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RNAS Grain WW1
RNAS Grain now

On this day 1 January 1913

Published: 01 Jan 2013

The first RN Air Station is commissioned.

In a letter from the Admiralty to the Admiral commanding Coastguard and Reserves, classified SECRET, approval was given for the establishment of a 'regular chain of stations for naval aircraft along the coast of the United Kingdom within easy flight of each other.' 16 sites for hydro-aeroplanes were suggested and three for airships.

The first of these, RNAS Grain, on the Isle of Grain, Medway was an experimental seaplane station which opened 3.12.12. On 1.1.13 it became the first RN Air Station to be commissioned. In a paper submitted to the cabinet 1.1.13 total costs of £34,000 were quoted for
Joint Naval & Military Flying School on Salisbury Plain
Naval Flying School at Eastchurch
Accommodation for hydro-aeroplanes, Isle of Grain
Airship base at Kingsnorth farm, Chatham
In the same paper, provision was made in the naval estimates for eight aeroplane bases to be constructed.

RNAS Grain air station commissioning was soon to be followed by others at Calshot, Hants 22.3.13; Felixstowe and Yarmouth 15.4.13.
RNAS Kingsnorth (for airships & seaplanes) was completed in April 1914 with the remaining four proposed for Scapa Flow, Peterhead, Newcastle and The Humber.


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