Centenary of the Royal Air Force
On the centenary of the Royal Air Force we include this interview below with Francis William Long who served during the First World War, involved in the Schneider Trophy races and development of the new monoplane fighters and Merlin engine. This is just one of many interviews we have in the member's section so join today and access this exclusive content.
British officer served as pilot with Royal Flying Corps and 65 Sqdn, RAF in GB and Belgium, 1917-1919; served with 55 Sqdn, RAF in Iraq, 1922-1924 and 47 Sqdn, RAF in Egypt, 1924-1925; served as test pilot with Engine Research Flight, Experimental Section, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, GB, 1926-1929; served as adjutant with Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, GB, 1929; served with High Speed Flight at Calshot during Schneider Trophy races in GB, 1930-1931; served with 8 Sqdn, RAF in Aden, 1932-1933; served as adjutant and flying instructor with 604 Sqdn, Auxiliary Air Force at RAF Hendon, GB, 1934; student with RAF Staff College, Andover, GB, 1935; served as staff officer with Directorate of Organisation, Air Ministry, London, GB, 1936-1939. REEL 1 Aspects of period with Royal Flying Corps and RAF in GB and Belgium, 1917-1919: enlistment in Royal Flying Corps, 1917; flying training at Beaulieu; training as instructor; posting 65 Sqdn, Royal Air Force in Belgium, 10/1918; flying captured German Fokker D7 Fighter and various other aircraft during post war period; demobilisation, 1919; lack of effects of transition of Royal Flying Corps to RAF, 4/1918. Re-enlistment in RAF, 1922. Recollections of period as pilot with 55 Sqdn, RAF in Mosul, Iraq, 1922-1924: voyage from GB to Iraq; deployment of RAF in Iraq; squadron officers; role of squadron.
REEL 2 Continues: role of RAF in controlling operations in Iraq against Turkish infiltration; bombing of Kurdish villages; air evacuation of civilians from Sulaimaniyah; start of Baghdad to Cairo air mail service. Aspects of period as pilot with 47 (Bombing) Sqdn, RAF in Egypt, 1924-1925: posting to unit at Helwan; flight to Khartoum in effort to prevent Egyptian Army mutiny; reaction to granting of permanent commission. Aspects of period as test pilot with Engine Research Flight, Experimental Section, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, 1926-1929: role and test flying duties; use of high altitude heating and oxygen equipment.
REEL 3 Continues: experimental aircraft flying experiences; introduction of parachutes and first jump. Period as adjutant with Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, 1929: continuing interest in high speed aircraft; history of Schneider Trophy races. Recollections of period as pilot with High Speed Flight at Calshot, 1930-1931: joining flight; preparations for 1931 race; aircraft types used by flight; problems with Supermarine S.6; character of Supermarine S.6B and S.6As; composition of flight; modification of Supermarine S.6A; difficulties with propeller design and taking off in water; British victory in Schneider Trophy without opposition and subsequent world speed record; route of course.
REEL 4 Continues: experience gained during Schneider Trophy aircraft leading to development of Supermarine Spitfire and Merlin engine; engine problems prior to 1929 Schneider Trophy race. Period as flight commander with 8 (Bomber) Sqdn, RAF in Aden, 1932-1933: posting to unit; squadron's role; return to GB for staff college examination, 1933; opinion of Fairey IIIF. Period as adjutant and flying instructor with 604 (County of Middlesex) Sqdn, Auxiliary Air Force at RAF Hendon, 1934: flying Hawker Fury at annual camp at RAF Tangmere; personalities in squadron; squadron flying routine. Memories of attending RAF Staff College, Andover, 1935. Period as staff officer with Directorate of Organisation, Air Ministry, 1936- 1939: posting to directorate, 1936; expansion of RAF squadrons.