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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: December 6th, 2018, 9:49 pm
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Location: Sydney, Australia
This is my very first attempt at an AU. I’d like to acknowledge llamaman2, thegrumpykestrel, & whitey_nl. Their AUs of the Channel Islands Federation, the Dominion of Westralia, & the Dominion of Newfoundland & Labrador inspired me to take the leap & attempt my first AU. I’m basing it on the former British colony of West Florida. It’s a what-if look at how things might have turned out had Britain retained a portion of its West Florida colony after 1783. But I’m an absolute novice when it comes to drawings, so please bear with me.

For those who have been following this AU, I've made some changes to the storyline. I've also done some editing to tidy things up, remove some duplication & put things in a little more chronological order.


The Dominion of West Florida

West Florida is a dominion of the British Commonwealth, like Canada, New Zealand or Australia. It lies along the northern Gulf of Mexico, bordering the US states of Alabama, Georgia & Florida. Its eastern border is formed by the Apalachicola & Chattahoochee rivers, with the western border following the Perdido river. The northern border is the latitude line of 31 degrees. West Florida has a total area of just under 22,800 square kilometres, making it slightly larger than Wales, with a population of just over 985,000. A large proportion of the population lives along the coast, particularly in Panama City & the capital Pensacola. West Florida lies in the US Central time zone. Historically, the West Florida economy has depended on farming, forestry & lumber. Shipbuilding & commercial fishing have also been important industries for many years. More recently, growth in tourism & the hospitality industry has been a major contributor to the West Florida economy.

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History

Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years' War, Spain agreed to cede its Florida territories to Britain. France also ceded much of its Louisiana colony east of the Mississippi River to Britain. From this territory, two provinces were established. East Florida, with its capital in St. Augustine & West Florida, with Pensacola as its capital. West Florida was a strip of land along the Gulf Coast, bounded by the Mississippi River & Lake Pontchartrain in the west, by the 31st parallel to the north & the Apalachicola River to the east. New British settlers arrived, including some from the thirteen colonies. Surveyors mapped much of the landscape & coastline. Attempts were also made to develop relations with the indigenous tribes of the region. The first colonial assembly was established in 1764. Ten years later, West Florida was invited to send delegates to the First Continental Congress, but they declined. Once the American Revolutionary War had broken out, the colonists remained overwhelmingly loyal to the Crown. Spain officially entered the American Revolutionary War in May 1779 & by April 1780, the governor of Spanish Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, had captured all British territory west of the Perdido River, including Baton Rouge & Mobile. Despite the Pensacola garrison surviving a long siege, the 1783 Peace of Paris required Britain to cede all Florida territories west of the Perdido River & east of the Apalachicola River back to Spain.

In 1813, British West Florida was invaded by American forces, led by future American president Andrew Jackson, during the War of 1812. However, the terms of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war in 1815, called for all occupied territory to be returned. The pre-war boundaries between Canada, British West Florida & the United States were to be restored. By the middle of the 19th Century, the colonial population was granted self government, with the first parliament sitting in 1864, 100 years after the first colonial assembly. West Florida remained a colony until acquiring Dominion status in 1907, becoming a self-governing state of the Empire, relatively autonomous from British rule.

World War One:
As part of the British Empire, forces were contributed from the 1st West Florida Regiment during World War I. In 1915, West Florida joined Australia, New Zealand & Newfoundland, contributing troops to the Gallipoli campaign. Later in the war, the 1st West Florida Regiment served on the Western Front in France & Belgium, adding Somme & Ypres to their Gallipoli battle honours. It was following their gallant World War One service that the regiment received its “Royal” prefix.

