Excerpt from The English Dreyfus Case: A Sidelight on the Winning of the War
To England belongs the credit of having utilised women to a much greater extent than any other nation in connection with the actual work of the Fighting Forces. Three distinct Women's Auxiliary Forces had been formed - the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, the Women's Royal Naval Service, and the Women's Royal Air Force. The last named was at this stage of the war the most important, not merely owing to the continually increasing use of aircraft wherewith to harass the enemy both on his fronts, his lines of occupation, and his bases, and to the aerial campaign carried out in order to destroy the morale of the civilian population, which is admitted to have been a factor in the defeat of the Central Empires, but also because the was the only women's organisation whose permanent retention as an essential cog in the military machine of the country was then contemplated. In this connection it should be recalled that the Air Ministry had no existence as a self-contained and separate entity until the beginning of 1918, when the hitherto distinct Royal Flying Corps, which represented the Army Aviation Wing, and the Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated.
Lord Rothermere was the first Air Minister, but held the appointment for only a short time, being succeeded by the present Lord Weir. On April 24, 1918, while Lord Rothermere still held office, Miss Violet douglas-pennant received a letter, dated two days previously, from Maj or-general Sir Godfrey Paine, the then master-general of Personnel, offering her the appointment of Commandant of the Women's Royal Air Force, a position which the Air Council had just decided to create. Both Sir Godfrey Paine and his Chief were personally entirely unknown to Miss douglas-pennant.
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