From Flying Dreadnought to Dogfighter - The troubled birth of the British Fighter 1911-1918

31 January 2017

Nuffield Sports Bar, RNAS Yeovilton


Long before the first shots were fired in the Great War, army generals knew that aircraft were going to play a crucial role in future wars. They also realised that some way of shooting down enemy planes had to be found. Designers and engineers were soon struggling to find a way of doing this.

In this talk, Greg Baughen describes the story behind British efforts to overcome the problems. Inspired by the Royal Navy's dreadnoughts, the Royal Flying Corps planned to rule the skies with their own aerial battleships. It was an approach that proved to be a mistake and would delay the development of the single-seater fighters that were needed to challenge the German Fokkers and Albatroses. The Pup, Camel and S.E.5a eventually emerged and helped save the day, but the battleship fighter was never abandoned completely. Even at the end of the war, there were still plans to develop them and the concept would continue to influence British fighter design long after the First World War.

1800 for 1830 start.

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Speaker Details

Greg Baughen

Greg was a teacher for nearly forty years, teaching Maths and English as a Second Language (ESOL), in this country and abroad. His fascination with military aviation began as a child. His initial interest was in what happened before the Battle of Britain and why the British and French air forces were so heavily defeated. This involved delving through archives in Britain and France and looking at the origins of air power in both countries. Eventually it led to tracing the history of the RAF through the Second World War and into the thermonuclear age. Retirement has enabled Greg to turn this research into a series of books. 


Nuffield Sports Bar, RNAS Yeovilton

RNAS Yeovilton
BA22 8HT

The entrance to the Nuffield Bar car park is situated opposite the Fleet Air Arm Museum entrance.

Download directions and a map.