World War Two:
Despite its relatively small size, West Florida’s military once again contributed to British Empire forces during World War Two, mainly contributing naval units to serve alongside British & Canadian allies in the Atlantic. On 3rd September 1939, Britain declared war on Germany, automatically committing India & the Crown colonies. But the 1931 Statute of Westminster had granted autonomy to the Dominions. Australia & New Zealand immediately joined the British declaration, with West Florida & Newfoundland both joining the following day on 4th September. In May 1940, West Florida joined Canada in providing troops to assist with the defence of the British Caribbean colonies. Several companies of the Royal West Florida Regiment served throughout the war in Bermuda, Jamaica, the Bahamas, British Guiana & Trinidad. From June 1940, vessels of the Royal West Florida Navy began contributing to convoy escort duties on BHX convoys leaving Bermuda & joining the HX convoys on route from Halifax to Liverpool. A small number of West Florida ships & crews also served in the Atlantic, in addition to British east coast & channel convoy escort duties.

Post-War:
In 1949, West Florida was a founding member of NATO & in July 1950, once again saw itself involved in conflict, this time in Korea. The frigate HMWFS Pensacola was deployed to the peninsula until May 1951, performing escort & shore bombardment duties. Two light batteries from the Royal West Florida Artillery also saw service in Korea. After the Korean War, West Florida’s military would not be involved in another conflict for almost 30 years, as they took no part in the Vietnam War. There would, however, be a brief period of high alert in October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1982, West Florida openly assisted the UK during their recapture of the Falkland Islands. A RWFN vessel took up station as the West Indies Guard Ship for the duration of the conflict, allowing RN resources to be redeployed to the British task force. As a member of NATO, West Florida often hosts allied forces at their naval facilities in Pensacola, & their main air base near Panama City. The RWFN conducts regular exercises with RN vessels in the Caribbean whilst they are deployed to Atlantic Patrol Tasking North, & West Florida forces have been regular participants in various United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Governance:
West Florida is a constitutional monarchy that uses a parliamentary system of government with Queen Elizabeth II as it’s monarch, represented by the Governor-General. It uses a bicameral parliament, consisting of an upper house (the Senate), & lower house (the House of Commons). By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant. The Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint & the Queen or Governor-General provides royal assent to make bills into law. Senators are appointed by the Governor-General, while members of the House of Commons are directly elected.

Foreign Relations / Foreign Policy:
West Florida maintains good relations with all nations within the Anglosphere, especially Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand & the UK. West Florida is an active member of the Commonwealth, as well as a founding member of the United Nations & NATO. More recently, West Florida has started developing closer relations with Caribbean & Latin American neighbours to its immediate south. The military has also started working more closely with the Alabama National Guard as part of the US State Partnership Program. While visitor visas are not required by anyone travelling to West Florida for short periods, residency & work permits are required for longer stays.

Economy:
West Florida has a market economy with moderate-to-high GDP per capita & low rate of poverty, with the West Florida pound as the nation’s currency. Farming, forestry, & lumber have historically been important industries to the West Florida economy, along with shipbuilding, & commercial fishing. Import/export shipping from Pensacola & Panama City has grown steadily in importance over the years. By 2015, the ports of Pensacola & Panama City had a combined annual container volume of around 175,000 TEU & a combined annual cargo tonnage of 5 million tonnes. Following World War II, the economy was boosted by the expansion of the West Florida military & the growth of tourism & the hospitality industry. To help encourage & maintain tourism, West Florida’s Goods & Services Tax (GST) has been kept low & although corporate taxation is payable, it is still significantly lower than other countries in the region, often encouraging businesses to set up operations in West Florida.

Population:
West Florida had a population of approximately 985,000 at its last census in 2015, with an estimated population of just over 1,000,000 by 2020. The majority of West Floridians are of English or Scots-Irish descent, with the largest minorities being Hispanic, Caribbean, Indian, Asian & native American. The UK, Canada, the British Caribbean & other parts of the Commonwealth have long been West Florida’s main source of immigration. The majority of the population lives along the coast, particularly in Pensacola & Panama City. Other population centres include East Bay, Crestview, Santa Rosa, St. Joseph, Queensborough, Williamtown & West Point.

