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World War I: The Cradle of Air Power

  • Start date: 7 November 2018 09:30 AM
  • End date: 7 November 2018 10:30 PM
  • Venue: Ngunnawal Theatre, Russell Offices



During World War I, military flying developed from simple reconnaissance flights conducted in underpowered wire and fabric aircraft to ultimately embrace a sophisticated air campaign with both strategic as well as operational aims. Pilots became ‘aces’ and the Red Baron became the embodiment of the classic fighter pilot, while terms such as ‘dogfight’, ‘synchronised machine gun’ and air superiority entered the our lexicon. The development of military aviation through 1914-18 was the coming of age of not just aeroplane and Biggles-like heroes, but was the very cradle of air power. This seminar considers the centennial of major aviation milestones of World War I and the birth of air power.

Mr Martin James

Martin James joined the RAAF in 1979 as an Aircraft Technician, and was posted to No 2 SQN, the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, No 1 Flying Training School and Support Command. In 1996 Martin commissioned as an Aeronautical Engineer and served in the Directorate General of Technical Airworthiness, Officers Training School and No 38 SQN. 

In 2005 Martin was selected to complete a Chief of Air Force Fellowship at the Air Power Development Centre, where he researched and wrote on the development of air power doctrine, and contributed to the RAAF Air Power Manual released in 2007. During this time he also completed a Masters of Defence Studies at UNSW and lectured extensively at ADF training institutions on air power history and doctrine. 

In 2008 Martin left the RAAF in order to take up a position at the Office of Air Force History and in September 2013 he was appointed the RAAF Historian. Since his appointment to the Office of Air Force History he has written numerous articles and papers on aspects of RAAF history as well as completing several deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan in support of records and artefact collection. Martin’s published works include a History of the Australian Flying Corps’ No 1 Squadron operations during World War I.