The Royal Naval Air Service and Anti-Submarine Warfare in the North Sea, 1917 – 1918

  • Alexander Howlett


This paper examines the role of the Royal Naval Air Service in the anti- submarine warfare and convoy protection campaigns of 1917-1918. During this crisis of the naval war, Britain’s naval aviators carried out coastal air patrols, directly bombed Germany’s submarine bases in Belgium, and flew aerial escort missions in support of merchant convoys. These operations are rarely considered in the literature on anti-submarine warfare, but form an integral component of the Royal Navy’s holistic approach to defeating Germany’s U-boats, and ultimately directly contributed to the allied victory in the First World War.