Geography & Climate:
West Florida has land borders with three US states. It’s eastern border with Florida & Georgia is formed by the Apalachicola & Chattahoochee rivers. Its western border with Alabama follows the Perdido river. The deep-water port of Pensacola Bay is formed by the joining of Escambia & East bays which are fed by the Escambia & Blackwater rivers, respectively.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, completed in 1949, is a navigable inland waterway, beginning near the town of West Point on St. George Sound & traversing West Florida by means of bays, lagoons, sounds, & man-made channels to Perdido Pass at the border with Alabama. There it joins the US portion of the waterway which continues through Alabama, Mississippi & Louisiana, finally terminating near Brownsville, Texas. The waterway provides a channel with a controlling depth of 3.7 m, designed primarily for barge transportation.

The barrier islands of Perdido Key, Ono Island & Santa Rosa Island extend from the western border with Alabama to Choctawhatchee Bay. In the east, St. Vincent & St. George Islands form St. Vincent Sound & Apalachicola Bay, & reach to the border with Florida. The prevalent climate of West Florida is humid subtropical (Köppen: Cfa), with an average daily temperature of 21.5 °C. Mean high temperatures for late July is around 30° Celsius, with mean low temperatures for early to mid-January around 7° Celsius.

In the summer, high temperatures seldom exceed 38° Celsius. Winter low temperatures have been recorded between −1 & 4 ° Celsius. However, these temperatures normally don’t extend more than a few days at a time. Due to its subtropical climate, West Florida rarely receives measurable snowfall. However, on rare occasions, a combination of cold moisture & freezing temperatures can result in snowfall in the north of the country. Hurricanes pose a severe threat each year, particularly from August to October. It is rare for a hurricane season to pass without at least some impact by at least a tropical storm, the worst being Hurricane Ivan in 2004 & Hurricane Michael in 2018.


Last edited by TJW on September 28th, 2020, 5:08 am, edited 37 times in total.

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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 6th, 2019, 9:16 am
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Royal West Florida Navy (RWFN) 1935-1940:
As with other colonies of the British Empire, the Royal Navy provided security for West Florida. The Naval Defence Act 1910 formally created the West Florida Naval Forces as a separate division within the Royal Navy. The Act authorised the Government to establish a naval force organisation which would pass to the control of the Admiralty in the event of war. The West Florida Squadron had been formed in 1865, falling under the command of North America & West Indies Station, with headquarters in Halifax & Bermuda. A senior Captain was in command of the squadron, & it remained in existence until the creation of the Royal West Florida Navy in October 1927.


S Class Destroyer:
The S class destroyer HMS Tomahawk was originally built by Yarrows for the RN in July 1918. She saw active service in the last months of World War One, before being stationed at Malta for service with the Mediterranean fleet. Paying off into reserve in 1923, Tomahawk was transferred to the RWFN in February 1928, commissioning in early 1929 with the new pennant number H-90. By early 1938, Tomahawk had been refitted & converted to a destroyer escort. This included an enlarged bridge, which allowed a gunnery control position to be fitted. Her forward & aft 4-inch guns were upgraded to the new Mark XVI version, in an enclosed Mark XX mounting. The centre 4-inch gun, along with both sets of torpedo tubes, were removed to enhance depth charge armament. Four depth charge throwers, two stern racks, & up to 60 depth charges were carried. Four Mk VII quadruple mountings for QF 2-pdr pom-poms were carried for anti-aircraft defence. These were all eventually upgraded to 20mm Oerlikon cannons, firstly in single, then twin mountings. She had a full complement of 90 officers, petty officers & ratings.

World War Two Service:
In mid-February 1940 Tomahawk departed Panama City for Malta, proceeding via Nassau, Bermuda & Gibraltar. Upon arrival in Malta during early April, she commenced routine patrol duties in addition to escorting Malta-Alexandria convoys. This continued until December, when British & Dominion troops began their advance into Libya. When German troops & Italian reinforcements advanced into Libya, Allied forces retreated back to the Egyptian border, leaving a garrison at Tobruk to deprive the Axis of a supply port close to the Egypt–Libya border. Tomahawk was part of the Inshore Squadron, along with the Australian “Scrap Iron Flotilla” & played an important part in the campaign. From April to July she ran the blockade as part of the Tobruk Ferry Service, keeping the besieged Allied forces at Tobruk supplied with fuel, ammunition, water & medical supplies, in addition to evacuating wounded personnel & prisoners of war.

Towards the end of 1941 Tomahawk was feeling the strain, having survived over twenty air attacks. If she were to remain in service, a period of repair & refit was imperative. In late July, Tomahawk made her final run to Tobruk & after some minor repairs, departed Alexandria for the final time in early August. Upon arrival in Britain, she began a long refit which kept her in dockyard hands until February 1942. After completion of post-refit trials, Tomahawk was attached to Western Approaches Command, taking up convoy escort duties in the NW approaches, often working with the other S Class destroyers Saladin, Scimitar, Sabre, Shikari & Sardonyx. From October 1943, as more modern ships reached the fleet in numbers, Tomahawk & her S Class sisters transferred to coastal convoy work in UK waters, where they served until the end of hostilities with Germany. Due to her advancing age, Tomahawk was paid off shortly after VE Day in May 1945. For her World War Two service, she received the battle honours Mediterranean 1940-41, Libya 1941, Atlantic 1942-43 & English Channel 1943-45. The below drawing shows HMWFS Tomahawk shortly after her arrival in the Mediterranean during 1941.


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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:50 am, edited 15 times in total.

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LtMaverick114
Post subject: Re: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 10th, 2019, 10:53 am
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Looks promising! keep it up!

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Upcomming:
Kuban AU, Fryssia AU (with MitcheLL) and random stuff

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Muscatatuck
Post subject: Re: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 17th, 2019, 12:50 am
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Any updates? Was looking forward to where this was headed.


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TJW
Post subject: Re: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 21st, 2019, 11:21 pm
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There will be some updates soon. Sorry for the slow pace. Real life keeps getting in the way.


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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 24th, 2019, 12:13 am
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For this one, I'd like to say a big thank you to thegrumpykestrel for his entry in the London Treaty Gunboat Challenge. His Zuytdorp class sloop was exactly what I needed for this part of my AU.

Pensacola Class Sloop:
Following the creation of the Royal West Florida Navy in 1927, the government began looking at how to develop modern defence capabilities. Any ships that would serve alongside the gifted S class destroyer Tomahawk, would need to be both flexible & effective, yet affordable. Whilst it was originally expected ships would be purchased from Britain, a group of prominent West Florida businessmen lobbied for several years to have vessels designed & built locally, to stimulate West Florida’s shipbuilding industry.

Finally, in early 1935, the government contracted Gulf Coast Dockyards (GCD) to build a sloop for the RWFN, on the understanding that GCD would pay for any cost overruns beyond the agreed price. GCD’s design had originally been drafted to comply with the London Naval Treaty, restricting the vessel to a maximum speed of 18.5 knots & standard displacement of 1,620 tons. It was 98.5 metres long, with a beam of 11.75 metres & a draught of 3.5 metres. Powered by geared steam turbines, driving two shafts, it had a range of 7,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.

Main armament consisted of three QF 4-inch guns in single mounts, with three Mk VII quadruple mountings for QF 2-pdr pom-poms carried for close in & air defence. In compliance with the London Treaty limitations, a crane & seaplane were carried in place of torpedo armament. Whilst some saw this as a means to provide spare room for torpedoes in the event that the treaty was nullified, the vessel retained its seaplane capability until well after the end of World War Two. For underwater targets, up to 60 depth charges were carried. Named HMWFS Pensacola (L35), she was laid down in July 1935, & launched the following August. Commissioning in February 1937, she had a compliment of around 150.


World War Two Service:
In May 1940, as West Florida troops joined Canadian forces in defending the British Caribbean colonies, Pensacola began routine patrols in the Caribbean, particularly around Trinidad & the Dutch islands of Aruba & Curacao with their strategically important oil refineries. From late September until July 1941, she began escorting BHX convoys from Bermuda until they joined the corresponding HX convoy from Halifax to Liverpool.

