Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Major-General M E F Kerr

M E F Kerr - 1914Mark Edward Frederic KerrMark Edward Frederic            b: 26 Sep 1864                r: 1 Oct 1918             d: 20 Jan 1944

CB - 3 Jun 1913, CVO  - xx xxx xxxx (MVO - 6 Oct 1903), R, C - 11 Jul 1905, SMSL, GO - 23 Mar 1917,  SO - 7 Aug 1918.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(RN): - Mid’n: 15 Jul 1877, Sub-Lt:  xx xxx 1883, Lt: 20 Aug 1886, Cdr: 30 Jun 1898, Capt: 1 Jan 1903, R-Adm:  16 May 1913, V-Adm: 26 Apr 1918, Adm (Ret’d): 8 Apr 1922.

(RAF): - Maj-Gen: 3 Jan 1918.

Photo (Far left) - source unknown

Photo (left) - Mark Edward Frederic Kerr

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 18 January 1921
NPG x120778

© National Portrait Gallery, London

15 Jul 1877:             Attended HMS Britannia

25 Jul 1879:             Midshipman, HMS Newcastle

24 Aug 1880:            Midshipman, HMS Inconsistant.

xx xxx 1882:            HMS President for Naval Brigade, Egypt.

22 Jan 1984:            HMS Excellent for Examination

 2 Apr 1885:            

15 Oct 1885:            Lieutenant, HMS Bellerophon

 1 Jul 1896:              Lieutenant,

25 Aug 1886:           Lieutenant, HMS Agincourt

30 Sep 1886:            Lieutenant, HMS Active

 4 Nov 1886:           Flag Lieutenant to Vice Admiral Sir William Hewitt VC, HMS Minatour.

xx Nov 1897:           Awarded RHS Bronze Medal for rescuing a midshipman from drowning off Spithead

17 Apr 1888:            Flag Lieutenant to Vice Admiral Baird, HMS Minatour.

11 Sep 1888:            Lieutenant, HMS Tourmaline.

24 Jan 1889:            Flag Lieutenant, HMS Alexandra

11 Mar 1889:           Lieutenant, HMS Surprise.

xx May 1889:           Lieutenant, HMS Dreadnought

11 Jan 1890:            Lieutenant, HMS Camperdown

15 Sep 1891:            Lieutenant, HMS Victoria.

 1 Mar 1893:            Lieutenant, HMS Achilles.

11 Jul 1893:             Lieutenant, HMS Alexandra

18 Jul 1894:             Flag Lieutenant, HMS Alexandra

16 Oct 1894:            1st Lieutenant, HMS Cambrian.

 3 Mar 1898:            1st Lieutenant, HMS Bonaventure

 3 Mar 1899:            Attended Course at Royal Naval College

19 Apr 1899:            Attended Course, HMS Bittern

xx xxx xxxx:            Attended Course, HMS Cygnet

25 Nov 1899:            Officer Commanding, HMS Mermaid

10 Mar 1900:            Officer Commanding, HMS Cheerful

 4 Jan 1901:            Officer Commanding, HMS Mermaid

10 Sep 1901:            Second in Command, HMS Implacable

24 Jun 1903:            Naval Attaché, Rome.

xx Jan 1905:            Naval Attaché, Vienna

xx xxx xxxx:            Naval Attaché, Athens.

1 Jan 1905:              Special Service at Admiralty

15 Jan 1905:            Captain, HMS Drake.

1 Feb 1905:              Flag Captain to Prince Louis of Battenburg, HMS Drake

16 Jun 1907:            Officer Commanding, HMS Implacable.

 8 Sep 1908:             Officer Commanding, HMS Invincible

xx Feb 1911:             HMS Hercules - Conducting trials

28 Mar 1911:            Assistant to Admiral Commanding Coastguard and Reserves.

 9 Jul 1912-16 May 1913:               Naval ADC to HM The King

16 Nov 1912:           Captain, HMS King George V

xx Jan 1913:            Captain, HMS Hercules.

21 Jun 1913:            Special Service at the Admiralty (preparations for mission to Greece).

 4 Aug 1914:             Rear Admiral Commanding British Adriatic Squadron, Head of Naval Mission to Greece

 6 May 1916:            Attached RN Barracks, Devonport

20 May 1916:           Rear-Admiral - Adriatic.

31 Aug 1917:            Placed at disposal of Air Board to assist in formation of Air Ministry.

 3 Jan 1918:              Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.

 1 Apr 1918:             GOC, No 2 Area.

 8 May 1918:            GOC, South Western Area.

The son of Admiral Lord Kerr, he was born at Hampton Court Palace and educated at Stubbington House before entering the Royal Nay,  He learnt to fly in 1914, gaining RAeC Certificate 842 on 14 July, whilst on leave from his command of the Greek Navy, thereby becoming the first British Flag Officer to become a pilot.  Shortly after learning to fly he undertook the return  flight from Phalerum to Porus Island which at that time (1914) constituted the longest sea crossing by air.  However, whilst being too senior to fly in the RNAS, he soon began making calls on the Admiralty, as C-in-C Adriatic Squadron, to give him aircraft to support his activities.  His direct involvement with air matters did not really begin until late in 1917, when having been wounded and gassed he was invalided home.  At this point he was appointed to the newly constituted Air Board being set up to prepare for the forthcoming amalgamation of the RFC and RNAS into the RAF.  When a member of the Cabinet informed him that Lloyd George was proposing not to establish a separate Air Ministry, he immediately wrote to the Cabinet urging a change of mind.  Although he did not offer any fresh arguments, his timing in submitting it, had the desired effect on some undecided members of the Cabinet and five days later it was announced in Parliament that an Air Ministry would in deed be formed.   He also designed an early form of RAF uniform but it’s very light blue colour with lashings of gold braid, made it very unpopular and it was soon superseded by the now more familiar blue-grey with black/light blue rank braid.  Retiring from both the RAF and Royal Navy in 1918, he chose to go on to the Admiralty retired list.  Following retirement he made two unsuccessful attempts at crossing the Atlantic by air, together with Major H G Brackley before reverting to writing.

This page was last updated on 17/10/22

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