Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Sir Ivor Broom
r: 6 Jul 1977 d:
24 Jan 2003
– 14 Jun 1975 (CB – 1 Jan 1972), CBE – 1 Jan 1969, DSO
– 26 Oct 1945, DFC – 7 Apr
1942, Bar – 3 Oct 1944, Bar – 27 Feb 1945, AFC – 31
May 1956, QCVSA – 9 Jun 1955.
Plt Off: 9 Nov 1941, Fg Off (P): 1 Oct 1942, Flt Lt (WS): 9 Nov 1943, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: 25 Oct 1944, Sqn Ldr (WS): 25 Apr 1945, Flt Lt: 2 Apr 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1950, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1956, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1960, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1965, AVM: 1 Jan 1970, Act AM: 11 May 1974, AM: 1 Jul 1974.
xx Aug 1940: U/T Pilot, No 6 Initial Training Wing, Aberystwyth
xx Oct 1940: U/T Pilot, No 13 EFTS - RAF White Waltham,
No 14 SFTS
- RAF Cranfield
xx May 1941:
Blenheim Conversion Course, No 13 OTU -RAF Bicester
xx Jul 1941:
Sergeant Pilot, No 114 Sqn.
xx Sep 1941:
Transit flight to Malta.
18 Sep 1941:
Pilot, No 105 Sqn.
xx Sep 1941: Pilot, No 107 Sqn.
Attended No 7 Flying Instructor's School
xx Apr 1942:
Instructor, No 13 OTU.
xx May 1943:
Instructor, No 1655 MTU.
23 May 1944: Pilot, No 571 Sqn - LNSF.
xx Sep 1944:
Flight Commander, No 128 Sqn.
27 Jan 1945:
Officer Commanding, No 163 Sqn.
Apr 1946 :
Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining
rank current at the time).
Command Air Movements Officer, HQ ACSEA.
xx Nov 1946:
Officer Commanding, No 28 Sqn.
xx xxx 1948:
School's Liaison Officer - East Anglia.
xx Apr 1949:
Attended RAF Staff College.
xx Dec 1949:
Squadron Commander, No 1 Initial Training School.
xx Apr 1952:
Attended RAF Flying College.
15 May 1953:
Officer Commanding, No 57 Sqn.
xx Dec 1954:
Syndicate Leader, RAF Flying College.
xx xxx xxxx:
Officer Commanding, Bomber Command Development Unit.
23 Mar 1959: Staff Officer,
Department of the AMP.
26 Sep 1960: Staff Officer, Department of the AMP
28 Oct 1962:
Officer Commanding, RAF Bruggen.
xx xxx 1964:
Staff Officer, Air Ministry.
5 Mar 1966:
Director of Organisation (Establishments).
xx xxx 1968:
Commandant, Central Flying School.
AOC, No 11 Group.
6 Jan 1973:
Deputy Controller, National Air Traffic Control Service.
11 May 1974:
Controller, National Air Traffic Control Service.
Born in Cardiff and raised in the Rhondda Valley, he
left school at seventeen having passed the quite difficult Civil Service
Entrance Exam. He was posted to the
tax office in Banbury, Oxfordshire and by the outbreak of WW2 had been promoted
and moved to Ipswich in Suffolk. It
was here that he saw and heard the Blenhiems of No 2 Group passing over his
office on their way to the Continent which gave him his first thoughts about
joining the struggle against Germany. It
was only because of this constant air traffic over his office that he chose the
RAF in preference to the either the Army or Navy.
He reported for his initial training as an AC2 in August 1940.
Unlike the majority of trainees which would follow him, his initial
flying training was conducted in Britain, with the Battle of Britain still
Chosen to fly twin engined aircraft, he qualified as
a pilot, was promoted to Sergeant, converted onto Blenheims, the very aircraft
responsible for his joining the RAF, and was posted to No 114 Sqn in No 2 Group
based at West Raynham in Norfolk. After
only 12 operations with 114, he was told
to prepare for overseas. Together with six other crews, all skippered by Sergeants he
was then advised that as the most experienced, he was to lead the other six to
the Middle East via Gibraltar and Malta, although at this stage nobody knew
their final destination. He
successfully lead his flock to Malta at which point fate played a hand. Due to the lack of resources on the island the AOC, AVM H P
Lloyd, had developed the habit of 'high-jacking' aircraft and crews passing
through Malta. As a result Ivor
Broom found himself retained in Malta, whilst the other six crews continued onto
the Far East, eventually being killed or taken prisoner by the Japanese.
Ivor Broom then proceeded to take part in offensive operations against
targets in Italy, Sicily and North Africa as well as supply conveys to Rommel as
part of whichever squadron was detached to Malta at the time (he flew with 105
and 107 during this period). Before
long the squadron had suffered such heavy losses that Sgt Broom was one of the
senior pilots left in the squadron and in Nov 1941 was commissioned by AVM Lloyd
to lead the remnants on operations whilst the 'Tour Expired' CO ran things on
He was eventually repatriated to the UK via Egypt and
West Africa and returned to the OTU which had trained him as an Instructor.
He remained on instructional duties for almost two years, transferring in
1943 to No 1655 Mosquito Training Unit. It
was whilst serving at 1655 MTU, that he suffered his first major crash.
