Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Home Page

Main Menu

Quick Menu

Members' Area

What New?

About this site


Help Needed?



Sign Guest Book

View Guest Book

Link to Amazon

Online Store

Contact Me

Air Marshal Sir Ronald Lees (29257)

Ronald Beresford                    b: 27 Apr 1910                 r: 3 Feb 1966               d: 18 May 1991

KCB - 10 Jun 1961 (CB - 1 Jan 1946), CBE - 2 Jun 1943, DFC - 22 Oct 1940, Bar - 26 Dec 1941, MiD - 24 Sep 1941, MiD - 1 Jun 1944, MiD - 1 Jan 1945, LoM (Cdr) - 1 Jan 1946.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off: 18 Mar 1931, Fg Off: 13 Oct 1931, Flt Lt: 13 Oct 1935, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1938, Act Wg Cdr: 22 Jul - 23 Sep 1940; 30 Sep 1940, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1940, Act Gp Capt: 16 Sep 1941,  Wg Cdr (WS): 16 Mar 1942, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1943, Act A/Cdre: 12 Oct 1944?, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1947, Act A/Cdre: 8 Sep 1952?, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1953, Act AVM: 1 Sep 1953, AVM: 1 Jul 1955, Act AM: 18 Jul 1960, AM: 1 Jan 1961.

18 Mar 1931:            Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot

27 Mar 1931:            Pilot, No 29 Sqn.

xx Dec 1934 - xx Mar 1935:      Attended Flying Instructor's Course, Central Flying School (graded B) 

10 May 1935:           QFI, No 4 FTS

xx Jul 1936:               Re-categorised from Instructor B to Instructor A2

8 Dec 1938:              Supernumerary, No 72 Sqn.

14 Dec 1938:            Officer Commanding, No 72 Sqn.

23 Apr - 5 May 1940:            Officer Commanding (Temporary), RAF Usworth

25 Jul 1940:              Air Staff - Operations and Training, HQ No 13 Group

 2 Sep 1940:             Supernumerary (Temporary OC), No 72 Sqn

 9 Jan 1941:              Officer Commanding, RAF Coltishall.

14 Sep 1942:             Officer Commanding, No 324 Wing.

 3  Feb 1943:            Sector Commander, Eastern Air Command

19 Feb 1943:            Officer Commanding, No 324 Wing, Eastern Air Command

 1 Mar 1943:             SASO, No 242 Group - Algiers.

26 May 1943:           Group Captain - Operations, HQ North-West African Tactical Air Force

26 Aug 1943:            Appointed Air ADC to The King

12 Oct 1944:             Air Staff, Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force.

 7 Jun 1945:               SASO, HQ Desert Air Force

 1 Jan 1946:               Officer Commanding, RAF Bassingbourn.

xx xxx xxxx:               Appointed Additional Air ADC to the King

23 Aug 1948:             Air Staff, HQ Fighter Command

26 Apr 1949:            Title of appointment changed to ADC to The King

xx xxx xxxx:               Commander, Metropolitan Sector, Fighter Command.

 8 Sep 1952:              AOC, No 83 Group.  

10 Jun 1952:              Appointed ADC to The Queen. (effective from 6 Feb 1952)

1 Jan 1953:                 Relinquished appointment as ADC to The Queen.

24 Aug 1955:             Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations).

 6 Oct 1958:               SASO, HQ Fighter Command.  

AVM Lees pictured with his son Flight Lieutenant Lees in front of a Hunter T Mk 7

AVM R B Lees pictured with his son Flight Lieutenant R A Lees in front of a Hunter T Mk 7

©Lees Family Trust

18 Jul 1960:                Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.

25 Jun 1963:               C in C, RAF Germany/Commander 2nd ATAF

Australian by birth, Sir Ronald attended St Peter's College in Adelaide joining the RAAF in 1930.  However like many other members of the RAAF at the time, he was transferred to the RAF in 1931.  

Although he handed over command of 72 Squadron in July 1940 on promotion to Wing Commander, he returned to fly with the unit whilst on leave in September 1940.  The following excerpt is taken from the diary of a fellow pilot, R Deacon-Elliott: -

"Wing Commander Lees was there - for a short while, any way. Several of us were released for the day but from my diary and my memory I recall how hectic it had been for those operating from Hawkinge. The C.O., Squadron Leader Collins, was shot down for the second time and unfortunately this time badly wounded in his knee and hand - he never returned to the Squadron and F/Lt. Ted Graham assumed command. Wing Commander Lees was shot down early in the day's fighting, crash landed on Hawkinge and it was only with great difficulty he was released from the cockpit. It appeared a cannon shell struck his canopy frame "welding" it to the frame of the windscreen.  Later when attacking a gaggle of ME 110's he was shot down again. This time being well and truly hit, both his aircraft and he himself in the thigh which led to a spell in hospital. This was bad luck - all of us including the "troops" were very disappointed as we had hoped he would be with us for a whole week. F/Sgt. Norfolk was shot down and as he crash landed his aircraft burst into flames but he escaped unhurt. F/Lt. Ted Graham was also shot down, his aircraft riddled with lead he crash landed at Lympe. Our claims for that day totalled eighteen in all for the losses already described.

The weather continued to be brilliant sunshine - still no clouds - as the Squadron returned to Croydon in the evening." (Courtesy No 72 Squadron, RAF Linton-on-Ouse).

Whilst leading his wing into Bone airfield during the 'Torch' operations, he managed to shoot down a Bf109.

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Acting Group Captain Ronald Beresford Lees D.F.C.

Group Captain Lees is a tireless officer, possessing great energy.  He has led the squadrons of his section in sweeps over France, has taken part in all sweeps at long distances out to sea and has set a magnificent example to younger offers by his courage and resource.  He had only one desire - to get to close grips with the enemy."

(The Times - 24 December 1941)

Citation for the award of the Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander (United States)

LEES, Ronald Beresford, A/C, CB, CBE, DFC (29257, Royal Air Force)

"Group Captain Ronald B. Lees, CBE, DFC, Royal Air Force, performed outstanding services in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations from June 18, 1943 to June 22, 1944.  As Assistant Chief of Staff A-5, Plans, Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force, Group Captain Lees was largely responsible for the detailed planning of the major tactical air operations in the Italian campaigns.  His superior tactical knowledge and planning ability made their mark upon every phase of the campaign from the Salerno invasion to the capture of Rome, and his keen judgement and untiring research contributed eminently to the air support of the Allied Armies in Italy.  Group Captain Leesí remarkable foresight, dedication to duty, and spirit reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the Allied Nations."

(Source - A War Department Press Release (intended for release on 24 November 1945), found in National Archives of Canada, file HQ-C-54-27-94-32, Record Group 24, Volume 2236)

This page was last updated on 09/01/24©

Return to A Lees A Lees                                        [Top of Page]                                                  R J Legg Forward to R J Legg