Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Gerard John Christopher
b: 31 Oct 1907
r: 6 Oct 1958
d: 11 Jan 2003
– 2 Jan 1956, DFC – 3 Oct 1944, CdeG (P) (B) – 24 Jan 1947, CMC
– 2 Aug 1949, FRAeS.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
(RAFO) Plt Off (P): 20 Jun 1927, Plt Off : 20 Jun 1928, Fg Off: 20 Dec 1928,
(RAF) Plt Off: 7 Sep 1929 [7 Sep 1928], Fg Off: 7 Mar 1930, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1934, Sqn Ldr: 1 Apr 1938, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Sep 1940, Act Gp Capt: 20 Oct 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 20 Apr 1945, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1946, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1947, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1954.
Photo - Crown Copyright©
20 Jun 1927: Officer, RAFO (Class AA).
7 Sep 1929:
Relinquished his RAFO Commission on appointment to a Permanent Commission in
xx xxx 1929: U/T Pilot No 1 FTS.
12 Feb 1930: Pilot, No 13 Sqn.
xx xxx 1930: Attended Carrier Flying Course, RAF Base, Leuchars
1 Jan 1931: Pilot, No 446 (Fleet Spotter Reconnaissance) Flight FAA.
1 Oct 1931: Supernumerary - non effective (sick), RAF Depot.
14 Jan 1932: Supernumerary, RAF Base, Gosport.
3 Aug 1932: Aircraft Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.
8 Aug 1934: Engineering Officer, School of Naval Co-operation.
4 Jun 1936: Engineering Officer, HMS Furious.
9 May 1938: Officer Commanding, No 90 Sqn. (Blenheim)
23 Jan 1939: Attended RAF Staff College
xx xxx 1939: Air Staff, HQ AASF
3 Feb 1940: Staff, Assistant Directorate of Repair and Servicing (3).
8 Jul 1940: Air Staff, HQ No 1 Group.
xx Dec 1940: Officer Commanding, No 150 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command
14 Nov 1941: Air Staff, HQ Flying Training Command.
xx xxx xxxx: Directing Staff, Army Staff College.
xx xxx xxxx: Attended Beam Approach Course.
xx xxx 1944: Attended No13 OTU
15 May 1944: Officer Commanding, No 98 Sqn. (Mitchell II/III)
20 Oct 1944: Staff, HQ No 2 Group.
xx xxx 1945: Officer Commanding, No 13 OTU (Harwell/Middle St George)
xx xxx 1946: Air Staff, HQ British Air Forces of Occupation
xx xxx 1948: Member, Joint Services Mission, Washington.
xx xxx 1948: Exchange posting - USAF Air War College.
xx xxx 1949: Air
Staff, Directorate of Intelligence.
Air Staff, Directorate of Intelligence.
xx xxx 1953: Attended Imperial Defence College
xx xxx 1954: Commandant, Central Flying School
4 Feb 1956: SASO, HQ British Forces Arabian Peninsula.
1 Jun 1957: Director of Operational Training.
He attended Cheltenham College and later St John's College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a commission in the RAFO and learnt to fly as a member of the University Air Squadron. Completing his degree in 1929, he was awarded a permanent commission and following his service flying training at Netheravon he was posted to No 13 Squadron at he same location. A year later he was posted to Leuchars in Scotland to train for carrier operations, after which he was posted to No 446 (Fleet Spotter Reconnaissance) Squadron, which was then flying the Fairey IIIF and serving aboard HMS Courageous. In 1932 he began the two year aircraft engineering officers course and when he had qualified he became a engineering officer at the School of Naval Co-operation and then aboard the carrier, HMS Furious.
In 1938, he was given command of No 90 Squadron, equipped with Blenheims but this was a short-lived appointment as at the beginning of 1939, he was posted to the RAF Staff College. With the outbreak of war, his course was cut short and he was posted to the staff of the AASF in France. In early 1940, he returned to the UK to another staff post at the Air Ministry and then in July he joined the staff of No 1 Group of Bomber Command. He returned to an operational role at the end of 1940, when he was given command of No 150 Squadron at Snaith in Yorkshire, equipped with Wellingtons. Leaving 150 in 1941, various staff appointments followed, including serving as a member of the directing staff at the Army Staff College, until in 1944, he was given command of No 98 Squadron equipped with the North American Mitchell light bomber. He led 98 through the preparations for and during the D-Day landings and afterwards until October, when he joined the Air Staff at No 2 Group HQ.
After the war, he returned to the UK and took command of No 13 OTU at Middleton St George and then joined the staff of the British Air Forces of Occupation in Germany, whilst there, he and four others formed the RAF Gliding and Soaring Association, which still exists today. In 1948, he travelled to the USA as a member of the Joint Services Mission to Washington and then he undertook an exchange posting with the USAF in Alabama, before returning to the Air Ministry for three years. Having attended the Imperial Defence College, he was appointed to what he considered 'the best job in the world', Commandant of CFS. Shortly after taking over the post the CFS Helicopter Development Unit was set up resulting in him being able to 'solo' for a second time on 27 January 1955, this time in a helicopter. Later that year (May) he visited the USA and discovered that the USN did not permit U/T helicopter pilots to fly fixed wing aircraft. He left the CFS for the post of AOA in Aden, but he was unhappy with this posting owing to personal problems encountered with the AOC, which led him to take the unusual action of formally censuring him. He returned to the UK in 1957 taking on his final appointment of Director of Operational Training.Following his retirement he became Secretary-General of the Air League until 1971 and from 1969 until 1978 he was President of the Popular Flying Association.
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A L Paxton
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