He was instructing Flight Lieutenant B A MacDonald RCAF in Mosquito III, HJ962,
when the port engine failed on final approach, he immediately took control from his
student and attempted a 'belly' landing alongside the runway. However, his
pupil, in an attempt to regain the runway pushed the good throttle forward
inducing a roll and stall. The
pupil was killed and Ivor sustained a broken back having to be encased in
plaster but was able to return to his unit within eight weeks to undertake
ground duties. It would be a
further eight weeks before he was passed fit to fly again.
It was whilst on ground instructional duties that he met up with his
namesake, 'Tommy' Broom, the CGI. Having
recovered, he returned to flying duties but on 13 March 1944, he was involved in
another incident which resulted in a forced landing. An electrical fault
caused the dinghy in Mosquito IV, DK288, to deploy three minutes into the flight
and foul the tail surfaces resulting in a skilful forced landing in a field. When
Ivor's instructional tour came to an end and he returned to ops., he took Tommy
Broom with him as his navigator and they remained together as a team until the
end of the war. Ivor returned to
the sharp end, firstly as a pilot with 571 Sqn, before assisting in the
formation of 128 Sqn as a Flight Commander and finally forming No 163 Sqn as
it's CO. All of these units were
equipped with Mosquito's and were part of the Light Night Striking Force of No 8
the end of the war, he considered joining his old 'boss', Don Bennett in his
airline venture, but failure to pass one of the necessary elements of the
navigation exam prevented this and he applied for a permanent commission and was
accepted. Awarded a regular
commission as a Flight Lieutenant, he retained the Act rank of Wing Commander
and was appointed to Air Command South East Asia. However, as the RAF contracted so the available places for
Wing Commanders reduced and he found himself reverting to Act Squadron Leader
and appointed to the command of a Spitfire fighter squadron, still in the Far
East. When he arrived, a rumour was
circulating that he was an ex-transport pilot and was looked on with some
disdain by his younger subordinates, but he soon showed them that he could fly
the aircraft and at his first dining night, the other members of the squadron
saw for the first time that he processed the DSO and DFC with two bars.
During his time with 28, he lead the first trial
reinforcement flight by Spitfires of Hong Kong from Singapore, 28's base.
A return to the UK saw him temporarily Act as a
School's Liaison Officer prior to his attendance on the RAF Staff Course.
At this point he even considered leaving the RAF, due to the financial
implications of the course (reverting to his substantive rank of Flt Lt)
Completion of his Staff course was followed by a a number of ground
postings and attendance of the RAF Flying College Course at RAF Manby before he
returned to operations once again. His
appointment was to form and command the third Canberra squadron in the RAF, No
57. During his tenure, he led his
squadron on a tour of the Middle East during which he flew two heads of state in
his aircraft within two days, something of a record.
This was the start of his 'love affair' with the Canberra in which he
amassed his greatest number of flying hours.
He returned to Manby as a Syndicate Leader in
1954 and it was during this posting he gained an AFC to add to his wartime
awards. This award was made for his
flight of 28 Jun 1955 when he piloted Canberra 'Aries IV' in a record setting flight from Ottawa to London, covering the
3330 miles in 6 hours 42 minutes. He
added yet another aircraft type to his log book, when he completed the Valiant
conversion course, prior to taking over command of the BCDU.
Here he was responsible for the conduct of various trials involving the
RAF's current bomber inventory. Following
a further sojourn in the Air Ministry, he took command of RAF Bruggen in Germany
which at that time housed two Canberra squadrons, No 213 and No 80 and
again he managed to keep himself current on the type flying sorties in
aircraft of both squadrons.
When he took over as Commandant of the Central Flying
School, he quickly familiarised himself with the aircraft equipping the school
including the Gnats of the Red Arrows. It
was whilst flying the Red Arrow's spare Gnat to Germany that he suffered another
serious accident. The aircraft's
power controls had been cutting out, so he decided to make an emergency landing
at Fairford. As the aircraft
approached the runway on finals, the controls again cut out and the sudden trim
change caused the Gnat to pitch straight into the ground.
In the resulting crash he suffered broken legs and ankles.
It was as a result of this condition that he had to greet the Queen from
a wheelchair when she visited Little Rissington on 26 June 1969 to present the
school with it's Queen's Colour.
His appointment as AOC, No 11 Group brought him
another challenge, to fly supersonic. It
was not long before he had qualified to solo both the Lightning and Phantom
aircraft which made up the main equipment of his command.
His final posts in the RAF brought him into the field of airspace rather
than aircraft control when he was appointed first Deputy Controller and later
Controller of the National Air Traffic Services.
This joint military/civilian organisation is responsible for the control
of all air movements in controlled airspace within the UK.
After retirement he became a aviation consultant and
was soon invited to join the boards of a number of companies including, Plessey
Airports Ltd (1982 - 86), Gatwick Handling Ltd (Chairman) (1982 - 93) and
Chairman of Carroll Aviation/Farnborough Aerospace Development Corporation (1985
- 92). He has also been a great
supporter of aviation/RAF charities as a one time Vice-President of RAFA (1981 -
), President of the Blenheim Society (1990 -
) and President of the Mosquito Aircrew Association (1993 -
) to name but a few. In
1990, he led the RAFA March Past in front of Buckingham Palace in commemoration
of the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
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