In August 1941, Pensacola returned to GCD in her namesake port for refit. During the refit her single 4-inch guns were upgraded to twin mounts, & anti-aircraft defence was improved, replacing the 2-pdr pom-poms with twin 20mm Oerlikon cannons. She was also given the new pennant number U35. From May to September 1942 Pensacola escorted vital tanker convoys from the Trinidad, Aruba & Curacao refineries to Halifax, before being reassigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force. Joining the British & Canadian led escort groups, she protected SC convoys departing New York bound for the UK & the return ON convoys.

Each escort group worked in a 33-day cycle, allowing 9.5 days with a westbound ON convoy & 6 days in St. John's, Newfoundland. The eastbound SC convoy took a further 9.5 days, followed by an 8 days refit in Derry. These escort duties continued until the end of the war in May 1945, & for her World War Two service, HMWFS Pensacola received the battle honour Atlantic 1940-45.

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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:51 am, edited 18 times in total.

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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: May 25th, 2019, 8:27 am
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Royal West Florida Navy (RWFN) 1940-1945:
Prior to the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, the RWFN consisted of just two warships, the ex-RN S class destroyer Tomahawk & the locally built sloop Pensacola. This would grow to a fleet of eight ships by the end of the war in 1945. In addition to Tomahawk & Pensacola, the fleet now included the two locally built Bathurst class corvettes & four Fairmile B coastal motor launches.


Bathurst Class Corvette:
During World War II, sixty Bathurst-class corvettes were built in eight Australian shipyards to a local design. Despite originally being designed for minesweeping & anti-submarine escort, the corvettes found themselves performing a wide range of duties during the war. They served as troop & supply transports, supported amphibious landings, provided air defence for convoys, participated in shore bombardments, & undertook hydrographic surveys. The original 1938 Australian design for a general purpose 'local defence vessel' was easy to construct & operate, & capable of both anti-submarine & mine-warfare duties. The final design was closer to a small sloop than a local defence vessel, with a displacement of 680 tons, a speed of 15.5 knots, & range of 2,850 nautical miles. It was equipped with ASDIC, & able to be fitted with either depth charges or minesweeping equipment depending on the planned operations. This versatile, general purpose design was ideal for the RWFN, & two vessels were laid down between June & August 1940 with both vessels commissioned by June 1941.

Due to the variety of shipyards constructing the corvettes in Australia, as well as the varying roles they were pressed into, there was no true standardisation of armament. The two Bathurst class in RWFN service were armed with a 4-inch Mark XX single HA gun, three Oerlikon 20 mm cannons, four Lewis .303 machine guns, & up to 40 depth charges. Anti-aircraft defence was progressively upgraded with the single Oerlikons upgraded to twin mounts, with the aft Oerlikon eventually replaced by a single 40mm Bofors. Named Heron (K217) & Gull (K219), both ships were named for water birds native to West Florida, & given K pennant numbers, designating them as corvettes. Each ship's company varied in size, but a standard complement was 85, including 6 commissioned & 12-13 non-commissioned officers.


World War II Service:
Heron & Gull spent the majority of their World War Two service in local & Caribbean waters, performing patrol, minesweeping & escort duties along the West Florida coast & around the Caribbean. From July through September 1942, both Heron & Gull joined HMWFS Pensacola in escorting vital convoys from the Caribbean refineries on Trinidad, Aruba & Curacao bound for Halifax. In addition to their regular local & Caribbean patrol duties, both vessels were occasionally assigned to escort duties for convoys from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba bound for Key West, Panama, & Trinidad.

Following the war, Heron continued with her general-purpose patrol, anti-submarine & minesweeping role, with the new pennant number F217, with F being the new designator for frigates, destroyer escorts, sloops & corvettes. Gull spent time at GCD’s Panama City dockyard, undergoing a refit & conversion for hydrographic survey work with the new pennant number A219. In addition to vital survey work along the coast of West Florida, Gull also conducted survey work in other British Caribbean colonies including Trinidad, Guyana & Jamaica.


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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:51 am, edited 11 times in total.

