A friend has alerted me to a thread on the Something Awful forums (thanks, Mike!) One of the users has access to a collection of photos taken by an RAF sergeant who served with 30 Squadron in the early 1920s, which unfortunately looks like it is going to be sold and broken up. But luckily scans of them of them are being posted first, and there are some fantastic pictures of Iraq, Palestine and Egypt, many taken from the air, including several of an air raid carried out against a Kurdish town -- air control in action! Naturally, I can't resist posting some of the best ones here, but there are plenty more on the original thread, including the Holy Land, the Suez Canal, dusky maidens, scorpions, a cross-Africa flight from Cairo to Nigeria, and the promise of more to come. I've had to shrink these to fit them onto the page, so click on them to see the full-size version.
This is the Khadimain Mosque in Baghdad, 4 March 1924.
RAF Hinaidi, the main aerodrome in Baghdad.
The extended 30 Sqn family, including wives and children.
A fine study of the D.H.9A, the RAF's workhorse imperial policing aircraft in the early 1920s, over the Bazian Pass in Kurdistan. The pilot is Flight Lieutenant Kinkead, a First World War fighter ace who was later killed in training for a Schneider Trophy attempt.
Kinkead again, alongside Squadron Leader Robb and Flight Officer French.
And this is what they were all out in Iraq for. A 520 lb bomb being dropped on Sulaimaniyah in Kurdistan, 27 May 1924 ...
... and a 230 lb bomb the next morning ...
... and the final results. These three photos are all of the same general area, taken from different angles. It doesn't look particularly devastated, but then the point was not destruction but punishment. It's interesting that Sulaimaniyah was clearly a fairly substantial town at that time, which contrasts with the impression given by many contemporary accounts that villages and encampments -- tents and camels -- were the usual targets of police actions.
This would be a good place to mention that a conference on Air Power, Insurgency and the 'War on Terror' is being held at RAF Cranwell on 22-3 August 2007 (thanks to Dan Todman for the pointer). It's not purely a history conference, but they are looking for 'Historical case studies of air power against insurgencies', of which the British experience of air control in Iraq would be a prime example. Deadline for abstracts is 1 November.
Update: good news -- the album won't be broken up, nor will it be sold (it might be donated, one day). And here's one last picture, from one of the later posts: