British Military Aviation in 1911

14 January
The British War Office buys the de Havilland No.2 biplane, renaming it
the FE1 (Farman Experimental 1) because it resembles a Farman.

28 February
An Army Order is signed, authorising the formation of the Air Battalion
of the Royal Engineers.

2 March
Four Royal Navy officers commence flying training at Eastchurch in Kent.

14 March
The British War Office purchases four Bristol Boxkites from the British
and Colonial Aeroplane Company for the Army Air Battalion.

The Balloon Factory is renamed the Army Aircraft Factory.

1 April
Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers is re-formed from the Balloon Section
of the Royal Engineers. The unit is intended to create a cadre of skilled
military aviators that could be used to form field units in times of war.

The Air Battalion comprised a headquarters at South Farnborough, and
two companies: No.1 (Airship) Company at South Farnborough and No.2 (Aeroplane)
Company at Larkhill. The latter were later to become No.1 and No.3 Squadrons,
Royal Flying Corps (RFC) respectively. The commanding officer, Major Sir
Alexander Bannerman of the Royal Engineers, had 14 officers, 23 non-commissioned
officers, 153 men (Royal Engineers) and 2 buglers under him. The unit
had 4 riding-horses, 32 draught-horses, 5 aeroplanes and a miscellaneous
collection of kites, balloons and airships. A Reserve was also established.

24 April
Lieutenant M. Longmore and Lieutenant C.R. Samson become the Royal Navy’s
first qualified pilots, after just two months instruction.

Following trials, the British Army receive a Bristol Boxkite for army
co-operation duties.

22 May
Admiralty Airship No.1 ‘Mayfly’ is removed from her shed for the first
time and moored in the centre of the Cavendish Dock in Barrow-in-Furness.
However, at this stage the airship was too heavy to fly.

18 August
The Royal Aircraft Factory FE2 biplane flies for the first time, piloted
by Geoffrey de Havilland.

17 September
Lieutenant R.A. Cammell becomes the first British military pilot to die
in a flying accident when he is killed in a crash at Hendon aerodrome.

22 September
Following a series of modifications, Admiralty Airship No.1 ‘Mayfly’ is
provisionally accepted by the Royal Navy on the condition that air trials
are successfully completed.

24 September
being removed from its shed in order to commence acceptance trials, Admiralty
Airship No.1 Mayfly is caught by a sudden squall and after being righted
her back broke. The airship is not repaired and will never flew again.

18 November
The maiden flight of the first seaplane to be flown in the United Kingdom
takes place from Cavendish Dock in Barrow. It is also the first seaplane
to be fitted with twin floats. While engaged in airship development work,
a group of naval officers led by Commander Oliver Swann purchase and modify
an Avro Type D biplane, which is used to evaluate a number of different
float designs fitted to the aircraft’s standard undercarriage.

A Naval flying school is established at Eastchurch in Kent.

1 December
Lieutenant Arthur M. Longmore pilots a Short S27 on the first landing
on water in Britain, on the river Medway.

18 December
A Technical Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence is established
to examine the requirements of an Air Service for use in war on land and
sea. The Under-Secretary of State for War, Colonel J.E.B. Seely, is appointed
to chair the Technical Sub-Committee and much of the detailed work of
the sub-committee is undertaken by a group comprising Brigadier General
David Henderson, Colonel George Macdonogh, Captain Frederick Sykes and
Major Donald MacInnes.