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Netheravon Aerodrome in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Netheravon Aerodrome

16th July 1914   The Royal Flying Corps was constituted in 1912 and in August 1913 a single flight of No. 3 Squadron, was detached to create No. 5 Squadron, based at Farnborough. The squadron's aircraft were four Maurice Farman "Longhorns" (a pusher design with elevator in front) and three Avro 504s. The squadron was engaged in testing new aircraft types alongside the adjacent Royal Aircraft Experimental Factory.

On May 28 1914 No. 5 Sqn. moved to Netheravon for battle training equipped with one flight of Sopwiths and two flights of Henry Farmons. Then on July 6, 1914, it moved to Fort Grange, Gosport, intended as a home base for the squadron. The Sopwith’s proved unsatisfactory and were replaced with Avros.

4th August 1914   No 4 Sqn was created from No 2 Flt No 2 Sqn at Farnborough on 16 Sep 1912 and moved to Netheravon in 1913. A great part of the initial work was experimental, and the specific challenge to No. 4 Squadron was to develop the art of night flying. During this time tentative trials were also carried out with wireless sets for artillery co-operation. The success of these trials led to the creation of a separate Wireless Flight to develop the system further.

At the outbreak of war 4 Sqn moved to Eastchurch and undertook naval and anti-Zeppelin patrols.

1st Jan 1915 10 Squadron Formed  No. 10 Sqn was formed from elements of No. 1 Reserve Squadron at Farnborough on 1st of January 1915. The Squadron immediately moved to a new base at Brooklands Aerodrome, and then spent 4 months at the training base at Netheravon from April until being posted as operational to St Omer in France on the 27th July 1915, equipped with the RAE BE2 observation machine.

No. 10 squadron was used repeatedly for trials of new aircraft designs, or the use of aircraft in new roles, throughout the war.

14th Feb 1915   No 11 Squadron formed at Netheravon on 14 February 1915 from a nucleus of No. 7 Squadron and was equipped as a scout (fighter) unit. The squadron moved to St Omer France on 25th July 1915 flying the Vickers Gunbus. 11 squadron was the first squadron to be a specialist fighter squadron, and was largely deployed to protect the reconnaissance patrols of other Squadrons from attack by enemy aircraft.

7th March 1915   No 1 Squadron Royal Flying Corps was formed on 13 May 1912 from No 1 Balloon Company of the Royal Engineers which had been formed at Woolwich in 1878. In 1914 the Squadron transferred its balloon operations to the new Royal Naval Air Squadron and became an aeroplane fighting force based at Brooklands

At the outbreak of war the squadron initially provided aircrew training at Brooklands, but on 7 March 1915 it crossed over to RFC HQ at St Omer in France. It was equipped with a mixture of Avro 504s and Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8s, and operated mainly in the reconnaissance role.

15th April 1916   No.43 Squadron was formed at Stirling on 15 April 1916 and began training in a variety of obsolete aircraft. In August the Squadron was considered ready for operations and moved to Netheravon to await delivery of their operational aircraft - the Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter reconnaissance aircraft. Squadron Commander Sholto Douglas was sent to France for flying experience in the Sopwith with 63 Squadron. However on his return he found his pilots had all been drafted into other Squadrons and his new aircraft had not yet arrived. Consequently he had to begin recruitment and training again.

28th July 1916   No 62 Squadron formed on July 28th 1916 from a nucleus flight of No. 7. Training Squadron at Netheravon, Wilts. The squadron moved to Filton on 8th August, to undertake advanced fighter pilot training.

15th April 1916   No 48 Squadron was formed at Netheravon on the 15th of April 1916. On the 8th June they relocated to Rendcomb aerodrome near Cirencester for training, flying BE12s.

2nd July 1917   No 72 Squadron formed at Upavon from a nucleus provided by the CFS on 2 July 1917 and served for a while as a Training Squadron at Netheravon.

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Netheravon Aerodrome

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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