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: xx xxx 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

xx xxx 1877:            Midshipman, HMS Inconstant.

xx xxx 1882:            Officer, Naval Brigade, Egypt.

xx xxx 1886:            Flag Lt to Vice Admiral Sir William Hewitt VC.

xx xxx xxxx:            Lieutenant, HMS Victoriax

xx xxx xxxx:            Second in command, HMS Cambrian.

xx xxx 1899:            Officer Commanding, HMS Mermaid

xx xxx 1901:            Second in Command, HMS Implacable

xx xxx 1903:            Naval Attaché, Rome.

xx xxx xxxx:            Naval Attaché, Vienna

xx xxx xxxx:            Naval Attaché, Athens.

xx xxx 1905:            Flag Capt: to Prince Louis of Battenburg

xx xxx 1907:            Officer Commanding, HMS Implacable.

 8 Sep 1908:             Officer Commanding, HMS Invincible

xx xxx 1911:            Assistant to Admiral Commanding Coastguard and Reserves.

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

16 May 1913:            C in C, Greek Navy.

xx May 1916:           C in C, Adriatic Sqn.

xx 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 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 23/07/18

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