Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Chief Marshal Sir William MacDonald (28045)

Air Chief Marshal Sir William MacDonaldWilliam Lawrence Mary      

b: 11 Aug 1908               r: 11 Aug 1966                        d: 9 Nov 1984

GCB - 12 Jun 1965 (KCB - 1 Jan 1959, CB - 2 Jan 1956), CBE - 1 Jan 1946, DFC - 20 Feb 1940, ADC, MiD - 2 Jun 1943, MiD 1 Jan 1945, L de H, C - xx xxx 194?, CdeG (P) - xx xxx 194?, OEK - xx xxx xxxx.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off (P): 13 Apr 1929, Plt Off: 5 Jul 1930, Fg Off: 14 Oct 1930, Flt Lt: 14 Oct 1934, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1938, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Sep 1942, Wg Cdr (WS): 1 Mar 1943, Act A/Cdre: xx xxx 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1944, Gp Capt: 1 Oct 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1952, AVM: 1 Jul 1954, Act AM: 26 Nov 1958, AM: 1 Jan 1960, ACM: 1 Sep 1963.  


Photograph Crown Copyright

 27 Apr 1929:            U/T Pilot, No 3 FTS.

29 Jul 1930:               Pilot, No 19 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:               Attended QFI Course, CFS.

xx Jan 1933:              Granted a Medium Service Commission in the rank of Flying Officer.

14 Mar 1933:           Attended Instructors' Course, CFS (graded B)

10 Jun 1933:             ?

26 Sep 1933:            QFI, No 4 FTS.

xx xxx 1935:             Re-categoried as a Flying Instructor from B to A2

1 Mar 1936:              High Commissioner's Pilot, RAF Ramlah.

 1 Jun 1936:               Granted Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

 1 Oct 1938:              Officer Commanding, No 150 Sqn.

 1 Jul 1940:                Air Staff, HQ No 1 Group.

xx Nov 1943:             Officer Commanding, No 137 Wing.

20 Nov 1944:            AOA, HQ No 84 (Composite) Group. 

xx xxx 1946:               Commandant, Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1948:               Exchange posting with USAF.

xx xxx 1950:               Deputy Director of Plans (Joint Planning Staff).

 1 Apr 1952:               AOC, No 230 Group.

 1 Jun 1952:                AOC, AHQ Singapore.

 8 Sep 1954:               Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence).

26 Nov 1958:             C in C, Middle East Air Force.

16 Aug 1960:             The Administrator, Sovereign Base Areas - Cyprus.

 1 Mar 1961:               C in C, Near East Air Force/Commander, British Forces Near East.

22 Oct 1962:               Air Secretary.  

 6 Apr 1965 - 12 Aug 1966:    Air ADC to The Queen.

An Irishman from County Cork, he was educated at Castlenock College and joined the RAF in 1929 on a Short Service Commission.

During the Battle of France on 30 September 1940, he was flying one of five Battles (9283) of 150 Sqn which were set upon by Bf109's.  All five were either shot down or crashed.  In his case Macdonald was chased at tree top height eventually cartwheeling into a French field, fortunately both he and his crew survived, although both crew members were injured.

He became the first Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas, Cyprus, following the island's independence in 1960.  On 1 March 1961, his command was renamed Near East Air Force at at the same time he assumed command of the newly created British Forces Near East.  During his tenure as C in C, he made a recommendation for the Near Strike Wing to be re-equipped with the proposed TSR2, but it's subsequent cancellation and the decision to base it's successor, the American F111, in the UK, eventually resulted in re-equipment with Vulcans.

Vice-President of the Oratory School

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