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Air Chief Marshal Sir Douglas Lowe (138661)


Douglas Charles                      b: 14 Mar 1922                       r: 22 Aug 1983                       d: 25 Jan 2018

GCB 11 Jun 1977 (KCB 15 Jun 1974, CB 12 Jun 1971), DFC  - 9 Jul 1943, AFC 13 Jun 1946,  MiD 1 Jan 1945, CRAeS - 1982, CCMI (CBIM 1984).

AC2: xx xxx1940, LAC: xx xxx xxxx, Sgt: xx xxx1940, Plt Off: 4 Jan 1943, Fg Off (WS): xx Jul 1943?, Flt Lt (WS): 1 Jan 1945, Flt Lt: 4 Jul 1946, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1952, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1958, Gp Capt: 1  Jul 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1966, Act AVM: 14 Nov 1969, AVM: 1 Jan 1970, Act AM: 3 Mar 1973, AM: 1 Jul 1973, ACM: 3 Nov 1975.

xx xxx 1940:        U/T Pilot

xx xxx xxxx:         Sergeant Pilot,

1943:                   Pilot, No 75 (NZ) Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:         Instructor, No 26 OTU

xx xxx 1945:        Senior Instructor, Bomber Command Instructor's School.

xx xxx 1947:        QFI, RAF College - Cranwell.

xx xxx 1950:        Examining Officer, Examining Wing - CFS.

12 Apr 1955:        Air Staff, Directorate of Operational Requirements (A).

xx xxx xxxx           Attended Valiant Conversion Course, No 232 OCU

xx xxx 1957:        Officer Commanding, No 148 Sqn. (Valiant B1)

13 Apr 1959:        Officer Commanding, Flying Wing, RAF Marham.

12 Oct 1961:        Exchange posting, HQ Strategic Air Command - USAF.

16 Nov 1963:       Officer Commanding, RAF Cranwell

xx xxx 1966:         Attended Imperial Defence College.

27 Mar 1967:       Director of Operational Requirements (2)

14 Nov 1969:       SASO, HQ Near East Air Force

15 May 1971:       Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operational Requirements)

 3 Mar 1973:         AOC, No 18 Group/Commander Maritime Air Eastern Atlantic Area & Commander Maritime Air Channel Command

 8 Nov 1975:        Controller Aircraft, MOD (PE).

11 Feb 1978 22 Aug 1983:  Air ADC to the Queen.

xx Sep 1982:        Chief of Defence Procurement.

Douglas Lowe joined the RAF in 1940 after leaving Reading School and became a Sergeant Pilot on bombers after completing his flying training.   He was commissioned in 1943, by which time he was flying Wellingtons with No 75 (New Zealand) Squadron based at Newmarket and later Mepal.  On 17 April 1943, his aircraft was hit by flak over Mannheim and on return to base, he discovered that the throttles would not work.  As a result the Stirling (BK664, AA-M) collided with a partially completed building and was damaged beyond repair, although no-one was seriously injured.

In 1959, he took command of one the RAF V-Bomber units, No 148 Squadron, based at Marham in Norfolk flying the Vickers Valiant.

Since retiring from the RAF he has held a number of executive posts in commerce and industry, including Chairman of Mercury Communications Ltd. (1984 - 85) and Directorships with Band III Holdings (1986 - 91) and Rolls Royce (1984 - 92).

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"LOWE, Douglas Charles, A/F/L (138661, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) - No 75 (New Zealand) Squadron

Flight Lieutenant Lowe has proved to be an outstanding captain of aircraft throughout many operational missions over such heavily defended targets as Hamburg, Essen and Berlin.  From these sorties he has frequently brought back photographs of the target area.  This officer completed 13 flights of long duration in a period of 13 days this spring.  On more than one occasion he has successfully evaded attacks by enemy night fighters.  He has also brought his aircraft back to base when almost disabled by anti-aircraft fire.  His splendid work has been an inspiration to the squadron."

"citation drafted when he had flown 24 sorties (150 hours).

(Source: Air 2/8964)

Recommendation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"LOWE, Douglas Charles, F/L, DFC (138661, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) - Bomber Command Instructors School

This officer has been on the staff of the Bomber Command Instructors School for the past nine months.  He has proved to be not only an outstanding instructor in the air but, in addition, a first class lecturer with an excellent knowledge of his subject.  Flight Lieutenant Lowe's patience, unfailing energy and devotion to duty have gained for him the full confidence of his pupils and have added in a large measure to the high morale and enthusiasm in the Station."

Recommendation drafted when he had flown 1,448 hours (815 on current duties, 96 in previous six months).

(Source: Air 2/9670)

This page was last updated on 31/01/23

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