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Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Barnett (05167)


Denis Hensley Fulton    

b: 11 Feb 1906                    

r: 27 Nov 1964

d: 31 Dec 1992

GCB - 13 Jun 1964 (KCB - 13 Jun 1957, CB - 2 Jan 1956), CBE - 1 Jan 1945, DFC - 24 Dec 1940, MiD - 11 Jun 1942, MA - 1935, BA - 1929, LoM (Cdr) - 10 Aug 1954, LoH, Cdr - 15 Apr 1958, C de G (F) - 15 Apr 1958.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(RAFO - Class AA): Plt Off : 15 Aug 1927, Fg Off:  15 Feb 1929,

(RAF) Plt Off:  5 Oct 1929 [5 Oct 1928], Fg Off: 5 Apr 1930, Flt Lt: 1 Jun 1934, Sqn Ldr: 1 Feb 1938, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1940, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Sep 1940, Act Gp Capt: xx xxx 1941, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Sep 1942, Act A/Cdre: 16 Jan 1945, Gp Capt (WS): 16 Jul 1945, Wg Cdr: 25 Jan 1945 [1 Jun 1944], Gp Capt: 1 Oct 1946, Act A/Cdre: 25 Oct 1949, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1950, Act AVM: xx xxx xxxx, AVM: 1 Jul 1953, Act AM: 1 Aug 1956, AM: 1 Jul 1959, ACM: 1 Jul 1962,

Photo Crown Copyright

15 Aug 1927:               Member, RAFO

 5 Oct 1929:                Relinquished his RAFO commission on being appointed to a Permanent Commission in the RAF

 5 Oct 1929:                U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.

 4 Mar 1930:                Pilot, No 13 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx - 16 Apr 1932:    Attended Instructors' Course, CFS (graded B)

17 Apr 1932:               QFI, No 5 FTS.

 2 Sep 1932:                Pilot/Instructor, Station Flight - RAF Duxford.

xx Jul 1933:                  Re-categorised from Instructor A2 to A1

11 Sep 1935:               QFI/Examining Officer, CFS.

15 Mar 1937:              Officer Commanding?, Communications Flight - Iraq.

14 Apr 1938:               Officer Commanding, No 84 Sqn.

21 Nov 1938:              Supernumerary, No 1 RAF Depot.  

xx xxx 1939:                Member, Mission to Italy

 3 Jun 1940:                Officer Commanding, No 40 Sqn.

23 Dec 1940:  

 7 Apr 1941:                Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command.

xx May 1942:              Officer Commanding, RAF Swanton Morley.

xx Jun 1943:                Group Captain - Operations, HQ Bomber Command

14 Jun 1943:               Administrative Staff, Tactical Air Force HQ

1944:                           Deputy Director, Bomber Operations.

16 Jan 1945:                Deputy SASO, HQ Bomber Command.

11 Jun 1945:                Director of Bomber Operations.

xx xxx 1946:                Air Staff, AHQ India.

xx xxx 1948:                Attended Joint Services Staff College.

xx xxx 1949:                Commandant, Central Bomber Establishment.  

26 Apr 1949:               Appointed ADC to the King.

25 Oct 1949:               Director of Operations (1)

xx xxx 1952:                Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1952:                Representative of UK Chiefs of Staff, HQ UN Command - Tokyo.

30 Jun 1954:                AOC, No 205 Group.

xx xxx 1956:                Commandant, RAF Staff College, Bracknell?

xx xxx 1956:                Air Task Force Commander, Suez

 4 Feb 1957:                Air Secretary

16 May 1959:              AOC in C, Transport Command

16 Jul 1962:                 AOC in C, Near East Air Force/Commander British Forces - Cyprus

16 Jul 1962:                The Administrator, Sovereign Base Areas - Cyprus

A New Zealander, he joined the RAFO whilst at Cambridge, being awarded a permanent commission in the RAF on completion of his degree.  In 1935, he was sent to the USA to study instructional methods used by the American services.  In late 1939, he was a member of a mission sent to Italy to investigate the purchase of Italian aircraft for the RAF.

As AOC, No 205 Group, the task fell to him  of supervising the move of the RAF from Egypt to it's new bases in Cyprus and remained in Egypt whilst the AOC in C established the new HQ in Cyprus, eventually moving to the new HQ himself in October 1955.  However, his tour in the Mediterranean ended in 1956 and he returned to the Britain to command the RAF Staff College.  1956 saw the gradual increase in tension between Britain. France and Egypt following the latter's nationalization of the Suez Canal.  When this tension escalated to the point of armed conflict, he found himself appointed to command of the air task force to be involved in the Suez campaign, Operation Musketeer.  His immediate staff was selected from officers then attending the Imperial Defence College where much of the early planning for this operation took place.  His selection and the appointment of a planning staff divorced from the existing Middle East command structure whilst not a popular move with the resident Middle Eastern commanders (ACM Sir Hubert Patch and AVM W J Crisham) was logical in that  Denis Barnett had more recent experience of operations and the situation in Egypt than any other serving Air Officer.  The air task force was allocated he role of bombing the Egyptian airfields in order to achieve the required air superiority.  He ordered operations to commence at 16:15 hours on 31 Oct 1956 and by 2 November he considered the Egyptian Air Force to have been eliminated as an effective fighting force, a view which was later confirmed by the Bomber Command Operational Research Branch.

From 1965 he was the Member for Weapons Research and Development on the Atomic Energy Authority, a post he held until 1972.

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