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Air Vice-Marshal E D Hills  (31275)


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: xx xxx xxxx, 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: xx xxx xxxx, A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx, AVM: 1 Jul 1971

23 Jan 1939:               

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

xx xxx xxxx:                  Military Air Transport Service

xx xxx xxxx:                  HQ Transport Command

xx Jan 1963:                 Senior Equipment Officer, HQ Middle East Air Force.

xx Apr 1965:                Officer Commanding, No 16 Maintenance Unit, RAF Stafford

  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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