Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Overseas Groups/Group Status Units - Europe (1918 - 1920)


1st Brigade

This was formed at Aire on 16 January 1916 as I Brigade, RFC with 1st Corps and 10th Army Wings. It moved to Chateau Werppe, Chocques on 1 July and by 12 January 1917 was at Chateau de Reveillon.  On 4 April an Advanced HQ was at Divion, which was joined by the Main HQ on 22 April.  Further moves followed to Bruay in August 1917 and the to Chateau 'Tenby' on 4 March 1918, where it was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 as 1st Brigade.  As the war drew to a close it was on the move again, to  Hermaville on 4 October, with 91st Wing being added later that month, to a Château near Somain on 26 October, to Villers Campeaux onn 11 November and finally to Château des Motts, Froyennes, where it disbanded on 5 March 1919.

16 Jan 1916             Brig-Gen E B Ashmore

1 Apr 1916              Brig-Gen D le G Pitcher

xx Feb 1917:            Brig-Gen G S Shephard

19 Jan 1918:             Lt Col C T MacLean (Temporary)

21 Jan 1918              Brig-Gen D le G Pitcher


2nd Brigade

Originally formed on 23 October 1915 as II Brigade, RFC in the UK, it was redesignated VI Brigade on 15 January 1916.

It reformed at Oxelaere (Cassel) on 10 February 1916 with 2nd Corps and 11th Army Wings. It was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 as 2nd Brigade, moving to St Omer on 5 April until at least 22 July but by 18 September was back at Oxelaere.  Following the Armistice it began moving eastwards and by 15 November was at Roubaix, at Namur from 26 November then on 7 December to 34 Rue Delhasse, SPA and finally on 19 December to 2 Zeugam Strasse and/or Concorde Insurance Buildings, Maria Ablass Platz, Cologne, where it disbanded on 14 September 1919.

10 Feb 1916             Brig-Gen J M Salmond

16 Feb 1916             Brig-Gen T I Webb-Bowen

 5 Nov 1917             Brig-Gen J H W Becke

1 Apr 1918               Brig-Gen T I Webb-Bowen

5 Aug 1919              Brig-Gen J H W Becke


3rd Brigade

This was formed at Beauval on 16 January 1916 as III Brigade, RFC with 3rd Corps and 12th Army Wings.  By 20 March it had moved to Chateau de Sains and on 1 April the 13th Army Wing replaced 3rd Corps Wing, which was transferred to IV Brigade. In April 1917 it moved to Avesnes-le-Comte, to Albert on 10 June and then back to Beauval on 23 March 1918.  It was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 as 3rd Brigade and was soon on the move again, to Hesdin around 11 April and then to Chateau Vaulx on 31 July.  In October it took over the new 90th Wing, then the 89th Wing and by November was at Rumilly.  Following the Armistice it was at Mesnieres by 15 November and then in December it moved to Vauchelles-Lesdomart, where it disbanded on 10 March 1919.

30 Jan 1916             Brig-Gen J F A Higgins

xx xxx 1918             Brig-Gen C A H Longcroft


4th Brigade

This was formed at Les Alencons on 1 Apr 1916 as IV Brigade, RFC with 3rd Corps and 14th Army Wings. It made a number of moves to Treux on 12 January 1917, to Bouvincourt in March, to Misery on 8 April and then to Zutdcoote, near Dunkirk in June.  By 17 November 1917 3rd Corps Wing had been disbanded and 14th Army Wing was transferred to 7th Brigade on 24 December, after which it found itself in abeyance

It was resurrected at Vauchelles-les-Domart in August 1918, moving to Vaux-en-Amienois on 29 August but it disbanded in October 1918.

1 Apr 1916             Brig-Gen E B Ashmore

16 Dec 1916          Brig-Gen J H W Becke


5th Brigade

This was formed on 15 December 1915 as V Brigade, RFC in the UK but was disbanded on 9 March 1916 on being absorbed into VI Brigade.

It reformed in France on 27 August 1916 with 15th Corps and 22nd Army Wings and possibly 9th HQ Wing.  It then begins a quite nomadic existence being at Toutencour by 12 January 1917 before moving to Albert on 31 March, to Chalet de L'Amitie, Poperinghe in June, St Andre-aux-Bois on 15 November, Villers-Breton Neaux on 15 December, finishing 1917 at Fouilloy from 18 December.  It continued its travels in 1918, moving to Mesnil St Nicaise on 15 December, back to Fouilloy on 22 March, returning to Mesnil St Nicaise on 24 March, then on the next day to Vers, near Dury.  It was transferred to RAF on 1 April 1918 as 5th Brigade and 9th HQ Wing was transferred to GHQ Brigade.  Being part of the RAF didn't reduce its travelling and the following day it moved to Vauchelles-les Domart, with an Advanced HQ going to Vers on 3 April.  In May it took over the 65th Wing from 7th Brigade and by 8 June it was at Vaux-en-Amienois to at least 22 July but by 18 September it was at Fontaine-Lescappy.  In October the 89th Army Wing was formed under its control and by 14 November it had moved to Serain.  Its final move was on 29 November when it settled at Berzee Chateau, Namur, where it disbanded on 1 April.1919.

