Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Air Vice-Marshal S W B Menaul (33272)

Stewart William Blackey            b: 17 Jul 1915                       r: 29 Apr 1968                     d: 22 May 1987

CB 8 Jun 1963, CBE - 1 Jan 1957, DFC 22 Aug 1941, AFC 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 1 Jan 1941, MiD - 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 2 Jun 1943, MiD 1 Jan 1945, MiD 1 Jan 1946, Winner - 'Hyde-Thomson' Memorial Prize - 1934

Plt Off: 19 Dec 1936, Fg Off: 19 Jun 1938, Act Flt Lt: 7 Apr 11 May 1939, Flt Lt: 19 Jun 1940, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1941, Act Wg Cdr: 7 Dec 1942?, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1943, Act Gp Capt: 7 May 1943?, Wg Cdr (WS): 7 Nov 1943, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1953, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1959, Act AVM (unpd): 3 May 1961, Act AVM (pd): 21 Jul 1961, AVM: 1 Jan 1963.

xx xxx 1931:            Apprentice, No 2 School of Technical Training, RAF Cranwell.

xx xxx 1935:            Flight Cadet, 'C' Sqn, RAF College.

19 Dec 1936:           Appointed to a Permanent Commission

19 Dec 1936:           Pilot, No 21 Sqn. (Hind)

7 Apr 11 May 1939:            Acting Flight Commander, No 21 Sqn?

xx xxx 1940:             QFI, No ? FTS.

xx xxx 1941:             Flight Commander, No 15 Sqn.

 7 Dec 1942:            Officer Commanding, No XV Sqn.(Wellingtons/Stirlings)

xx May 1943:           Air Staff, HQ No 3 Group.

 5 Jun 1943:              Officer Commanding, RAF Gransden Lodge

23 Aug 1943:            Officer Commanding, RAF Graveley.

 6 Dec 1944:             Officer Commanding, RAF Upwood.

xx Jan 1946:              Attended RAF Staff College.

1947                         ?

xx xxx 1947:             Staff, Directorate of Organisation (Forecasting and Planning).

xx Jan 1950:             Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1951:             Deputy Director of Operations.

xx Nov 1955:            Officer Commanding, Air Element, British Atomic Trials Task Force.

xx Mar 1957:            Officer Commanding, Bomber Command Bombing School/RAF Lindholme.

 1 Apr 1959:             AOA, HQ British Forces Arabian Peninsula.

27 Jul 1961:              SASO, HQ Bomber Command.

 5 Jul 1965:               Commandant, Joint Services Staff College.

Born in Northern Ireland, at Cranwell he represented the RAF College at Athletics, Rugby and attained the rank of Flight Cadet Sergeant.

On returning from a mining operation on 18 December 1942, his Stirling (BF356) suffered an exactor unit failure on the port outer engine and has he came into land, also suffered a power loss.  This resulted in the aircraft overshooting and finishing amongst trees on the airfield boundary, fortunately no-one was injured.  His final wartime posting was as Station Commander at RAF Upwood in which he oversaw the transition from offensive to humanitarian operations.  The aircraft from Upwood, No 156 Squadron, were allocated to the base at Lubeck and later Juvencourt from which they operated on a number of days in May with Group Captain Menaul also being involved in the flights.

In 1955 he was appointed the Air Task Group Commander for the British Atomic Tests at Maralinga in Southern Australia (Operation Buffalo).  He actually flew aboard Valiant WZ366 on 11 October 1956 when it dropped Britain's first atomic bomb.

He became Director-General of the Royal Unites Services Institute from 1968 to 1976.  He was also Defence Consultant to the Institute for Study of Conflict and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis at Cambridge Massachusetts.

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