Secretary of State for Air

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Air Council in session at the Air Ministry in July 1940. Air Council in session WWII IWM CH 966.jpg
Air Council in session at the Air Ministry in July 1940.

The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet-level British position. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. It was created on 10 January 1919 to manage the Royal Air Force. In 1946, the three posts of Secretary of State for War, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for Air became formally subordinated to that of Minister of Defence, which had itself been created in 1940 for the co-ordination of defence and security issues. On 1 April 1964, the Air Ministry was incorporated into the newly-created united Ministry of Defence, and the position of Secretary of State for Air was abolished.

Air Ministry former department of the British Government

The Air Ministry was a department of the Government of the United Kingdom with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Royal Air Force, that existed from 1918 to 1964. It was under the political authority of the Secretary of State for Air.

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

Secretary of State for War British cabinet-level position

The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of State for War headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament, and a Military Secretary, who was a general.

Contents

Chairmen of the Joint War Air Committee, 1916

PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical party
Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby by Sir William Orpen.jpg The Right Honourable
Edward Stanley
17th Earl of Derby

KG CB GCVO TD PC
February
1916
February
1916 [1]
Conservative

Presidents of the Air Board, 1916–1917

PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical party
George Curzon2.jpg The Right Honourable
George Curzon
1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston

KG GCSI GCIE PC
15 May
1916
3 January
1917
Conservative
Portrait of Lord Cowdray.jpg The Right Honourable
Weetman Pearson
1st Viscount Cowdray

PC
3 January
1917
26 November
1917
Liberal

Presidents of the Air Council, 1917–1919

PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical party
Lord Rothermere.jpg The Right Honourable
Harold Harmsworth
1st Baron Rothermere

PC
26 November
1917
26 April
1918
William Weir, 1st Viscount Weir in 1918.jpg The Right Honourable
William Weir
1st Baron Weir

PC
26 April
1918
10 January
1919
Jack Seely.jpg The Right Honourable
J. E. B. Seely
CB CMG DSO TD DL
MP for Ilkeston
January
1919
November
1919 [2]

Secretaries of State for Air, 1919–1964

PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical party
Churchill 1904 Q 42037.jpg The Right Honourable
Winston Churchill [3]
MP for Dundee
10 January
1919
1 April
1921
Liberal
Frederick Edward Guest old photo-crop.jpg The Right Honourable
Frederick Edward Guest
DSO
MP for East Dorset
1 April
1921
19 October
1922
Liberal
Sir Samuel Hoare GGBain.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Samuel Hoare
Bt CMG JP
MP for Chelsea
31 October
1922
22 January
1924
Conservative
LordBirdwood.jpg The Right Honourable
Christopher Thomson
1st Baron Thomson

PC
22 January
1924
3 November
1924
Labour
Sir Samuel Hoare GGBain.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Samuel Hoare
Bt CMG JP
MP for Chelsea
6 November
1924
4 June
1929
Conservative

LordBirdwood.jpg

The Right Honourable
Christopher Thomson
1st Baron Thomson

PC
7 June
1929
5 October
1930
Labour
Lord Amulree.jpg The Right Honourable
William Mackenzie
1st Baron Amulree

GBE PC KC
14 October
1930
5 November
1931
Labour
Charles (Charlie) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.jpg The Most Honourable
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
7th Marquess of Londonderry

KG MVO PC
5 November
1931
7 June
1935
Conservative
The Right Honourable
Philip Cunliffe-Lister
1st Viscount Swinton

GBE MC PC
7 June
1935
16 May
1938
Conservative
Kingsley Wood cropped.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Kingsley Wood
MP for Woolwich West
16 May
1938
3 April
1940
Conservative
Sir Samuel Hoare GGBain.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt
Bt GCSI GBE CMG JP
MP for Chelsea
3 April
1940
11 May
1940
Conservative
The Air Ministry, 1939-1945. CH10270.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Archibald Sinclair
Bt KT CMG
MP for Caithness and Sutherland
11 May
1940
23 May
1945
Liberal
The Right Honourable
Harold Macmillan
MP for Stockton-on-Tees
25 May
1945
26 July
1945
Conservative
William Wedgewood-Benn.jpg The Right Honourable
William Wedgwood Benn
1st Viscount Stansgate

DSO DFC PC
3 August
1945
4 October
1946
Labour
Philip Noel-Baker 1942.jpg The Right Honourable
Philip Noel-Baker
MP for Derby
4 October
1946
7 October
1947
Labour
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Arthur Henderson
MP for Kingswinford before 1950
MP for Rowley Regis and Tipton after 1950
7 October
1947
26 October
1951
Labour
Lord De L'Isle.jpg The Right Honourable
William Sidney
6th Baron De L'Isle and Dudley

VC PC
31 October
1951
20 December
1955
Conservative
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Nigel Birch
OBE
MP for West Flintshire
20 December
1955
16 January
1957
Conservative
No image.svg The Right Honourable
George Ward
MP for Worcester
16 January
1957
28 October
1960
Conservative
Julian Amery 1965-11-10 (cropped).jpg The Right Honourable
Julian Amery
MP for Preston North
28 October
1960
16 July
1962
Conservative
The Right Honourable
Hugh Fraser
MBE
MP for Stafford and Stone
16 July
1962
1 April
1964
Conservative

Notes

  1. Resigned.
  2. Resigned.
  3. Also Secretary of State for War.

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