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Air Vice-Marshal W A McClaughry

W A McClaughry - 1916Wilfred Ashton             b: 26 Nov 1894                                                        d: 4  Jan 1943

CB - 1 Jan 1942, DSO - 8 Feb1919, MC - 18 Jul 1917, DFC - 2 Nov 1918, MiD - 28 Jan 1917, MiD - 16 Mar 1919, MiD - 11 Jul 1919,   1st Prize, "Gordon-Shephard" Essay Comp - 1929

(Army): - 2 Lt: 24 Sep 1913, Lt: 1 Jul 1915, (T) Capt: 1 Oct 1916, Capt: 23 Jun 1917, (T) Maj: 26 Oct 1917

(RAF): - Capt: 1 Apr 1918, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1929, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1934, Act A/Cdre(unpd): 7 Jul 1936, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1938, (T) AVM: 23 Sep 1940 [1 Jul 1940].

24 Sep 1913:         Officer, 76th Infantry Battalion, Australian Militia Forces

15 Jan 1915:          Officer, 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. (Egypt, Gallipoli)

 1 Feb 1916:           Supernumerary, Australian Militia Forces.

25 Mar 1916:           Attended No 1 School of Aeronautics

26 Apr 1916:           U/T Pilot, No 3 Reserve Sqn, Shoreham.

20 May 1916:          U/T Pilot, No 20 Reserve Sqn

21 Jun 1916:            Appointed Flying Officer, RFC.

21 Jun 1916:            Pilot, No 50 Sqn RFC. (BE2c, BE12 – Dover)

14 Feb 1917:           Pilot, No 100 Sqn, RFC

29 Jun 1917:            Pilot, No 68 (No 2 AFC) Sqn, RFC (Harlaxton)

26 Jul 1917:             Pilot, No 69 (No 3 AFC) Sqn

10 Aug 1917:           Pilot, No 68 (No 2 AFC) Sqn, RFC (Harlaxton/France)

 1 Oct 1917:            Flight Commander, No 68 (No 2 AFC) Sqn, RFC (France

26 Oct 1917:           Officer Commanding, No 71 (No 4 AFC) Sqn RFC.

19 Jan 1918:            Officer Commanding, No 4 Sqn AFC.

 1 Oct 1918:            Appointed to 2/43rd Infantry Battalion (New Organisation) Australian Militia Forces.

 4 Dec 1918:            Staff, HQ, 1st (AFC) Wing.

 6 Dec 1918:            Officer Commanding,  8th (AFC) Training Sqn

27 Feb 1919:           Officer Commanding, No 2 School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping, Andover

 1 Aug 1919:            Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major (gazetted 22 Aug 1919)

xx Sep 1919:           Officer Commanding, School of Air Pilotage

30 Sep 1919:            Resigned his commission in the Australian Imperial Forces.

23 Dec 1919:           Officer Commanding, Air Pilotage School

3 Apr 1922:              Attended RAF Staff College.  

 4 Apr 1923:            Air Staff, HQ No 5 Wing.

23 Apr 1923:           Air Staff, HQ Inland Area.

18 Sep 1924:           Officer Commanding, No 8 Sqn. (DH9A – Hinaidi/Aden)

22 Feb 1928:            Staff Officer, HQ Wessex Bombing Area.

12 Jan 1931:             Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

19 Jan 1931:             Attended Imperial Defence College.

 1 Jan 1932:             Air Staff,. Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.

29 Sep 1934:           Officer Commanding, RAF Heliopolis.

18 Oct 1935:           Officer Commanding, Mersa Matruh.

10 Jun 1936:             Supernumerary, HQ RAF Middle East.

 1 Jul 1936:              AOC, British Forces in Aden.

28 Nov 1938:          Director of Training.

xx xxx xxxx:             Supernumerary, No 1 RAF Depot

24 Aug 1940:           Attached, HQ No 12 (Fighter) Group.

19 Sep 1940:           AOC, No 9 (Fighter) Group.

 8 Jul 1942:              AOC, AHQ Egypt.

An Australian originally named Kingston-McClaughry, he was the elder of two brothers, both destined to become AVM’s, he dropped the "Kingston" from his surname in order to avoid confusion with his brother?.  Born in Adelaide, he was educated at the Adelaide School of Mines.  He was awarded RAeC Certificate No 2368 on 1 February 1916.  However, his career and life was brought to a premature end when he was killed at Cairo in the aircraft accident which also killed Lady Tedder (ACM Sir Arthur Tedder’s first wife).  

He was to have taken over as AOC British Forces in Aden in September 1935, but for some reason this was cancelled resulting in A/Cdre Portal staying on until 10 December 1935 when he was replaced by A/Cdre Leslie Gossage.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

Major Wilfred Ashton McClaughry, M.C. (Australian F.C.).

The squadron commanded by this officer has been remarkably active and successful in attacks at low altitudes on trains, transports, billets and low-flying machines; this success is largely due to his inspiring personality, fine leadership, and the boldness in attack he invariably displays.  One evening he bombed a train, which was compelled to stop; he then attacked it with machine-gun fire at 200 ft. altitude.  Afterwards he engaged a two-seater machine, which unfortunately escaped owing to failures in both his machine guns.  Having remedied these, he attacked a party of infantry, which he dispersed, several casualties being noted.

(M.C. gazetted 18th July,1917.)

(London Gazette – 2 November 1918)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

McCLAUGHRY, Wilfred Ashton, Major, MC, DFC, Australian Flying Corps - No.4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps - awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 February 1919.

 "The record of this officer's squadron, when equipped with Sopwith Camels, was unique, not only in the number of aircraft destroyed with almost insignificant loss to ourselves, but also in the persistence with which they carried out innumerable raids at the lowest altitude.  The high morale and individual enterprise of the members of this squadron must be largely attributed to the personality and influence of their leader, Major McClaughry.  When the squadron was rearmed with Sopwith Snipes, the change in type necessitated a complete reversal of their serial experience.  By his careful and untiring leadership he succeeded in so training his squadron that in a series of raids on three successive days they accounted for upwards of 30 hostile aeroplanes."

This page was last updated on 25/11/23©

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