavalry etc
  • memoranda on naval and military aviation from 1912-13
  • Brooke-Popham's notes for Sir Walter Raleigh's book on the early history of the Royal Flying Corps

File 3 contains a collection of articles on aviation and military strategy from various French and English journals and reviews by Sir John Capper, Col. Mervyn O'Gorman and Lord Montagu.

Administrative / Biographical History

Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham Sandhurst graduated from Sandhurst in May 1898. He learned to fly at the Bristol School at Brooklands in July 1911 and this early start made him a pioneer of service aviation. A subsequent transfer to the Royal Engineers soon led to a command in their aeroplane company. When in May 1912 the air battalion became the Royal Flying Corps he commanded 3 squadron, which had seven different types of aircraft, and began training reconnaissance crews.

Brooke-Popham spent most of World War I as a staff officer in France, where he used his position to champion the use of aircraft in the field. With the establishment of the Royal Air Force in 1918 he became a member of the Air Staff in London, with responsibility for aircraft production. Further posts in the RAF included director of research, the first commandant of the RAF Staff College and the first Royal Air Force officer to be appointed commandant of the Imperial Defence College. He was charge of the formation of the air defence of Great Britain during 1926 and air officer commanding in the Middle East during the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.

Having resigned from active military service, on 6 April 1937 Brooke-Popham became Governor of Kenya, before re-joining the air force after the outbreak of World War II. He was appointed commander-in-chief Far East in 1940, only to be replaced in before the Japanese war began in 1941 and soon left military service.

Access Information

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