Royal Air Force Logistics During the Second World War: Transformation, Sustainment and Flexibility
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Research into air power history has grown in popularity, but much of this scholarship centres on operational activities with little study into matters of support, especially logistics; this paucity of research is particularly evident with regards to the British Royal Air Force (RAF). This thesis examines RAF logistics during the Second World War through five research questions, under the generic themes of Transformation, Sustainment and Flexibility. Its research methodology is innovative in that it uses an inter-disciplinary approach through the use of a management science model to conduct an historical study. First, it considers how the RAF’s logistics organisation came into being and how it was shaped by the Royal Flying Corps’ experience during the First World War. The inter-war years are then examined with particular emphasis on how the Expansion Programme of the mid to late 1930s shaped the logistics organisation, up to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. The thesis then takes a detailed look at how RAF logistics was organised and how it operated its supply chain throughout the war including: manning, command and control, procurement, warehousing and transport. The final part of the thesis examines how logistic services were provided to the front line, both at home and overseas.
PhD in History