Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Lloyd (04113)


Hugh Pughe                    b: 12 Dec 1894                     r: 4 Jun 1953                d: 14 Jul 1981

GBE - 1 Jun 1953 (KBE - 31 Jul 1942, CBE - 24 Sep 1941), KCB - 7 Jun 1951 (CB - 1 Jan 1942), MC - 22 Jun 1918, DFC - 8 Feb 1919, MiD - 8 May 1936, CdeG (P&S) (F) - 21 Sep 1918, LoH, O - xx xxx 1944,  LoM (O) - 11 Apr 1944, Hon LL.D  (University of Wales).

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army):- (T) 2 Lt (P): 26 Apr 1917.

(RAF):- Lt: 1 Apr 1918, Act Capt: xx xxx xxxx, Fg Off: 1 Aug 1919, Flt Lt: 30 Jun 1922, Sqn Ldr: 8 Jan 1930, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1936, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1940, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jun 1941, Act AVM: 1 Jun 1941, 14 Apr 1942 [1 Jan 1940], (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1942, A/Cdre: 1 Jun 1943, Act AM: 13 Apr 1945 - 15 Nov 1945, AVM: 1 Jan 1946,  Act AM: 18 Nov 1947, AM: 1 Jan 1948, ACM: 15 May 1951 [1 Apr 1951].

xx Feb 1915:          Sapper, Royal Engineers.

xx xxx xxxx:             Cadet, RFC

26 Apr 1917:           Appointed to a Commission on the General List (RFC)

26 Apr 1917:           U/T Pilot, ?

30 Nov 1917:          Pilot, No 52 Sqn RFC.

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant

15 Dec 1919:          Pilot, No 114 Sqn.

31 Jan 1919:            Pilot, No 28 Sqn.

 1 Feb 1920:            Flight Commander, No 28 Sqn.

21 Oct 1923:           Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 1 Apr 1924:            Flight Commander, No 16 Sqn.

 5 May 1925:           Attended RAF Staff College.

26 Mar 1926:          Air Staff, HQ No 23 Group.

 1 Jan 1930:            CFI, No 2 FTS.

24 Jan 1931:           Attended Army Staff College, Quetta.

 2 Jan 1933:            Staff, HQ No 1 (Indian) Group.

29 Jul 1936:            RAF Instructor, Army Staff College - Camberley.

 2 Jan 1939:            Officer Commanding, No 9 Sqn.

xx xxx 1939 :           Officer Commanding, RAF Marham.

xx Nov 1939:            Staff Officer, HQ No 3 Group.

20 May 1940:          Senior Air Staff Officer, HQ No 2 Group.

 1 Dec 1940 - 1 Jun 1941:           Appointed ADC to the King.

 1 Jun 1941:             AOC, RAF Mediterranean/AHQ Malta.

xx Jul 1942:              AOC, No 201 (Naval Co-operation) Gruop.

15 Jul 1942:             Senior Air Staff Officer. HQ Middle East Command.

14 Mar 1943:           AOC, North-West African Coastal Air Force.

10 Dec 1943:           AOC, Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air Force.

xx xxx 1944:            AOC, Planning Staff - Very Long Range Bombing Force

24 Feb 1945:           Commander, Commonwealth Bomber Force ('Tiger Force').

15 Dec 1945:           Senior RAF Instructor, Imperial Defence College.

18 Nov 1947:          AOC in C, Air Command Far East.

 1 Jun 1949:             AOC in C, Far East Air Force.

 2 Feb 1950:            AOC in C, Bomber Command.

Hugh Pughe was not an officer to 'abide by the book' and this was particularly true and proved extremely successful during his tenure as AOC, Malta.  Here he adopted the expedient of 'high-jacking' aircraft and crews as they passed through on their way to the Middle and Far East.   He seemed to have an eye for selecting the right people, one particular instance was a Sergeant pilot and his crew in transit to the Far East via Egypt.  This Sergeant pilot was eventually commissioned by Hugh Lloyd and rose to become Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom.  Hugh Pughe was a great believer in improvisation and would support his subordinates to the hilt.  However, had it not been for the First World War, he may well have become a lawyer having begun to study law at Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1913.  Foregoing his studies he joined the Royal Engineers immediately after the outbreak of war and served for the next three years as a dispatch rider being wounded three times.  Deciding to join the RFC, he was accepted and commissioned in 1917 and following flying training he was posted to No 52 Squadron in France flying RE8's on army co-operation duties.

