Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Air Commodore Sir Dennis Mitchell (33373)


(Arthur) Dennis                        b: 26 May 1918                      r: 14 Mar 1962                       d: 25 Dec 2001

KBE - 11 Jun 1977, CVO - 1 Jan 1961, DFC – 14 Jul 1944, Bar – 2 Oct 1945, AFC – 1 Jan 1944, CdeG – xx xxx 1946

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off: 30 Jul 1938, Fg Off (WS): 27 Feb 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 27 Feb 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Mar 1942, Sqn Ldr: 20 Nov 1942 [1 Mar 1942], Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 19xx, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1950, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1956, (H) A/Cdre: 14 Mar 1962.

xx xxx 1936:             Flight Cadet, 'A' Sqn, RAF College.

30 Jul 1938:              U/T, School of Army Co-operation.

28 Dec 1938:            Pilot, No 20 Sqn (India)

xx xxx xxxx:              Pilot, No 146 Squadron (Burma)

xx Mar 1942:           Officer Commanding, Test and Dispatch Flight,  No 1 Aircraft Depot.

xx xxx xxxx:              Instructor, Mitchell Training Unit

xx xxx 1944:             Flight Commander, No 226 Sqn

xx Jun 1944:             Officer Commanding, No 226 Sqn. (Mitchells)

21 Mar 1946:           Air Staff, HQ No 2 Group? .

xx Feb 1945:             Wing Commander Flying, No 139 Wing.

xx xxx xxxx               Attended Jet Conversion Course, RAF Flying College, Manby

xx Nov 1948:           Officer Commanding, No 226 Sqn. (Meteor)

xx xxx 1948:             Member, RAF Delegation, Belgium.

xx xxx 1951:             Exchange Posting to USAF.

25 Jul 1952:              Staff, Plans and Inspection Division, HQ Allied Air Forces Central Europe.

 6 Nov 1956:            Deputy Captain of the Queen's Flight.

18 Dec 1959:           Officer Commanding, RAF Cottesmore.

 9 Jun 1959 – 12 Jun 1962:     ADC to The Queen.

14 Mar 1962:           Captain of the Queen's Flight.

20 Nov 1962:           Extra Equerry to HM The Queen.

31 Jul 1964:              Relinquished his appointment as Captain of the Queen's Flight.

Born in Northern Ireland, he was educated at the Nautical College, Pangbourne prior to entering the RAF College at Cranwell.  As CO of the T&D Flight, he was responsible for the test and delivery of aircraft following assembly or repair by No 320 MU at RAF Drigh Road, Karachi. 

Returning to the UK he was posted as an instructor on the North American Mitchell light bomber, however, with a lack of training manuals, he was forced to train himself in he art of flying the new type.   He returned to operations in 1944 having been awarded the AFC for his work as an instructor and shortly before D-Day he was appointed squadron commander of No 226 Squadron, being awarded a DFC and Bar for his work with the squadron.  Following staff tours at HQ No 2 Group and HQ No 139 Wing, he returned to command No 226 Squadron, having completed a conversion course onto Meteors in the meantime.

His next posting was as a member of the RAF Delegation in Belgium, tasked with assisting in the reformation of the Belgian Air Force.  It was here he met and married Comtesse Mireille Caroline Cornet de Ways Ruart.  During his secondment to the US Air Force at Langley, Virginia, in 1951 he took part in the Korean conflict, although he led his wife to believe he was actually in Florida.  He returned to the US very quickly after she discovered his subterfuge.

In 1956 he became Deputy Captain of the Queen’s Flight, a newly created post and during his time in the post he assisted in the introduction of the De Havilland Heron to replace the aging Vikings.  He was also responsible for the Flight acquiring and operating its own helicopters.  After a brief spell commanding the bomber station at RAF Cottesmore, he returned to the Queen’s Flight as the new Captain in 1962.  However, this post was actually one on the staff of the Queen’s household so he retired from the RAF to take up the post.  But his wife’s wish to return to Belgium, led him to retire from the post in 1964 and settle in Belgium, where he founded Brussels Airways, Aero Distributors SA and Aero Systems SA, becoming Managing Director of the later.  From 1959 to 1962 he was an ADC to the Queen and from 1964 to 1994, an Extra Equerry to the Queen.

 Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 “Acting Wing Commander Arthur Dennis MITCHELL, A.F.C. (33373), R.A.F., 226 Sqn.

 Flying Officer Douglas Gerald FARQUHAR (139615), R.A.F.V.R., 226 Sqn.

These officers were pilot and navigator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in 'Normandy recently.  When approaching the target, their aircraft was heavily attacked by anti-aircraft fire but despite this a successful attack was made.  The excellent results achieved were due mainly to the fine leadership of Wing Commander 'Mitchell and the navigational skill and bombing accuracy of Flying Officer Farquhar.  Their courage and determination in the face of heavy enemy opposition were most praiseworthy.”

(London Gazette – 14 July 1944)

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