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Air Marshal Sir Patrick Dunn (34018)

Patrick Hunter              b: 31 Dec 1912                     r: 1 Mar 1967                       d: 17 Jun 2004

KBE – 1 Jan 1965 (CBE – 11 Aug 1950), CB – 31 May 1956, DFC - 11 Feb 1941, FRAeS.

Plt Off (P): 3 Mar 1933, Plt Off: 3 Mar 1934, Fg Off: 3 Sep 1935, Flt Lt: 3 Sep 1937, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1939, Act Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1941*, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1941*, Act Gp Capt: 1 Nov 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 1 May 1945, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1951, Act A/Cdre:  1 Sep 1956, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1957, Act AVM: 21 Jul 1958?, AVM: 1 Jul 1959, Act AM: 26 Jun 1964, AM: 1 Jan 1965.

*His promotion to Acting Wg Cdr preceded his promotion to Temporary Wg Cdr by 3 hours.

18 Mar 1933:          Awarded a Short Service Commission

18 Mar 1933:          U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.

18 Feb 1934:           Attended Flying Boat Pilots’ Course, RAF Base Calshot

15 Sep 1934:           Pilot, No 201 (Flying boat) Sqn.

22 Jul 1935:             Adjutant, No 201 Sqn.

xx Apr 1937:           Attended QFI course, CFS

xx xxx 1937:            Adjutant/QFI, No 500 (County of Kent) Sqn Aux AF.

 7 Mar 1938:           Pilot, Long Range Development Unit - Upper Heyford.

 9 Jan 1939:             QFI, Central Flying School.

 3 Mar 1939:           Awarded a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

26 – 31 Mar 1939   Placed on half-pay list Scale B

26 Aug 1939:          Air Staff, HQ RAF Middle East.

 5 Jul 1940:             Supernumerary, No 80 Sqn.

 5 Jul 1940:             Officer Commanding, No 80 Sqn.

19 Aug 1940:           Officer Commanding, No 274 Sqn.  

20 Feb 1941:           Officer Commanding, RAF Amriya,

12 Apr 1941:           CFI, Fighter OTU (ex No 70 OTU).

 1 Jun 1941:             Officer Commanding, No 71 OTU.

5 Sep 1941:             Admitted to hospital with sand fly fever

xx Oct 1941:           Chief Flying Instructor, No 71 OTU.

xx Dec 1941:           Staff, HQ No 203 Group.

23 Feb 1942:           SOA, HQ No 203 Group.

xx Mar 1942:           En route to UK and attached to No 204 Sqn.

xx xxx 1942:            ADC to MRAF Lord Trenchard.

xx xxx xxxx:             Attended Blind Landing Course.

xx xxx xxxx:             Air Staff, HQ Fighter Command/ADGB.

xx Mar 1944:          Mosquito Conversion Course, No 1655 Flight

5-16 Jun 1944:        Attended Conversion Course, No 53 OTU

 1 Nov 1944:           Group Captain - Operations, HQ No 12 Group.

16 Apr 1945:           Attended Short Radar Course, No 62 OTU

xx xxx 1945:            Sector Commander, RAF Coltishall.

xx xxx 1946:            Deputy Director of Personal Services, Air Ministry.

 3 May 1949:           SASO, AHQ Malaya.

xx xxx 1950:            Attended Joint Services Staff College

xx xxx 1951:            Instructor, NATO Defence College.

26 Jan 1953:            Air Staff - Operations, HQ Fighter Command.

xx Mar 1953:            Group Captain - Plans, HQ Fighter Command.

 1 Jul 1953 – 7 Jan 1958:        ADC to The Queen

10 Dec 1954:           Group Captain/Air Commodore - Operations, HQ Fighter Command.

 1 Sep 1956:            AOC & Commandant, RAF Flying College.

21 Jul 1958:             Deputy Air Secretary.

 1 Dec 1961:            AOC, No 1 Group.

26 Jun 1964:            AOC in C, Flying Training Command.

Born in Glasgow Patrick Dunn join the RAF on a short service commission, after attending Glasgow Academy, Loretto and Glasgow University.  Following pilot training, he was selected for flying boats and after attending the Flying Boat Pilots course at Calshot, he joined No 201 Squadron, flying Supermarine Southamptons at Calshot.  In 1936 he became a flying instructor and was posted to No 500 (County of Kent) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force, here he acted a the permanent squadron adjutant and flying instructor.  His over water navigation experience as a flying boat pilot was brought into play in 1938, when he joined the Long Range Development Unit at Upper Heyford.  He was No 4 pilot of one of the unit's Wellesleys that undertook and broke the non-stop distance record by flying from Ismailia in Egypt to Darwin in Australia, a distance of 7.162 miles.

