July 20 @ 5:00 am Melbourne, Australia time.

The Battle Of the Somme, seen through the eyes of those British Airman flying above it, offers a fascinating glimpse of the potential, and relevance, of air power over the Western Front. Whilst many accounts focus on the fighter squadrons, described by Lloyd George as ‘the cavalry of the clouds’, it was the utility roles of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service in intelligence gathering and artillery co-operation that show the true worth of Britain’s flying services throughout the battle.

Using contemporary accounts and more recent academic study, Clive Harris will discuss the integral role the flying services played in the battle, from its adaption to rapid expansion through to its maintaining of offensive operations over German airspace, a costly policy deemed a necessity to allow the vital work of aerial observation to continue with reduced interference.

Whilst air-and integration was not fully achieved between July and November 1916, the Battle of the Somme did provide a significant stepping stone to such capability that proved so successful in the final year of the war.

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