Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
19 Aug 1914
r: 4 Jun 1963
d: 3 Mar 1990
– 25 Mar 1941, DFC – 7 Jan 1941, MiD - 17 Mar 1941, DFC (G)
- 29 Dec 1942. MA.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
Off: 19 Oct
1936 [19 Jul 1935], Fg Off: 19 Apr 1937 [19 Jan
1937], Act Flt Lt: 19 Oct 1938 – 5
Jan 1939, Flt Lt: 19 Apr 1939 [19 Jan
Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1940,
Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941,
(T) Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1941, Sqn Ldr:
14 Apr 1942 [1 Sep 1940], Act Gp Capt: 13
Mar 1944, Wg Cdr (WS): 13 Sep 1944,
Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1
Jul 1951, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1958,
AVM: 1 May 1960, AVM: 1 Jan 1961.
9 Jul 1934: Member, Cambridge University Air Squadron.
Jul 1935: Granted a Permanent Commission.
19 Jul 1935: U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS
30 Jun 1937: Pilot, No 83 Sqn.
21 Oct 1937: Officer Commanding, 'B' Flight, No 83 Sqn
Pilot, No 113 Sqn.
19 Oct 1938 - 5 Jan 1939: Flight Commander, No 113 Sqn
ADC to Governor of Kenya.
xx xxx 1939: Attached to No 113 Sqn
Sep 1939: 'A'
Flight Commander, No 211 Sqn.
4 Sep 1940: Officer Commanding, No 211 Sqn. (Blenheim)
xx Mar 1941: Officer Commanding, Eastern Wing (Greece)
Senior Operations Officer, AHQ Western Desert.
Attended RAF Staff College.
Staff, ASP 5,
Directorate of Policy (General) .
Deputy Director of Air Transport Policy and Operations (1).
RAF Liaison Officer to USAAF, Guam.
Staff, HQ ACSEA.
xx xxx 1946:
SASO, AHQ Burma.
Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College.
Air Staff, Air Ministry.
Officer Commanding, RAF Deversoir.
Officer Commanding, RAF Khormaksar.
Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command.
Assistant Commandant, RAF Staff College,
Director-General of Personal Services.
The son of an Army officer he attended Pembroke College, Cambridge graduating with a MA, he was elected to the Inner Temple in 1935, but opted to join the RAF. As senior flight commander, he took command of No 211 Squadron when his CO was lost on operations shortly before the squadron was sent to Greece. In 1941, he was awarded the RAF 's first DSO in the Middle East having completed 100 operations, having also been awarded the RAF’s first DSO in Greece.
Following a raid on Tobruk on 25 September 1940, his
aircraft (L8523) developed a fire in the starboard engine, but he was able to
nurse the aircraft a further 130km before making a forced landing. On 24 November 1941, his
aircraft (L8511) was hit by AA fire whilst attacking Valona.
Unable to reach his base, he managed to crash land on the island of
Corfu, where he and his crew were toasted and feted before they were returned to
the mainland by boat and they were able to rejoin their squadron.
Citation for the award of the
Distinguished Flying Cross
“Acting Squadron Leader James Richmond GORDON - FINLAYSON (36078), No.
This officer has completed more than 40 day and night raids and
reconnaissance’s over enemy territory in Greece and the Western Desert.
Undaunted by continual severe anti-aircraft fire and attacks by fighters he has
shown superb courage, determination and devotion to duty. The accuracy of his
bombing has resulted in great damage to enemy positions and transport
concentration, and his determined leadership of his squadron has enabled most
effective results to be secured.”
Gazette – 7 January 1941)
“Squadron Leader James Richmond GORDON-FlNLAYSON, D.F.C.(36078), No.211
officer has completed over 100 operational sorties both by day and night.
Throughout these operations, most of which have been carried out under
exceptionally difficult conditions, he has displayed out standing leadership and
skill and, by his splendid example of courage and determination, has contributed
materially to the successes achieved by his squadron.”
(London Gazette – 25 March 1941)
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