Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Lewis McDonald (Bob) b: 1 Mar 1918 r: 2 May 1976 d: 4 Jan 2007
KCB 8 Jun 1968 (CB - 1 Jan 1963), CBE 12 Jun 1958 (OBE 1 Jan 1954), DSO 19 Oct 1943, Bar 19 Oct 1945, DFC 26 May 1942, Bar 25 May 1943, MiD 11 Jun 1942, DL (Kent) 14 Feb 1992, C de G xx xxx 1944, LoH (GO) xx xxx 1988 (LoH Cdr xx xxx 1948),
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
Plt Off:17 Dec 1938, Fg Off (WS): 17 Jun 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 17 Jun 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx 1942, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1943, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1950, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1957, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1961, AVM: 1 Jul 1963, AM: 1 Jul 1968, ACM: 1 May 1971.
xx xxx 1937: Flight Cadet, 'C' Sqn, RAF College.
17 Dec 1938: Appointed to a Permanent Commission.
17 Dec 1938: Pilot, No 78 Sqn.
xx xxx 1940: Pilot, No 49 Sqn.
4 Sep 1940: Interned, escaped and evaded
xx Jun 1941: Pilot, No 49 Sqn.
xx xxx 1942: Flight Commander, No 49 Sqn.
xx xxx 1942: Flight Commander, No 161 Sqn
xx May 1943: Officer Commanding, No 161 Sqn.
xx Nov 1944: Staff Officer Operations, HQ Bomber Command
xx Dec 1944: Officer Commanding, No 357 Sqn.
9 Aug 1945: Directing Staff, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.
xx Oct 1946: Attended RAF Flying College.
xx Jan 1947: Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College
xx xxx 1948: Staff Officer, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
xx xxx 1948: Staff Officer, Joint Planning Staff, Air Ministry.
xx xxx 1952: Staff Officer , Bomber Command
xx xxx 1956: Officer Commanding, RAF Marham.
7 Apr 1959: Assistant Commandant, RAF College - Cranwell
10 Feb 1961: AOA, Air Forces Middle East
xx xxx 1963: Attended Imperial Defence College.
4 Nov 1963: Air Executive to Nuclear Deputy, HQ SHAPE
22 Nov 1965: Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations)
1 Jul 1968: AOC in C, Air Support Command
2 Nov 1970: Air Member for Personnel
31 May 1973: Deputy C in C, HQ Allied Forces Central Europe.
3 Sep 1973 2 May 1976: Air ADC to The Queen.
Following his education at St Paul's, he entered Cranwell as a Flight Cadet in 1937, where attained the rank of Flight Cadet Corporal. Graduating two years later he was posted to No 78 Sqn at Finningley but in 1940 he was posted to No 49 Sqn flying Hampdens. It was shortly after this that on 4 September 1940, whilst returning from a raid on Stettin that he was forced to crash land his Hampden in Brittany. His air gunner, John Hugh Wyatt, having failed to hear his order to abandon the aircraft joined him in his attempt to evade capture and set on foot towards Vichy France. They eventually arrived in Marseilles at which point their luck ran out and they were arrested. Hodges managed to escape and make it to Oran by stowing away in a ship, where he was recaptured and returned to Marseilles, here he was imprisoned in the St Hippolyte du Fort, near Nξmes to await trial. Escaping using a forged pass he managed to get to Perpignan by train from where he took a taxi to the Spanish border, crossing the Pyrenees into Spain. On arriving in Spain, he was once again arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Miranda del Ebro, but five weeks later the British Embassy was able to arrange his release. He was eventually repatriated to Gibraltar on 13 June 1941 and on his arrival back in the UK returned to No 49 Squadron, with whom he resumed operations over Germany.
Sgt Wyatt's granddaughter supplied the following: -
In April 1942, Hodges was appointed a flight commander with No 161 Squadron. This was one of two units involved in flying operations in support of SOE. These could take the form of landing and/or picking up agents behind enemy lines or dropping supplies to resistance groups. Initially the squadron operated in the latter role with Halifaxes, but by May 1943, when he took command of the squadron, it was also operating Lysanders and Hudsons in the former. One pick up was different in two ways, the first being that it involved two Hudsons, one flown by him and the second by Fg Off John Afflick, in which they collected 20 passengers and returned them to Britain. He did not find out until 1945, however, why the mission had been different from others. It was only when that he was invited to the French Embassy in London and presented with the Legion d'honneur and Croix de Guerre he learnt that one of his passengers had been Monsieur Vincent Auriol, the President of the French Republic.
Rested in November 1944, he was due to become Personal Staff Officer to Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, who was to become Air Commander-in-Chief, South-East Asia. However, following the death of his younger brother, he requested to return to operations and was appointed OC of No 357 Squadron, which was tasked with performing similar duties to No 161, but in South-East Asia. This turned out to be a fortunate posting as had he accompanied Leigh-Mallory, he would have been killed when the aircraft carrying him crashed in the Alps en-route to India. 357 was equipped with Liberators, Dakotas and Lysanders and operated over Burma, Siam and Malaya, sometimes conducting flights of 20 hours duration in the Liberators.
In 1953 he took 4th place in the London to New Zealand Air Race flying a Canberra, setting a new London - Colombo record in the process. In 1956 whilst Station Commander of RAF Marham, which housed three Valiant bomber squadrons, he was appointed Commander of a Force of Valiants and crews from his three units sent to Malta as part of Operation Albert. During the build up of the new V-Bomber Force, he occupied various senior staff appointments at HQ Bomber Command in connection with this.
Various command and staff appointments followed, including appointment to the Air Board as Air Member for Personnel and finally Deputy C-in-C Allied Forces Central Europe, before retiring in 1976 to become a Director of Pilkington Brothers. He has also held a number of posts as an official of various organisations such as BUPA Medical Foundation (Governor), RAF Escaping Society (President) and RAF Benevolent Fund (President). He was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent in 1992.
Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Acting Squadron Leader Lewis Macdonald HODGES, D.F.C. (33408), No.161 Squadron.
This officer has completed many sorties, achieving much success. He is an extremely efficient and gallant flight commander, whose leadership and unfailing 7 devotion to duly have proved inspiring."
(London Gazette 25 May 1943)
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order
Acting Wing Commander Lewis Macdonald HODGES, D.F.C. (33408), Royal Air Force, No.161 Squadron.
Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has undertaken many sorties. The successes obtained reflect the greatest credit on the efforts of Wing Commander Hodges whose efficiency and personal example, both in the air and on the ground, have been outstanding. In most trying circumstances, this officer displayed superb skill, great coolness and determination.
(London Gazette 19 October 1943)
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