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Air Vice-Marshal A H Orlebar


Augustus Henry                   b: 17 Feb 1897                                                    d: 4 Aug 1943

AFC - 2 Jan 1922, Bar - 3 Jun 1930, MiD - 24 Sep 1941.

(Army): - 2 Lt:  15 Jan 1915, (T) Lt: 21 Sep 1915, Lt: 21 Oct 1916 [1 Jun 1916], (T) Capt: 20 Dec 1917.

(RAF): - Lt: 1 Apr 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1928, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1932, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1937, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Feb 1940, Act AVM: 22 Jul 1941- 1 Jan 1943, A/Cdre (WS): 22 Jul 1942, A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1942 [22 Jul 1942], Act AVM: 1 Mar 1943 - 21 Jun 1943.

15 Jan 1915:           Officer, 1st/5th Bedfordshire Regiment (Gallipoli)

xx xxx 1916:            U/T Pilot.

17 Sep 1916:           Flying Officer, RFC.

xx xxx 1916:            Pilot, No 19 Sqn RFC. (BE12, Spad VII – Western Front)

xx xxx 1917:            Pilot, No 44 Sqn RFC. (Camel – Hainault Farm)

19 Aug 1917:           Precedence backdated to 1 Jun 1916.

20 Dec 1917:           Flight Commander, No 73 Sqn RFC. (Camel – Western Front)

xx xxx 1918:            Instructor

xx Aug 1918:           Flight Commander, No 43 Sqn. (Camel, Snipe – Western Front)

 1 Jul 1919:              Pilot, Aeroplane Experimental Station, Martlesham Heath. (renamed A.E.E - 16 Mar 1920)

 1 Aug 1919:            Relinquishes his commission in the Bedfordshire Regiment (retaining rank of Lieutenant) 

28 Oct 1919:           Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (effective from 1 Aug)

16 Mar 1920:          Pilot, Aeroplane Experimental Establishment (Home)

24 Jul 1923:             Flight Commander, No 22 Sqn. (Trials aircraft – Martlesham Heath)

 4 May 1925:           Attended RAF Staff College.

12 Apr 1926:           Staff, HQ No 22 Group.

21 Sep 1926:           Supernumerary - awaiting disposal, HQ Iraq Command.

 3 Sep 1927:            Staff, Deputy Directorate of Staff Duties.

 9 Jan 1929:             Test Pilot, M.A.E.E.

 2 Dec 1929:            Officer Commanding, Flying Boat Development Flight.

11 May 1931:          Officer Commanding, RAF High Speed Flight.  

Photograph of the RAF High Speed Flight.  A H Orlebar is 4th from the right.  Also on the photo is J N Boothman (2nd from the right) and F W Long (3rd from the left).

 2 Jan 1932:             Staff, HQ No 1 Air Defence Group.

22 Sep 1933:           SASO, HQ Aden Command.

 1 May 1936:           Staff, Directorate of Staff Duties.

12 Jan 1937:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

20 Dec 1937:           Officer Commanding, RAF Northolt.

15 Oct 1939:           Duty Air Commodore, HQ Fighter Command

29 Jul 1940:             Director of Flying Training.

15 Oct 1940:           Air Staff, HQ Fighter Command. 

22 Jul 1941:             AOC, No 10 (Fighter) Group.

 4 Nov 1942:

 2 Mar 1943:            Deputy Chief of Combined Operations.

Educated at Rugby, he was credited with two enemy aircraft destroyed whilst serving with No 19 and a further four as a flight commander in No 73 Squadron, before being wounded and returned home again.  He gained his final victory with 43 on 29 September bringing his total to seven.  In 1931 he was appointed CO of the RAF High Speed Flight for that year’s Schneider Trophy contest which saw the coveted prize won outright for Britain.  On 12 September 1929, he established a World Air Speed Record of 357.7 mph.

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