Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Constantine (26028)


Hugh Alex                    b: 23 May 1908                    r: 30 May 1964                    d: 16 Apr 1992

KBE - 1 Jan 1958 (CBE - 8 Jun 1944), CB - 1 Jan 1946, DSO - 22 Sep 1942, MiD - 23 Jul 1937, MiD - 24 Sep 1941, MiD - 11 Jun 1942, MiD – 1 Jan 1945, MiD – xx xxx 194?, PPR3 - 12 Jun 1945, LL.D (Hon) (Warwick) - 1978.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off:  17 Dec 1927, Fg Off: 17 Jun 1929, Flt Lt: 1 Dec 1932, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jun 1942, Act A/Cdre: 27 Apr 1943?, Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 27 Oct 1943, Act AVM: 16 Jan 1945 - 17 Oct 1945, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1948, AVM: 1 Jul 1952, Act AM (unpd): 23 Apr 1956, Act AM (pd): 24 May 1956, AM: 1 Jan 1958, ACM: 1 Sep 1961.

Photo courtesy - Barrie Woodward

xx xxx 1926:            Officer Cadet, 'B' Sqn, RAF College. (Flt Cdt Cpl – Fencing, Rugby)

17 Dec 1927:           Pilot, No 56 Sqn. (Siskin IIIA – North Weald)

xx xxx 1929:            Attended Central Flying School.

18 Dec 1929:           QFI, RAF College - Cranwell.

 7 Sep 1931:            QFI, Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1934:            No 1 Armoured Car Company.

xx xxx 1937:            QFI, Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1938:            Examiner's Pool, Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1940:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx xxxx:             Officer Commanding, No 214 Sqn.

xx xxx 1940:            Wing Commander - Operations, HQ No 3 Group.

xx xxx 1940:            Wing Commander - Flying, No 11 OTU - Bassingbourn

xx xxx 1941:            Officer Commanding, RAF Elsham Wolds

11 Dec 1942:          SASO, HQ No 1 Group.

 1 Dec 1943:            Deputy SASO, HQ Bomber Command.

16 Jan 1945:            AOC, No 5 Group.

xx xxx 1946:            Chief Intelligence Officer, BAFO & Control Commission in Germany.

xx xxx 1947:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

 4 Oct 1948:            SASO, HQ No 205 Group

xx xxx 1950:            Director of Intelligence.

15 Apr 1951:           Director of Intelligence (Operations).

18 Aug 1952:           AOA, HQ Fighter Command.

17 Aug 1954:           AOC, No 25 (Training) Group.

23 Apr 1956:           Leave/familiarisation for new post?

24 May 1956:          Deputy Chief of Staff - Plans & Policy, HQ SHAPE.

 1 Mar 1959:            AOC in C, Flying Training Command.

xx xxx 1959 -  5 Feb 1960:            Commandant, Air Training Corps

25 Sep 1961:           Commandant, Imperial Defence College.

On 10 December 1928, he was flying off Leysdown, when he crashed into the sea.  Coming down approximately 200 yards off shore, he was rescued by two other RAF personnel, Flying Officer Walter Anderson and Corporal Thomas McTeague, who were both awarded the BEM for their gallantry.

As an instructor at the CFS he led the school’s display team equipped with five Avro Tutors, having been a member of the team the previous year.  As OC at Elsham Wold, he took part in the first '1,000 Bomber' raid against Cologne in May 1942.  Taking command of No 5 Group towards the end of the war in Europe, he would have had the opportunity of leading this well-tried organisation in further action had the Americans not dropped the A-bomb.  5 Group had been earmarked as the first formation to join ‘Tiger Force’, the Commonwealth Bombing Force to be used in the Pacific but the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war in the Far East to a close before the force could be deployed.

In 1959, Flying Training Command took over control of the Air Training Corps from the recently disbanded Home Command.  As a result Sir Hugh inherited the extra title of Commandant of the ATC, however he only kept this title until the New Year when it was delegated to an Air Commodore post, within FTC.  At the same time FTC also took on responsibility for the 17 University Air Squadrons.  Following retirement he accepted the part-time post of Co-ordinator of Anglo-American community relations.

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