Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Eric Donald b: 26 Jan 1917 r: 1 Sep 1973 d: 27 Jan 2012
CB – 2 Jun 1973, CBE - 8 Jun 1968 (MBE – 1 Jan 1941)
Plt Off (P): 23 Jan 1939, Plt Off: 23 Jan 1940, Fg Off: 27 Mar 1940, (T) Flt Lt: 1 Jun 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1942, Flt Lt (WS): 1 Sep 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1944?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 1 Dec 1944, Flt Lt: 28 Feb 1947 [1 Jul 1941], Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1955, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1962, Act A/Cdre: 15 Jan 1968, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1969, AVM: 1 Jul 1971
23 Jan 1939: Appointed to a Commission in the RAFVR
23 Jan 1939: Attended Equipment Training School (Officers)
27 Mar 1939: Equipment Officer, RAF Tangmere
xx Aug 1939: Equipment Officer, No 1 Sqn
xx xxx xxxx: Equipment Officer, Nairobi
xx xxx xxxx: Equipment Officer, HQ East Africa.
23 Jan 1943: Transferred to the Reserve and called up for Air Force Service
xx Feb 1943: Equipment Officer, Egypt
xx Dec 1944: Equipment Staff Officer, UK
xx xxx xxxx: Instructor, Equipment Training wing, RAF Digby
1 Sep 1945: Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the Equipment Branch in the rank of Flight Lieutenant
22 Jan 1946: Staff Officer, Deputy Directorate of Equipment (8)
xx xxx xxxx: Military Air Transport Service
9 Feb 1959: Equipment Staff Officer, HQ Transport Command
1 Jan 1962: Senior Equipment Staff Officer, HQ Coastal Command
24 Jan 1963: Senior Equipment Officer, HQ Middle East Air Force.
xx Apr 1965: Officer Commanding, No 16 Maintenance Unit, RAF Stafford
xx xxx xxxx:
21 Jul 1969: Director of Equipment (Policy) (RAF)
5 Sep 1971: Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, HQ Maintenance Command
Leading the advance party of No 1 Squadron to France shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939, he established an airfield and began ensuring that fuel, ammunition and spares were available. After the last of the squadron’s aircraft left for the UK on 17 June, he was responsible for the evacuation of himself and 42 ground personnel and despite being wounded by a bomb blast he got his men to La Rochelle and got his men home on two Welsh colliers, being awarded an MBE for his actions.
He was then posted to East Africa and was immediately tasked with taking a convoy of trucks to Juba in the Sudan, a journey which took six days. At Juba he was placed in command of an advanced airstrip. Whilst here he was also tasked with transporting a battalion of Belgian Congo troops to Egypt, which he managed by requisitioning a paddle steamer and some flat barges, the journey took two weeks.
Posted back to Nairobi, he confronted with a difficult supply situation as many of the aircraft being operated in the area were obsolescent, including a squadron of German built Ju 86 of the South African Air Force. He also assisted in the setting up and development of the supply route from Takoradi on the Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Khartoum and on to Cairo, involving a 3,500 mile supply route. Despite the length of this route, it was considerably shorter than the alternative of shipping aircraft around the Cape of Good Hope to the Red Sea. This became known as the ‘Takoradi Route’
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