After the LRDU's  success, it was disbanded and Patrick Dunn returned to the CFS ass a Senior Instructor, but in August 1939, he was posted to the Middle East as an Air Staff Officer.  A year later he took command of No 80 Squadron, a fighter unit equipped with Gloster Gladiators.  He was soon in action against the Italians over the Western Desert, making his first claim on 8 August.  However, within two weeks of taking over command of No 80 Squadron, some Hurricanes were introduced into the Middle East it was decided to form a new squadron, with Sqn Ldr Dunn being detached from his current command to undertake this task.  Amongst those he took with him to 274 Sqn was Fg Off John Lapsley (also destined to become an Air Marshal).   It was to be December, however, before he made his first claim in a Hurricane, when he shared a third of a victory over three separate SM-79 bombers, a third of a SM-79 damaged a CR42 destroyed and another two probables on the 9th.  He claimed a further CR42 on 14 December and his final claim was on 5 January 1941 bringing his total to 6 destroyed and 3 shared, 2 probables, 1 damaged and 1 shared damaged.  

Following command of No 274, he was appointed as Officer Commanding of RAF Amriya and in April he took command of 'B' and 'C' Flights of No 70 OTU, which was renamed the Fighter OTU. In June on promotion to Wing Commander, the Fighter OTU was renamed No 71 Operational Training Unit at Ismailia and he remained in command until October when a Group Captain arrived and he reverted to the post of Chief Flying Instructor.  This unit trained fighter and tactical reconnaissance pilots but following heavy raids on the station the unit was moved to Gordon's Tree in the Sudan.  He then moved to No 203 Group as the Senior Officer in Charge of Administration, but in early 1943, he was posted back to the UK via West Africa, where he managed to get some flying in on the Sunderlands of No 204 Squadron.

In the UK he was appointed ADC to Marshal of the RAF Lord Trenchard, who been the RAF's first Chief of the Air Staff and was employed as an ambassador and morale booster for the RAF.  He was desparate to return to operational flying and even managed to join the Mosquito Operational Training Unit, in preparation for joining the No 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group, but his plans were swarted and he found himself at Fighter Command.  Promoted to Group Captain, he moved to No 12 Group and was responsible for anti-V2 operations by the group.  By the end of the war he had been appointed Sector Commander of the Coltishall Sector.

In 1947 he served in the Air Ministry but two years later he was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer  in Malaya.  It was here that he co-ordinated the operations of Operation 'Firedog' and was awarded the CBE for his services.  Various staff appointments followed until he took Command of the RAF Flying College at Manby in 1956.

Appointed AOC, No 1 Group in 1961, in 1963 he led a force of three Vulcans drawn from No's 27, 83 and 617, each flown by the squadrons' commanding officers, on a demonstration flight to Australia and New Zealand.  Whilst in New Zealand they took part in celebrations for the 25th Anniversary of the RNZAF.  The return flight was made via Hawaii, California, Florida, the Bahamas and Goose Bay before arriving back at Scampton after covering 30,000 miles in 50 flying hours.  His final appointment was as AOC-in-C Flying Training Command.

Since leaving the RAF Sir Patrick has held numerous positions on the Boards of British Steel Corporation, British Eagle International Airlines Ltd and Eagle Aviation Services as well as being a member or official of the Air League and the British Atlantic Committee.  He has also been a Trustee and Governor of his old School, Loretto.   In 2003 he made the national headlines, when he fell over at his home and ambulancemen were unable to lift him without the correct 'lifting cushion' and he was left for two hours until his carer found him.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Squadron Leader Patrick Hunter Dunn (34018), No.274 Squadron.

Mainly due to his outstanding and determined leadership, the present and former squadron commanded by Squadron Leader Dunn have destroyed at least sixty-eight enemy aircraft.  Squadron Leader Dunn has personally destroyed at least seven of that number.”

(London Gazette – 11  February 1941)

This page was last updated on 01/04/24

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