Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Marshal Sir Alec Coryton
16 Feb 1895
r: 15 May 1951 d: 20 Oct 1981
- 2 Jan 1950 (CB - 1 Jan 1942), KBE - 5 Jul 1945,
MVO - 8 Aug 1919, DFC -
21 Nov 1922, LoH (K) - xx
xxx 1917, LoM (Cdr)
- 15 Mar 1946.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
(Army): - 2 Lt: 22 Sep 1914, Lt: 1 Jul 1917.
- (T) 2
Lt: 1 Apr 1918,
(H) Lt: 1 Apr 1918,
Lt: 1 Jan 1921, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul
1925, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1933, Gp
Capt: 1 Jul 1938,
Capt (unpd): 7
Mar 1938, (T) A/Cdre: 1
Jul 1940, (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1941,
A/Cdre: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Jul 1940],
1 Jun 1943, Act AM: 15 Aug 1944, (T) AM: 1 Jan 1946, AM: 1
Oct 1946, ACM: 15 May 1950.
Photograph © Crown Copyright
22 Sep 1914:
Battalion, The Rifle Brigade.
1 Apr 1918: Appointed to a Commission in the Aeroplane and Seaplane Branch.
xx xxx xxxx: Attended School of Special Flying, Gosport
xx xxx xxxx: Instructor, No 40 Training Squadron.
xx xxx 1919: Pilot/Instructor, No 24 Sqn. (Various types – Hendon)
1 Aug 1919: Relinquished his commission in the 5th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade
1 Aug 1919: Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant
10 Aug 1920: Instructor, RAF (Cadet) College, Cranwell.
Flight Commander, No 31 Sqn. (Bristol F2B – NWF India)
Air Staff, HQ Inland Area.
Officer Commanding, No 16 Sqn. (Bristol F2B – Old Sarum)
Nov 1928: Staff, School of Army Co-operation.
18 Dec 1931 - 18 Jan 1932: Placed on half pay list, scale A
Attended Senior Officer's (Army) School.
Air Staff, Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.
Deputy Director of Operations (Overseas).
Apr 1942: AOC, No 5 Group.
Air Staff, Air Ministry/SASO, RAF Middle East?.
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations).
Aug 1944: Commander, 3rd Tactical Air Force.
4 Dec 1944: Commander, RAF in Bengal & Burma.
27 Feb 1945: Air Marshal Commanding , HQ RAF Burma
Dec 1944 - xx May 1945:
Assistant Air Commander, Eastern Air Command.
1 Jun 1945: Air Marshal Commanding, AHQ Burma.
Controller of Research and Development, Ministry of Aircraft Production.
Controller of Supplies (Air), Ministry of Supply.
Chief Executive Guided Weapons, Ministry of Supply.
Born in Cornwall, he attended Eton from 1908 and King's College, Cambridge from 1913, but with the outbreak of the war he volunteered for service in The Rifle Brigade, being commissioned on 22 September 1914 into the 8th Battalion. As a Platoon Commander he was wounded at Hooge near Ypres during the first flame thrower attack. Hit in the shoulder, by efilade machine gun fire whilst he was moving up to the front line, he was one of only four or five officers from his Battalion who survived, although all the survivors were wounded.
Joining the RFC in 1917, his obvious flair and skill with engines and other mechanical devices stood out and he was selected to be an instructor. Having attended the School of Special Flying at Gosport, which had been set up by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Smith-Barry to train instructors, he was posted to No 40 Training Squadron. It was here in 1919 that Alec Coryton was given the responsibility for training Prince Albert (later King George VI) to fly.
Whilst commanding No 5 Group, he became the first group commander to operate the Lancaster. He was purportedly sacked by Harris in February 1943, for refusing to commit a small group of his Lancasters to a sneak raid against Berlin during bad weather.
continued in his post at the Ministry of Supply in a civilian capacity until
joining the Bristol Aeroplane Company as the Managing Director of their Engine
Division in 1951, taking on the extra role of Chairman in 1955. With the formation of Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd, he
was appointed Vice-Chairman remaining in that post until his final retirement in
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