Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Air Vice-Marshal C W Coulthard (104469)


Colin Weall                  b: 27 Feb 1921                     r: 27 Feb 1976             d: 15 Nov 2004

CB 14 Jun 1975, AFC - 1 Jan 1953, Bar 13 Jun 1959, MiD - 14 Jun 1945, FRAeS - 1975.

(RAFVR): AC2: xx xxx xxxx, LAC: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 2 Aug 1941, Fg Off (WS): 2 Aug 1942, Flt Lt (WS): 2 Aug 1943,

(RAF): Flt Lt: 16 Jul 1946 [23 Jan 1946] [antedated to 7 Sep 1945 on 28 Feb 1947], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1951, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1957, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1968, AVM: 1 Jul 1972.

xx xxx 1940:            U/T Pilot, Southern Rhodesia (909739)

xx xxx 1941:            QFI, Southern Rhodesia.

xx xxx 1942:            Pilot, No 65 Sqn

xx xxx 1943:            Pilot/Flight Commander, No 242 Sqn.

xx xxx 1944:            Flight Commander, No 504 Sqn.

10 Aug 1945:           Flight Commander, No 245 Sqn.

16 Jul 1946:             Appointed to an Extended Service Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant. [seniority 23 Jan 1946]

20 Jul 1948:             Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

xx xxx 1948:            Staff, HQ Fighter Command.

xx Jan 1949:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1951:            Officer Commanding, Gunnery Squadron, RAF Chivenor.

xx Jul 1952:             Officer Commanding, No 266 Sqn. (Vampire/Venom FB1 & 4)

xx xxx 1955:            Officer Commanding, Day Fighter Leaders School, Central Fighter Establishment.

xx xxx 1956:            Officer Commanding - Flying/Chief Instructor, No 233 OCU.

xx xxx 1957:            Officer Commanding, Air Fighting Development Sqn, CFE.

13 Apr 1959:           Operations Staff, HQ Fighter Command.

28 Jul 1961:             Officer Commanding, RAF Gutersloh.

15 May 1964:          Deputy Director of Organisation (Establishments).

xx xxx 1966:            SOA, AHQ Malta.

 7 Aug 1967:            Director of Operational Requirements (1).

 9 Mar 1970:            Air Attache/Head of RAF Staff, B.J.S.M., Washington.

 3 Feb 1973:            Military Deputy to Head of Defence Sales, MoD (PE).

Educated at Watford Grammar School and the De Havilland Aeronautical Technical College, but when war broke out, he volunteered to join the RAF in order to fly.  His flying training took place in Southern Rhodesia and he was retained in the country as a flying instructor, until 1942, when he returned to Britain and joined No 65 Squadron flying Spitfires.  In early 1943, he was posted to No 242 Squadron in Malta and flew escort missions to bombers as well as taking part in the invasion of Sicily.  By July of that year, he was operating from the island itself to support the invasion of Italy.  During his time with 242, he also took part in the operation to re-occupy Corsica and the invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

In late 1944, he returned to Britain and joined No 504 Squadron, which was equipped with Spitfire IXs but in April 1945 became the second squadron to be equipped with the Gloster Meteor III jet fighter, although pilots had been training to fly this new aircraft since January.  Too late to be used operationally, the squadron took its Meteors to Germany in July, but the following month, it was disbanded by being renumbered No 245 Squadron.  After three years flying the Meteor with the squadron he returned to the UK to take up a staff post at HQ Fighter Command.

Following attendance at the RAF Staff College, he was given command of the Gunnery Squadron at Chivenor and then in July 1952, No 266 Squadron.  This was a newly reformed unit at Wunstorf and was equipped with Venom FB Mk 1s, 4 and 5s.  As 266 was a 'Rhodesian' squadron, he arranged for it to be invited to the Rhodes Centenary in Salisbury and for carrying out a difficult transition flight with such a short ranged aircraft, he was awarded the AFC.

Command of the Day Fighter Leaders School was followed by promotion to Wing Commander and thepost of Chief Instructor at No 233 OCU, RAF Pembrey.  In 1957 he was appointed to command of the Air Fighting Development Squadron at the CFE and during his time in command he took the latest version of the Hunter to Aden for hot weather trials and also led the development of procedures and tactics for the Lightning in 1958.  He next returned to HQ Fighter Command, where he spent two years before being given command, as a group captain, of RAF Gutersloh in Germany.  by the time he left the station ,the Hunter fighter squadrons had been disbanded with the station beginning to adopt a new role as a tactical reconnaissance base.

A tour in the Air Ministry was followed by another in Malta as SASO and on being promoted to Air Commodore, he returned to the Ministry as Director of Operational Requirements (1).  In 1970 he was appointed Air Attache and Head of the RAF Staff of the British Joint Service Mission to Washington.  His final posting was a the Military Deputy to the Head of Defence Sales at the Ministry of Defence (Procurement Executive).

On retirement, he settled in Cornwall and was a Governor of Truro School from 1981 to 1991.

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