Board of Admiralty, Board of Invention and Research, 1915-1918
Board of Admiralty, Scientific Research and Experiment Department, 1918-1946
Immediate source of acquisition:
From 1988 Ministry of Defence
Administrative / biographical background:
The Board of Invention and Research (BIR) was set up on 5 July 1915 for the purpose of securing for the Admiralty, expert assistance in organising and encouraging scientific effort in relation to the requirements of the Naval Service. This might be done by concentrating scientific enquiry on definite problems, by encouraging research or by considering schemes put forward by inventors or the general public.
The BIR was, from its inception, the responsibility of Lord Fisher (who had been recalled as First Sea Lord in October 1914 but had resigned in May 1915). He was President of the new Board and head of the Central Committee. Though the Secretariat of the Board remained mainly naval, the institution marked the beginning of civilian scientific participation in an Admiralty organisation. Many Fellows of the Royal Society were involved including Sir Ernest Rutherford, Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir William Crookes, who were members of the Scientific Panel. Sub-committees were divided in six main sections and dealt with such areas of research as aeronautics, submarines, naval construction, anti-aircraft devices, ordnance, gases, aerial photography and armament of aircraft and bombs.
In 1918 the Board was replaced by the Scientific Research and Experiment Department of the Admiralty whose records can be found in ADM 283
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