Having been granted a permanent commission as a Flight Lieutenant, he was posted to India as a flight commander with No 28 Squadron equipped with Bristol F2B's and based at Ambala, Kohat and eventually Peshawar. On his return to Britain he resumed his duties as a flight commander, this time with No 16 Squadron but again flying the trusty F2B this time at Old Sarum in Wiltshire.  Completing the course at the RAF Staff College introduced him to staff work with No 23 Group, responsible for flying training, which itself prepared him for his next post as Chief Flying Instructor at No 2 FTS.  Five years in India followed with the first two being given up to attendance at the Staff College at Quetta with the remaining three on the staff of No 1 (Indian) Group.   Returning to Britain he joined the directing staff of the Army Staff College at Camberley, after which he returned to operational flying as CO of No 9 Squadron.  Equipped with Wellingtons, he led the squadron on many of its early raids which at the stage of the war consisted of attacks against German naval targets in daylight.  It was as a result of these early raids that the vulnerability of the contemporary) bombers led to an eventual shift to night bombing.

Promoted to Group Capt, he left No 9 and assumed command of RAF Marham, but was soon appointed to the staff of No 3 Group.  Again his stay at 3 Group was short-lived when he was posted as SASO to No 2 Group. He planned and organised the group's low level daylight operations against both land and sea objectives.  This experience was just what was needed for his next appointment, that of AOC, Malta.  Here he attempted, successfully, to disrupt the Axis lines of communication across the Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa.  As a result the Germans and Italians did everything in their power to wipe out the island and particularly the forces based there.  It was under these conditions that Lloyd was forced to adopt his 'cavalier' approach to acquiring reinforcements and replacements.  At one point he was considered for the post of Governor, but it was felt that conduct of air operations was enough for one man to cope with.  When Malta became untenable for operating bombers and the overriding requirement was air defence it was felt that an AOC with the relevant experience be appointed and so it was that in 1942 he was succeeded by AVM Keith Park and he moved to Egypt as SASO at Middle East HQ.  In February 1943, changes in the organisation of forces in the Middle East and Mediterranean brought an inter-Allied command structure.  With his past experience, he was seen as a suitable candidate to command the bomber group, but by then he had developed an interest in coastal operations and so it was that he was appointed AOC of the newly formed North West African Coastal Air Forces.

Remaining in command of these forces until late 1944 the formation underwent a number of title changes until they became Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air Forces.  With the end of the war in Europe in sight, plans were beginning to be formulated for the transfer of forces to the Pacific and South East Asian areas in order to increase the pressure on the Japanese.  Amongst these plans was the setting up of a Commonwealth Bombing Force, eventually to be equipped with new Avro Lincoln, known as 'Tiger Force'.  Lloyd was brought back from the Mediterranean to take command of this force and had starting planning and preparing equipment, which would include in-flight refueling when the Atomic Bomb was dropped negating the plans.  Instead of traveling to the Far East he merely moved to the Imperial Defence College, where his vast practical experience gained so recently was able to be utilised as the Senior RAF Instructor at the College.

However, almost two years later he did travel to the Far East when he was appointed AOC, Air Command Far East.  He was a representative of the RAF at the funeral of King George VI.  During his tenure the command was renamed Far East Air Force, a title it retained until final disbandment in 1971, although Lloyd only remained in command for a further five months.  Returning to the UK, he then began his final appointment in the RAF, as the head of Bomber Command.    Following his retirement from the RAF Sir Hugh set up a pig farm at Peterley, near Great Missenden, which he ran with the same dedication he had commanded his RAF units resulting in a highly efficient farm.

Citation for the award of the Military Cross

"T./2nd Lt. Hugh Pughe Lloyd, Gen. List and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an offensive patrol he dropped bombs on motor transport, one lorry being completely destroyed and others damaged.  Enemy troops advancing to the attack were then engaged with machine gun fire, which inflicted numerous casualties on them.  Later, he bombed an enemy battery coming into action, the horses of which bolted, a great number of the gun detachments being killed. He has on all occasions shown the greatest pluck and determination in carrying out any task allotted to him."

(London Gazette - 22 June 1918)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Lieut. (A./Capt.) Hugh Pughe Lloyd, M.C. (FRANCE)

This officer has rendered signal service on many occasions, notably on 1st November, when, noticing four hostile batteries harassing our advancing infantry, he, by sending calls to our artillery, succeeded in silencing them. During this flight lie was continuously attacked -by hostile formations, which he succeeded in driving off; despite this opposition he carried out a low reconnaissance, obtaining most valuable information as to the position of our advanced troops.

(M.C. gazetted 22nd June, 1918.)"

(London Gazette - 8 February 1919)

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