Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal L W G Gill

Leonard William George ('Bill')

b: 31 Mar 1918                       r: 31 Mar 1973                        d:  13 Jul 2007

DSO – 22 Jun 1945, MiD – 1 Jan 1945,  FIPM, FBIM.

RAFO: APO (P): 9 May 1937,

RAF: Plt Off (P): 28 Nov 1937, Plt Off: 28 Nov 1937, Fg Off: 28 May 1939, Flt Lt: 18 Nov 1940, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1941, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1942, Sqn Ldr (WS):  18 Feb 1945, Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1945, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1951, Act Gp Capt: xx xxx 1957, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1958, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1964, AVM: 1 Jan 1968. 

Photo courtesy - Reuben Thomas (his grandson)

9 May 1937:                Granted a Commission in Class A, Reserve of Air Force Officers 

9 May 1937:                U/T Pilot, No 8 FTS.

28 Nov 1937:               Granted a Short Service Commission

 5 May 1938:               Attended Instructor's Course, Central Flying School. (graded B)

xx xxx 1938:                 QFI, Straits Settlement Volunteer Air Force, Singapore.

xx xxx 1940:                 QFI, Burma Volunteer Air Force.

xx Apr 1942:                Pilot, Communication Flt, India.

 5 May 1942:                Staff Officer - Operations, AHQ Bengal Command

xx xxx 1942:                 Wing Commander - Plans, AHQ Bengal Command

 8 Jun 1943:                  Attended Night Intruder Conversion course, No 60 OTU

15 Jun 1943:                Attended Night Fighter Conversion course, No 54 OTU

xx xxx 1943:                 Pilot, No 96 Sqn (Beaufighter VI)

xx xxx xxxx:                  Flight Commander, No 125 Sqn (Beaufighter VI)

 4 Feb 1945:                Officer Commanding, No 68 Sqn. (Mosquito NF30)

20 Apr 1945:               CFI, Night Fighter OTU.

11 Feb 1947:               Air Staff Officer, HQ, No 11 Group

xx xxx 1948:                 Officer Commanding, No 85 Sqn.

13 Jan 1949:                Air Staff, Deputy Directorate of Operational Training.

xx xxx 1951:                Directing Staff, RAF Staff College.

xx xxx xxxx:                 Air Defence Working Group, Germany

xx Mar 1956:               Officer Commanding, No 87 Sqn. (Meteor NF Mk 11/Javelin FAW Mk 1)

xx Oct 1957:                Officer Commanding, No 1 FTS, RAF Linton on Ouse

13 Jun 1960:                Director of Overseas Theatres.

22 Aug 1962:               Attended Canadian National Defence College.

 2 Sep 1963:                Director of Organisation (Establishments).

 1 Jul 1966:                  SASO, HQ RAF Germany.

 4 Mar 1968:                Director-General of Manning.

After leaving University College School he began working as an aircraft engineer with Airwork at Heston .  During his two years with Airwork, he qualified for his Private Pilot’s Licence.  In 1936 he joined the RAF Reserve but in 1937 he was granted a Short Service Commission.    He completed his flying training to gain his ‘Wings’ and was immediately selected for training as an instructor.  On completion of his instructor’s course, he was posted to Singapore where he became an instructor to the Straits Settlement Volunteer Air Force.  In 1940 he moved to Burma, where he fulfilled a similar function for the newly created Burma Volunteer Air Force.

In early 1941, he took a group of pilots to the Kra Isthmus to watch for Japanese forces, which arrived on December 11, when his group returned to Rangoon.  During the Japanese advance he flew a variety of types but gradually they were forced to move north until they had retreated to India.  Here he flew communications missions from Dum Dum, taking senior officers to forward bases and in May he evacuated the governor of a small Burmese town before the Japanese arrived, for which he was mentioned in dispatches.

He returned to the UK in June 1943 and trained as a night fighter pilot joining No 96 Squadron but was soon transferred to No 125 Squadron as a flight commander.  He became heavily involved in operations to combat the V1s being launched by Heinkel III bombers over the North Sea and on one night he claimed one of these destroyed and another as a probable.  He took command of No 68 Squadron in early 1945 and began carrying out intruder patrols over Germany.  With the war over, he became Chief Flying Instructor at a night fighter operational training unit.

He returned to operational flying in 1948 in command of No 85 Squadron, which was followed by a period on the Directing Staff of the RAF Staff College and further staff work on a working party in Germany.  After these staff postings, he returned to operations again as OC of No 87 Squadron in Germany, equipped with Meteor night fighters.  Returning from Germany he took command of RAF Linton-on-Ouse anf No 1 Flying Training School, before moving to the Air Ministry.  He then attended the Canadian National Defence College followed by a return to the Air Ministry for three years.  Two years back in Germany as Senior Air Staff Officer at Rheindahlen, was followed by his final posting, that of Director-General of Manning.

Retiring from the RAF in 1973 he became a Consultant in personnel planning with the P&O Steam Navigation Company until he joined Merton Associates (Consultants) Ltd., as a Director in 1979, becoming Chairman in 1985.  He has also been heavily involved with RAFA.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Orders.

 “Acting Wing Commander Leonard William George GILL (70244), R.A.F.O., 68 Sqn.

This officer's operational record has been worthy of high praise.  He has always displayed the greatest keenness, coupled with a high degree of skill and courage.  His personal example has been well -reflected in the fine fighting spirit of the, squadron which he commanded for a period.  He has completed a large number of sorties and throughout his devotion to duty has been unfailing.  Wing Commander Gill has destroyed 3 enemy aircraft at night.”

(London Gazette – 22 June 1945)

This page was last updated on 14/02/24

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