British Military Aviation in 1924

3 January
The Air Ministry announces that 400 officers are required for flying duty
for the Royal Air Force Short Service Commission Scheme, which enables
young men to join for a limited number of years, with the possibility
of a permanent commission at the end of their service.

20 March
The Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment is formed at RAF
Martlesham Heath under the command of Wing Commander N.J. Gill.

The Royal Air Force Officers Engineering Course transfers from South Farnborough
to RAF Henlow.

1 April
The Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment forms at Felixstowe under
the command of Wing Commander C.E.H. Rathbone.


The Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Air Force (RAF) is formed. The Fleet Air
Arm encompasses those Royal Air Force units that normally embark on aircraft
carriers and fighting ships and Fleet Air Arm personnel are drawn from
both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

4 -5 May
After a dispute between Assyrian levies and members of the local Moslem
community, the levies run amok in Kirkuk, in the Sulaimaniya region of
Iraq. The Air Officer Commanding British Forces in Iraq, Air Vice-Marshal
J.F.A. Higgins, orders two platoons of the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling
Fusiliers to be airlifted immediately from Hinaidi to Kirkuk to take control
of the situation. A further two platoons of British infantry are flown
to Kirkuk on 5 May and No.30 Squadron, Royal Air Force, maintains extensive
air reconnaissance of the surrounding district.

26 May
Following the deployment of British troops to Kirkuk, to quell violence
between Assyrian troops and the local population, Moslem leader Sheikh
Mahmud declares a Jihad (a holy war) against the British and the Assyrians
in Iraq and begins to gather a large lashkar (armed force). In response,
messages are dropped to Sheikh Mahmud by the Royal Air Force, calling
upon him to report to the nearest Government forces by 26 May and warning
that Sulaimaniya would be bombed should he fail to comply.

No reply to this ultimatum had been received from Sheikh Mahmud by 26
May and on this day, 42 aircraft from Nos. 6, 8, 30, 40, 45, 55 and 70
Squadrons are gathered at Kingerban and Kirkuk prior to commencing operations
against Sulaimaniya on the following day.

27-28 May
Air Force (RAF) aircraft drop 28 tons of bombs on Sulaimaniy and although
the bombing and the resulting fires cause widespread physical destruction,
the residents had been forewarned by proclamation of the Royal Air Force’s
intentions and had evacuated the town. There are no civilian casualties
and during the Royal Air Force attack Sheikh Mahmud fleas to the caves
of Qara Dagh, returning on 1 June.

9 June
A conference at Constantinople (Istanbul) to discuss British and Turkish
claims with regard to the Mosul district of Iraq fail to reach a compromise
agreement. Subsequently, Britain refer the dispute to the League of Nations.

19 July
Sulaimaniya is re-occupied by Iraqi troops, supported by armoured cars
and aircraft and although minor disturbances continue in the mountain
areas beyond the town, this effectively marks the end of the Jihad called
by Sheikh Mahmud in May 1924.

No.14 Squadron aids the Transjordanian army to quell unrest in the Kura
district, near Amman.

14 September
In response to urgent warnings received on 13 September that Turkish troops
would attempt to seize Zahko the night, during the following days nine
Bristol Fighters of No.6 (Army Co-operation) Squadron mount a series of
offensive patrols over the town. Whilst on patrol, aircraft of the squadron
locate and attack Turkish cavalry close to the town, forcing it to retreat.