Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Air Chief Marshal Sir George Pirie


Air Chief Marshal Sir George PirieGeorge Clark              

b: 28 Jul 1896                       r: 15 Oct 1951                     d: 21 Jan 1980

KCB - 7 Jun 1951 (CB - 1 Jan 1943), KBE - 1 Jan 1946 (CBE - 1 Jan 1942), MC - 25 Aug 1917, DFC - 28 Oct 1921, MiD - 11 Jun 1942, LL.D. 

1st Prize, 'Gordon-Shepherd' Competition – 1928, 2nd Prize, 'Gordon-Shepherd' Competition – 1933.

(Army): - 2 Lt (P): 19 Sep 1914, 2 Lt: 16 Mar 1915, Lt: 6 Jul 1916, Capt: 1 Apr 1916, (T) Maj: 25 Mar 1918.

(RAF): - Capt: 1 Apr 1918, Act Maj: 1 May 1919, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Act Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919?, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1925, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1932, Act  Gp Capt: 1 Feb 1937, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1937, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1940, Act AVM: 14 Aug 1941, (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1941, A/Cdre: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Jul 1940], AVM: 15 Jul 1942, (T) AM: 1 Jan 1946, Act AM: 9 Jun 1945, (T) AM: 1 Jan 1946, AM: 1 Apr 1946, ACM: 1 Mar 1949.

©Photo courtesy - Wg Cdr C G Jefford MBE, BA, RAF (Rtd)

19 Sep 1914:          Officer, 3rd Battalion, The Cameronian (Scottish Rifles)

16 Mar 1916:          U/T Observer, No 2 Sqn RFC.

28 Apr 1916:          Observer, No 2 Sqn RFC.

 4 May 1916:          Flying Officer (Observer), RFC.

 1 Sep 1916:           Flying Officer, RFC (seniority from 4 May 1916)

25 Sep 1916:          Transferred to Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) from General List in the rank of Temporary 2nd Lieutenant. (seconded to RFC?)

12 Apr 1917:          Flight Commander, No 34 Sqn RFC. (RE8 – Italy)

25 Mar 1918:          Squadron Commander, RFC.  

 9 Jul 1918:             Officer Commanding, No 6 Sqn (RE8 – Western Front)

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain  

18 Jun 1920?:          Awaiting disposal, HQ Mesopotamian Wing.

 1 May 1921:           Staff, Inspector of Recruiting.

12 Oct 1921:            Supernumerary (non-effective), RAF Depot.

10 Mar 1922:          Attended School of Army Co-operation.

17 May 1922:          Flight Commander, No 4 Sqn.

 1 Sep 1922:            Air Staff duties, HQ Inland Area.

 5 May 1924:           Attended RAF Staff College.

27 Apr 1925:           Air Staff, Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.

13 Dec 1926:           Attended Imperial Defence College.

 6 Jan 1928:             Air Staff - Intelligence, HQ Iraq Command.

 9 Mar 1929:            Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

21 May 1929:          Officer Commanding, No 10 Sqn. (Hinaidi – Upper Heyford)

 1 Jan 1930:             Directing Staff, RAF Staff College.

  2 Jun 1933:            Officer Commanding, RAF Tangmere.

 1 Sep 1936:            Deputy Director of Operations.

18 Oct 1937:           Air Attaché, Washington  

14 Aug 1941:           AOC, RAF in Northern Ireland

20 Sep 1941:           AOA, HQ Middle East Command.

10 Apr 1943:           Director of War Organisation.

xx Jul 1943:              Director-General of Organisation.

 1 Jul 1945:              Deputy Air C in C, Air Command South East Asia

30 Apr 1946:           AOC in C, Air Command South East Asia

30 Nov 1946:          AOC in C, Air Command Far East

 1 Jan 1948:             Inspector-General of the RAF.

 1 Sep 1948:            Air Member for Supply and Organisation

 8 Mar 1950:           Head of RAF Staff, British Joint Services Mission – Washington

Educated at Fettes College, and St Andrew's University, he volunteered for service almost immediately after the outbreak of war.

Following the murder of a British officer by an Iraqi Sheikh he was approached by an Army officer with a request that he send a pilot to kill the Sheikh.  It became obvious that this particular officer had a somewhat over-rated view of air power when he advised Pirie,

   "The pilot can't mistake him (the Sheikh), for he is riding a dappled grey pony and his attendants are mounted on ordinary grey ones".   

Retiring at his own request he was Chairman of the Air League of the British Empire from 1955 to 1958.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Flight Lieutenant George Clark Pirie, M.C., R.A.F.

For great gallantry and good work, especially during operations in the relief of Diwaniyah and during our retirement to Hillah. This officer showed remarkable ability in quick initiative when leading his flight during 'operations."

(London Gazette - 28 October 1921)

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