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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: June 4th, 2019, 6:11 am
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Royal West Florida Navy (RWFN) 1940-1945: Fairmile B Coastal Motor Launches:
The Fairmile B was a coastal motor launch built by British boatbuilder Fairmile Marine during the Second World War for Royal Navy coastal operations. Like all Fairmile designs, it was based on prefabrication, with components built at small factories & delivered to various boatyards for assembly & fitting out. Approximately 650 boats were built in Britain & around the Commonwealth during the war & by November 1941, four Fairmile Bs had been built in West Florida shipyards. Armament for West Florida Fairmile Bs consisted of three 20mm Oerlikon cannons, plus two twin mounts on the bridge wings for four Lewis .303 machine guns. Initially intended as submarine chasers, these boats were fitted with ASDIC as standard, carrying 6-8 depth charges on the aft deck.

Crewed by two officers & 14 sailors, the RWFN employed these vessels in a number of roles, including coastal convoy escort, anti-submarine patrols, minesweeping, & coastal patrols. With regular RWFN officers & sailors manning the navy's larger vessels, crews for these boats came predominantly from the RWFN volunteer reserve. They had CML pennant numbers, designating them as Coastal Motor Launches. The boats in RWFN service were named Dolphin (101), Stingray (102), Swordfish (103), & Marlin (104). In 1948 Dolphin was decommissioned, with the remaining three boats changing to P pennant numbers & continuing to serve until finally paying off in 1963. The photograph below shows a British Fairmile B, similar to those used on Operation Chariot, the ill-fated commando raid on St. Nazaire.


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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:52 am, edited 20 times in total.

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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: June 7th, 2019, 12:05 pm
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Location: Sydney, Australia
West Florida Flying Corps 1913-1921:
The Royal West Florida Air Force (RWFAF) traces its history back to the Imperial Conference held in London in 1911, where it was decided aviation should be developed by the various national armed forces of the British Empire. In early 1913 the West Florida Flying Corps (WFFC) was formed as a Militia unit from Territorial Force reservists. Although the WFFC did not see active service during the First World War, some West Florida pilots & aircrew flew as part of the British Royal Flying Corps & Royal Naval Air Service. Following the First World War, the Royal Air Force had a large number of surplus aircraft & in May 1919, the British Cabinet agreed to offer aircraft from surplus stocks to each of the Dominions. West Florida accepted an allotment of 30 aircraft, along with other related spares, supplies & equipment. The WFFC remained part of the Army until it was disbanded in August 1921. It was re-established in April 1922, & officially became the Royal West Florida Air Force in August 1922.


Royal West Florida Air Force 1922-1939:
On its formation in 1922, pilots & aircrew who had served in the Royal Flying Corps & Royal Naval Air Service formed the nucleus of the Royal West Florida Air Force (RWFAF). It was equipped with the 30 Imperial Gift aircraft inherited from the West Florida Flying Corps. This included ten Avro 504 trainers, eight Bristol F.2 Fighters, eight DH.4 light bombers, & four Fairey IIIC float planes used for reconnaissance & coastal patrol. Below is the ensign of the RWFAF, adopted upon its official formation in August 1922.


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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:52 am, edited 16 times in total.

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TJW
Post subject: The Dominion of West FloridaPosted: June 14th, 2019, 12:10 am
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Royal West Florida Air Force 1922-1939:
In early 1932 the RWFAF began upgrading from their World War One era aircraft. Bristol F.2s & Airco DH.4s were replaced by new Hawker Hart light bombers & Demon fighters. In 1935, their Avro 504 trainers were eventually replaced by DH.82 Tiger Moths.

Finally, in 1938 the Supermarine Walrus took over maritime patrol & reconnaissance duties from the long serving Fairey IIIC. By the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, the RWFAF had expanded to 40 aircraft, consisting of twelve Tiger Moth trainers, two dozen Hawker Demons & Harts, & four Supermarine Walrus.

The Walrus was ideal for operations in West Florida, where longer, well-developed runways for larger land-based aircraft were not yet readily available. The Walrus was able to perform its reconnaissance & maritime patrol duties from a number of locations along the coast. The drawing below shows a Walrus Mk.1 from No.4 Squadron RWFAF in late 1939.


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Last edited by TJW on October 28th, 2020, 8:53 am, edited 19 times in total.

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