27 Aug 1916             Brig-Gen C A H Longcroft

18 Oct 1917             Brig-Gen L E O Charlton


7th Brigade

This was formed at Kings Oak Hotel, High Beech, Loughton, Essex in October 1917 as VII Brigade, RFC for service in Italy to control 14th and 51st Wings as well as Nos 9 and 20 Balloon Companies. After crossing to the Continent it left France in elements between 16-26 November, with the first arriving in Italy on 18 November and the last on 1 December. The various elements began to form up at Mantova on 18 November, moving to Legnano on 20 November and on 1 December to Altichiero but it disbanded on 26 March 1918. 

It reformed at Spycker on 1 April 1918 to control 64th and 65th Wings and later 61st Wing operating with the Royal Navy in the Dover/Dunkirk area but disbanded in early May 1918, it duties probably being taken over by HQ No 5 Group.

 1 Apr 1918:            Brig-Gen C L Lambe


8th Brigade

The nucleus of this unit was formed at Bainville-sur-Madon on 28 December 1917 as VIII Brigade, RFC assuming executive control on 1 February 1918 on its move to Château de Froville, near Bayon with 41st Wing.  It was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 and joined the Independent Force on 6 June 1918.  It gradually expanded with 83rd Wing forming by 5 August, 85th Wing forming on 5 October,  88th Wing forming on 19 October and finally the 82nd Wing being transferred from 9th Brigade on 27 November, by which time it was located at Proville and then Vaulx Chateau, where it disbanded on 5 March 1919.

22 Jan 1918            Brig-Gen C L N Newall


9th Brigade

Formed 3 Apr 1918 by upgrading 9th Wing. Disbanded 8 Aug 1919.

This was formed at Upen D'Aval on 3 April 1918 from 9th Wing to control 9th and 51st Wings, which had returned from Italy.  On 3 June it moved to Nivillers to work in the French Army area, moving to St Andre-aux-Bois on 21 June, where it took over the 54th Wing from 10th Brigade on 24 June.  It moved again, this time to Rozoy on 14 July, continuing to operate with the French until at lest 22 July.  The 82nd Wing was taken over from No.5 Group on 31 October but then transferred to 8th Brigade on 27 November.  By 15 November it was at Noyellessur-Escaut, later moving to L'Hermitage with an Advanced HQ moving to Villa Alsa, near Spa on 17 December.  On 18 January 1919 the Main HQ moved to Chateau Borel, Morlanweltz with the Advanced HQ moving from te Hotel Disch to 1 Kaiser Strasse, Bad Godesberg on 10 May with the Main HQ joining it there on 30 May, where it disbanded on 8 August 1919.

3 Apr 1918             Brig-Gen R E T Hogg.

xx xxx 1918             Brig-Gen H P Smyth-Osbourne

12 Mar 1919           Brig-Gen J H W Becke

 5 Aug 1919            Brig-Gen P L W Herbert?


10th Brigade

This was formed at Basse Boulogne on 18.6.18, with the 54th and 65th Wings but on 24 June the 54th Wing was transferred to to 9th Brigade.  By 23 June it was at Wandonne, remaining there until at least 18 September.  On 1 July the 80th Wing was formed and the 81st Wing reformed in the Brigade and by the Armistice it was located at 97 Boulevarde de la Liberte, Lille.  Its final move took place on 16 December to Chateau Masurol, 14 Avenue des Villes, Roubaix, where it disbanded on 1 March 1919.

18 Jun 1918?             Brig-Gen E R Ludlow-Hewitt


11th Brigade

This was formed  at Hurst Park on 29 September 1918 for service with the Independent Force and was scheduled to leave for France at the end of October and assemble at Ambacourt but as the result of the Armistice, this did not take place and it disbanded around 15 November 1918.

xx Nov 1918             Brig-Gen C L Courtney


No 5 (Operations) Group

This Group was originally formed at 18 Marine Parade, Dover on 1 April 1918 in VII Brigade, No 1 Area from the Dover-Dunkirk Group RNAS. It was transferred to South-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918, when No 1 Area was redesignated.  By 3 June 1918 it was operating an Advanced HQ at Spycker and on 8 August 1918, it became No 5 (Operations) Group.  It was raised to Command status, under direct Air Ministry control on 15 August nut returned to Group status in South-Eastern Area on 25 February 1919, finally disbanding on 15 May 1919.

1 Apr 1918             Brig-Gen C L Lambe


No 6 (Adriatic) Group

Originally formed in the UK,  it reformed at Taranto in Italy on 27 September 1918 as No 6 (Adriatic) Group, being disbanded into No 66 Wing on 20 December 1918.

27 Sep 1918             Col A M Longmore


No 15 (Aegean) Group

It originally formed on 1 April 1918 as No 15 (Equipment) Group but disbanded in June 1918.  It reformed at Mudros on 27 September 1918 as No 15 (Aegean) Group to control 62 and 63 Wings at Mudros as well as HMS Ark Royal.  In June 1919 it moved to Constantinople, where it disbanded on 1 September 1919.

27 Sep 1918             Col R Gordon?


This page was last updated on 15/08/19

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