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Air Marshal Sir Victor Groom (04035)


 Victor Emmanuel              b: 4 Aug 1898              r: 26 Sep 1955                     d: 6 Dec 1990

KCVO -16 Jul 1953, KBE - 1 Jan 1952 (CBE - 5 Jul 1945, OBE - 11 Jul 1940), CB - 8 Jun 1944, DFC - 2 Nov 1918, Bar - 19 Aug 1921, MiD – 1 Jan 1945, MiD – 1 Jan 1946, LoH, O - xx xxx 194?.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army):- 2 Lt: 26 Apr 1917, Lt: xx xxx xxxx.

(RAF):- Lt: 1 Apr 1918, (T) Capt: 23 Aug 1918, Fg Off: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Flt Lt: 1 Jul 1924, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1934, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1938, Act Gp Capt: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Sep 1940, Act A/Cdre: 18 Apr 1942?, Gp Capt (WS): 18 Nov 1942, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jun 1943, Act AVM: 8 Sep 1943, Gp Capt: 1 Dec 1943, A/Cdre (WS): 8 Sep 1944,  (T) AVM: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1946, AVM: 1 Jul 1947, AM: 1 Jan 1952.

xx xxx 1916:           Private, The London Regiment.

xx xxx xxxx:           Officer Cadet

26 Apr 1917:           Officer, West Yorkshire Regiment, attached to the RFC.

xx Sep 1917:           U/T Pilot, RFC.

30 Jan 1918:            Appointed Flying Officer, RFC.

18 Mar 1918:          Pilot, No 20 Sqn RFC.

23 Aug 1918:           Flight Commander, No 20? Sqn.

xx xxx 1919:            Pilot, No 111 Sqn. (Egypt)

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant

15 Dec 1919:           Pilot, No 14 Sqn (Bristol F2B - Palestine)

 2 May 1920:           Awaiting disposal, HQ Mesopotamian Wing.

22 May 1920:            Pilot, No 55 Sqn. (Iraq – DH9A)

xx xxx 1919:            Served in Egypt, Turkey and Iraq.

25 Mar 1922:           Staff, School of Photography.

19 Sep 1927:           Attended RAF Staff College.

17 Dec 1928:           Supernumerary, RAF Staff College.

12 Feb 1929:           Staff, HQ No 3 (Indian) Wing.

24 Mar 1932:          Air Staff - Training, HQ RAF India.

26 Oct 1932:           Officer Commanding, No 28 Sqn.

27 Aug 1934:          Flight Commander, No 58 Sqn. (Virginia - Worthy Down)

22 Apr 1936:           Officer Commanding, No 58 Sqn (Upper Heyford)

14 Jul 1936:             Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command. (OBE)

xx xxx 1940:            Officer Commanding, RAF Marham.

xx xxx 1941:            Air Staff, Directorate of Plans.

xx xxx 1942:            Head of RAF Staff, 'Overlord' Planning Staff.

20 Sep 1943:           SASO, 2nd Tactical Air Force.

 7 Aug 1945:            AOA, HQ Flying Training Command.

 1 Jan 1947:             Director-General of Manning.

20 Oct 1949:           AOC, No 205 Group.

 7 Feb 1952:            C in C, Middle East Air Force.

 1 Jul 1952:              AOC in C, Technical Training Command.

Educated at Alleyns, Dulwich he enlisted in the Artists Rifles, 14th Foot West Yorkshire Regiment.  He transferred to the RFC in 1917 and after pilot training was posted to No 20 Squadron on the Western Front, being awarded the recently instituted DFC for operations with them.  On his first operation a Very light fired by his formation leader landed in his observer’s cockpit.  Setting fire to flares and cartridges in his aircraft, his observer suffered burns to his hands, but Groom was able to land the aircraft safely.  Having achieved a score of eight confirmed victories, he went on leave but was hit by influenza and did not return to France.  Recovered he was posted to Egypt and 111 Squadron after which he moved to Iraq and 55 Squadron flying DH9A’s.

On 5 May 1921, whilst taking part in operations in Iraq, the crew of another DH9A was forced down by a group of hostile tribesmen.  Groom immediately landed as close to the downed aircraft as he could and took them aboard his aircraft, thereby preventing them being taken captive, probably with highly unpleasant consequences.  For this action, he was awarded a Bar to the DFC.

With the build up to 'Overlord' underway, it was felt that lessons from the actions in North Africa would be valuable in preparation for the invasion of Europe.  Therefore, Victor Groom accompanied ACM Leigh-Mallory, who would command the Allied Air Forces during the invasion, to the Middle East to see what could be learnt.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Lieut. Victor Emmanuel Groom.

An officer of great courage and dash who never hesitates to attack the enemy regardless of the superiority in numbers.  While on a recent patrol this officer was one of a formation of eight that engaged twenty-five hostile scouts. Lieut. Groom shot down one, and his observer (Lieut. Hardcastle)a few minutes later destroyed another.  On a later date, accompanied by the same observer.”

(London Gazette – 2 November 1918)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Flying Officer Victor Emmanuel Groom, D.F.C., R.A.F.

(Distinguished Flying Cross gazetted 2nd November, 1918.)

For conspicuous skill and gallantry under fire.  While taking part in a bombing expedition from. Mosul on the 5th May, 1921, an aeroplane was shot down by rifle fire in hostile country three miles west of Batas.  Flying Officer Groom at once landed and picked up the crew of this machine while under enemy fire. He then successfully took off down hill and returned safely to Mosul with two passengers in the back seat and a third lying on one of the  planes.  This officer, in addition to showing great promptitude and gallantry, also displayed marked skill in first landing safely under most difficult conditions and then taking off with a very excessive load."

(London Gazette – 19 August 1921)

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