When the Cabinet met at 11am on Wednesday 15th March 1922, exactly 80 years ago this week, its collective attention was directed towards the heavens, and specifically to the future of Britain’s air force.
The RAF had been created less than four years earlier, during the final months of the Great War. It was a response to the increasing use of aerial technology that Britain’s enemies were making, and, though it was not to play a particularly important part in the Allied victory, right from the start the RAF, or Junior Service as it would be known, began to develop a reputation for danger, glamour and speed. As a direct result, it provoked jealousy and even anger amongst its cousins in the navy and army.
After the Armistice, in 1920, Winston Churchill decided to use the upstart institution to impose peace on newly-acquired British territory in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). It…
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