“One Hundred Years of British Naval Aviation”
Nighthawk Publishing, Available November 2008,
eBook, £9.99, ISBN 1-84280-118-X
The British Government has selected 2009 as the Official Centenary of the Fleet Air Arm. This is an arbitrary date that can be justified on the basis that the Naval Estimates for 1909 included funds for the construction of the ill-fated HM Airship No 1 “Mayfly”.
The real story of British naval aviation starts with papers written by the colourful Admiral Cochrane while still a Napoleonic War frigate captain. Later, RN observers during the American Civil War experienced balloon flight. By the close of the Nineteenth Century naval gunnery officers were regularly using Army balloons as observation platforms, spotting for naval guns landed in South Africa.