Royal Air Force History, Westland Wapiti & Vickers Vincent Biplanes

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In this video I spend a few minutes describing the history of the Royal Air Force at RAF Hinaidi in Iraq during the 1930s.

Any tribesman in Northern Iraq during the 1930s who looked up at the sound of aero engines might have spotted this Handley Page HP42 ‘Horsa’ making its way across the sky, keeping the British Empire and its colonies connected.

Or this trimotor from the fledgling Air France airline ferrying mail and passengers to the Middle East.

The boatmen of Baghdad might have sailed their dhows passed Supermarine Southampton Flying Boats of 208 Squadron, seen here resting like migratory birds on the Tigris, on their way to Singapore.

Aviation was barely a few decades old but its impact and reach were expanding rapidly.

The 1920 proposed British Mandate of Mesopotamia (Iraq) was superseded by the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1922 after rioting broke out in 1920.

The treaty allowed the British to exercise control over military affairs in the region while maintaining self-governance by the Iraqi people.

Royal Air Force Station Hinaidi was established as the main airfield in the Kingdom of Iraq when the RAF took command of it in 1922.

Up to that point it had been under the command of the British Army since World War I.

The airfield was located on the outskirts of Baghdad about six miles from the city to the east of the Tigris river.

Continued in the video…

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