Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
John b: 2 May 1918 r: 3 Apr 1976 d: 10 May 2008
KCB – 13 Jun 1970, (CB – 1 Jan 1969), CBE – 10 Jun 1961, DFC – 16 Feb 1943, AFC – xx xxx 1941, OStJ – xx xxx 1985, QCVSA – 1 Jun 1953, MiD – 1 Jan 1946, FRAeS, FRSA, FIPM, FBIM (MBIM), FIPR (MIPR)
Act Plt Off: 7 May 1938, Plt Off: 7 Mar 1939, Fg Off (WS): 12 Aug 1940, Flt Lt: 12 Aug 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: 14 Sep 1942, Sqn Ldr (WS): 14 Mar 1943, Sqn Ldr: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1951, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1957, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1961, AVM: 1 Jul 1964, AM: 1 Jan 1970, ACM: 3 Sep 1973.
xx xxx 1938: U/T pilot, No ? FTS
17 Dec 1938: Pilot, No 269 Sqn (Ansons)
xx xxx xxxx: Attended Flying Boat conversion course.
xx xxx 1940: Pilot, No 240 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: Attended QFI course,
xx xxx xxxx: Flying Instructor, No 4 (Coastal) OTU.
xx Feb 1942: Flight Commander, No 209 Sqn.
14 Sep 1942: Officer Commanding, Mogadishu
xx xxx 1944: Chief Flying Instructor, flying boat training unit
2 Apr 1946: Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time). [wef 1 Sep 1945]
9 Apr 1946: Attended Course No 16, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.
xx Oct 1946: Served in Egypt
xx xxx 1948: Examining Wing, Central Flying School.
xx xxx 1951: Directing Staff, Imperial Defence College.
xx xxx xxxx: Staff Officer, HQ Training Command
xx Oct 1955: Officer Commanding, RAF Biggin Hill.
xx Feb 1957: Officer Commanding, RAF Middleton St George.
13 Nov 1958: Group Captain - Operations & Training, HQ Far East Air Force
xx xxx 1961: Director of Public Relations
1 Jul 1964: AOC, No 19 (Reconnaissance) Group
xx xxx 1967: Attended Harvard Business School
15 Sep 1967: AOA, HQ Bomber Command.
30 Apr 1968: AOA, HQ Strike Command.
2 Mar 1970: Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
31 Mar 1972: Air Secretary
7 Jan 1974: Commandant, Royal College of Defence Studies.
xx xxx 1976: Honorary Air Commodore, No ? Sqn, R AuxAF.
xx xxx 1984: Inspector-General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Educated at Cranbrook School, he worked in the City of London and joined the Artist's Rifles, Territorial Army in 1935. He served with them for three years before being awarded a short service commission in the RAF to become a pilot, flying throughout WW2 on maritime reconnaissance types. In 1938 he was involved in the search for the submarine, HMS Thetis, which went missing in Liverpool Bay. Converting to flying boats in 1940, he served with No 240 Squadron in the Shetlands, flying patrols over the North Sea and in the Baltic.
He then qualified as a flying Instructor he was appointed chief instructor at the flying boat OTU at Invergordon, a role foe which he was awarded the AFC in 1941. Following his spell on instruction, he assisted in the re-formation of No 209 Squadron, with Catalinas, asa flight commander and moved with the squadron to the Indian Ocean, where he took part in operations around Madagascar. He was awarded the DFC for these operations.
He had originally planned to make his post-war career in law but he was offered a permanent commission in the RAF and accepted. Following service in the Middle East he was appointed to the Examining Wing of the Central Flying School. During his time at CFS, he made the first single engined jet flight to South Africa in 1951. Whilst serving at HQ Training Command, he produced a paper which looked at the possibility of use a jet powered basic trainer, which eventually led to the adoption of the Jet Provost into RAF service.
In 1967 he took a sabbatical from the RAF to attend the Harvard Business School, to undertake an advanced management course, returning to the service the following year. He joined Bomber Command at a time when it preparing to be amalgamated with Fighter Command to form Strike Command and when this occurred he assumed the same role in the new command. He later served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Secretary and finally Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies.
On retiring from the RAF, Sir John remained extremely active in a number of capacities, these include Honorary Inspector-General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (1984 - 89), Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State (1 April 1980 – 2 May 1988), Vice Chairman, British Export Finance Advisory Council (1982 - 89) as well as being a Company Director. He has also held appointments on the Air League Council, RUSI council, West Devon St John's Ambulance, RAF Modern Pentathlon Association and the Combined Services Equitation Association to name but a few. In 1973 he was a member of the Irish Admirals Cup Team. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2001, as well as a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators, having been made a Freeman in 1970.
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