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Air Vice-Marshal R Deacon-Elliott (76311)


Robert Deacon             b: 20 Nov 1914                    r: 27 Sep 1968                     d: 5 Jun 1997

CB -1 Jan 1967, OBE – 10 Jun 1954, DFC – 17 Oct 1941, AE – xx xxx 1944, MiD: - 24 Sep 1941, MiD – 1 Jan 1946.

(RAFVR): Plt Off (P)  10 Dec 1939, Plt Off: 13 Jul 1940, Fg Off (WS): 10 Dec 1940?, Flt Lt (WS): 10 Dec 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: 20 Nov 1944?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 20 May 1945,

(RAF): Sqn Ldr: 2 Apr 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1957, Act A/Cdre: 19 Mar 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1962, Act AVM: 21 Nov 1966, AVM: Retained.

xx xxx 1938:           U/T Pilot, RAFVR

xx xxx 1939:            Pilot, No 72 Sqn.  

xx xxx xxxx:            Pilot, No 41 Sqn.

18 Oct 1942:           Armament Staff Officer, HQ Fighter Command.

xx xxx 1943:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1944:            Staff, HQ No 84 Group.

24 Feb 1945:           Wing Commander – Flying, No 84 Group Support Unit.

15 May 1945:          Wing Commander – Training, HQ 2nd TAF.

xx Nov 1945:

2 Apr 1946 [1 Sep 1945]:            Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader.

26 Aug 1946:           Staff, Directorate of Operational Requirements (OR5).

xx xxx 1948:            OC - Flying, RAF Nicosia?.

xx xxx xxxx:             Officer Commanding, No 26 APC, Nicosia, Cyprus.

16 Jul 1951:            Wing Commander - Admin Plans, HQ Fighter Command.

xx xxx 1954:            Directing Staff, Army Staff College, Camberley.

xx xxx 1956:            Officer Commanding, RAF Leconfield.

xx xxx 1957:            Officer Commanding, RAF Driffield.

xx xxx 1958:            Attended USAF Air University.

 9 Aug 1961:           Staff Officer, Ministry of Defence

xx xxx 1962:            Commandant, Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (1st).

 8 Oct 1965:            AOC, RAF Gibraltar.

21 Nov 1966:          AOC, RAF Malta/Deputy C in C (Air), Allied Forces Mediterranean.

He had originally planned to become an accountant, he joined the RAFVR in 1938 and trained as a pilot in his spare.  Called up on the outbreak of war, he completed his training and was commissioned in December 1939, being posted to No 72 Squadron, flying Spitfires.   He took part in the Battle of Britain, having to bale out over Kent on one occasion and on another, he blacked out when his oxygen supply failed, fortunately he came round as the aircraft reached 1,000 ft and he was just able to recover and land the aircraft, although it needed rebuilding.  The aircraft is now on display in the Science Museum, London.  During 1941, he took part in offensive operations over France and in 1942 he was involved in covering the Dieppe Raid in August.

Rested from operations, he served at HQ Fighter Command for the remainder of 1942 and part of 1943, until attending the RAF Staff College.  He then joined the staff of No 84 Group, one of the units formed to control the assets of 2nd Tactical Air Force, prior to, during and after the D-Day landings.  In early 1945, he became Wing Commander, Flying of the No 84 Group Support Unit and in May Wing Commander, Training of the Group.  By the end of the war he had claimed the destruction of four enemy aircraft.  In 1946, he was awarded a permanent commission and until 1948, served in the Air Ministry. From 1948 to 1951, he was based in Cyprus, first as Wing Commander, Flying at Akrotiri and then as OC, No 26 Armament Practice Camp.

He returned to Fighter Command in 1951 for three years before joining the directing staff of the Army Staff College at Camberley.  He later commanded RAF Leconfield and the RAF Driffield, both in Yorkshire and about tens miles apart.  In 1958 he was given an exchange posting to the US Air Force Air University at Maxwell Air Base and on his return he became the first commandant of the Officers and Air Crew Selection Centre at Biggin Hill. He was then posted as AOC to Gibraltar and a year later he became the last AOC of AHQ Malta, after which control of RAF units operating from the island was transferred to HQ Middle East Air Force.  Retiring from the RAF he was Bursar of the Civil Service College from 1969 to 1979 . 

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Acting Flight Lieutenant Robert Deacon ELLIOTT (76311), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve,No.72 Squadron.

This officer has been engaged on operational flying since December 1939.He fought in the Battle of Britain during which he destroyed 4 enemy aircraft.  In addition to participating in many night patrols, Flight Lieutenant Elliott has been largely responsible for the training of new members of his squadron.  Throughout, he has shown exceptional skill and courage.”

(London Gazette – 17 Oct 1941)

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