Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Charles Frederick Algenon
b: 21 May 1893 r: 31 Dec 1945
d: 22 Apr 1971
Viscount - 1 Jan 1946
(Conferred - 8 Feb 1946), PR1
(Conferred - 8 Feb 1946),Baron - 17 Aug 1945 (Conferred - 12 Oct 1945, KG - 3 Dec 1946, GCB - 11 Jun 1942 (KCB - 11 Jul 1940, CB - 2 Jan 1939), OM - 1 Jan 1946, DSO - 18 Jul 1917, Bar - 26 Jul 1918, MC - 10 Jan 1917, MiD - 19 Oct 1914 (& 9 Dec 1914), MiD - 11 Dec 1917, MiD - 31 Dec 1918, LL.D.
PR1- 15 Jul 1941, SO(GC) - 18 Dec 1942, WL1 - 12 Jan 1943, DSM (US) - 15 Mar 1946, GI-GC - 6 Sep 1946, ON(KGC) - 18 Nov 1947, OL (KGC) - xx xxx 194?, Cwn-P (GC) - 27 Aug 1948, CdeG (P) (B) - 27 Aug 1948, LoH (GC) - xx xxx 194?, CWC - xx xxx 194?, DL (Sussex) - 27 Apr 1951
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
Hon DCL - Oxford (27 Apr 1951), Durham
Hon LLD - Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol
Hon DSc - Reading
- (T) 2 Lt: 26
Sep 1914, (T) Lt: xx xxx xxxx, (T)
Capt: 11 Dec 1915, (T) Maj: 14 Jun 1917.
- (T) Maj [Capt]: 1
Apr 1918, (T) Lt Col: 17 Jun 1918, Lt Col(A): 1 May 1919, Sqn Ldr:
1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Wg Cdr: 1
Jul 1925, Gp
Capt: 1 Jul 1931, A/Cdre: 1 Jan
1935, AVM: 1 Jul 1937, Act
AM: 3 Sep 1939,
(T) AM: 1 Jul 1940, (T) ACM: 25 Oct 1940, ACM: 14 Apr
1942 [26 May 1940], MRAF:
1 Jun 1944.
Photograph (Left) © Crown Copyright
6 Aug 1914: Motor Cycle
Rider, Royal Engineers.
Sep 1914: Motor Cyclist Section, Royal Engineers, (Special Reserve).
Nov 1914: Motor Cyclist Officer, HQ Signal Company, 1st Corps.
5 Jul 1915: U/T Observer, No 3 Sqn RFC
4 Aug 1915:
Observer, No 3 Sqn RFC.
Nov 1915: Appointed
Flying Officer (Observer), RFC.
22 Nov 1915: Appointed Flying Officer (Observer), RFC.
Basic Training, No 5 (Reserve) Sqn.
Mar 1916: Advanced Training, No 8 (Reserve) Sqn.
'Wings' Course, Central Flying School.
27 Apr 1916: Appointed Flying Officer, RFC.
3 May 1916: Pilot, No 60 Sqn. (Morane Bullet, Morane Biplane – Western Front)
Flight Commander, No 3 Sqn. (BE2c, BE2d – Western Front)
Officer Commanding, No 16 Sqn. (RE8 – Western Front)
Aug 1918: Officer Commanding, No 24 (Training) Wing.
Officer Commanding, No 1 Wing - France.
Officer Commanding, No 15 Wing - France.
May 1919: Officer Commanding, No 59 (Training) Wing, RAF Cranwell.
Air Staff, HQ No 12 Group - RAF Cranwell.
1 Aug 1919: Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major
Nov 1919: CFI, RAF College - Cranwell.
Attended RAF Staff College.
Apr 1923: Air Staff, Flying Operations (Home).
Oct 1926: Senior
Officer's War Course - Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
Mar 1927: Officer Commanding, No 7 Sqn. (Virginia)
Attended Imperial Defence College.
Jan 1930: Special Duty in India?
Apr 1930: Supernumerary, HQ Coastal Area.
Dec 1930: Deputy Director of Plans, Directorate of Operations & Intelligence.
Feb 1934: Officer
Commanding, Aden Command.
Jan 1936: Directing Staff, Imperial Defence College
Sep 1937: Director of Organisation
Feb 1939: Air Member for Personnel
Apr 1940: AOC in C, Bomber Command
Oct 1940: Chief of the Air Staff
26 Feb 1946: Transferred to half pay list.
Winchester, he entered Christchurch College, Oxford in October 1912 reading for
a Law Degree with the intention of becoming a barrister, however he
never formally finished his degree owing to the start of World War One.
Volunteering for service as a dispatch rider on 6 August 1914, he was made a
Corporal in the Royal Engineers and posted immediately to France, being awarded
a Commission within seven weeks.
He transferred to the RFC as an observer when the need
for dispatch riders reduced and later trained
as a pilot
gaining RAeC Certificate No 2543 on 9 May 1916 . He
married Joan Margaret Welby at Denton, Grantham on 21 July 1919. In
1922 ‘Peter’ Portal was among those selected to attend the first course at
the new RAF Staff College, most of who later rose to prominence in the RAF
during World War 2.
the General Strike of 1926, he was responsible for the setting up of a RAF air
mail service, mostly for official correspondence.
It was during this period of his career that Trenchard himself appears to
have begun grooming the young Sqn Ldr Portal as a future Chief of the Air Staff.
He attended many meetings in Trenchard's office, not simply to advise his
Director but as a participant in his own right.
A further indication that he was being prepared for greater things came
when Trenchard recommended him for the Royal Navy's Senior Officer's War Course.
As a Wing Commander he found himself in the midst of Admirals.
successful tour as AOC in C brought with it a knighthood in July 1940 and a
realisation that precision night bombing was an impossible concept at this stage
of the war and he left Bomber
Command with the seeds of what would later become Area Bombing firmly routed in
his mind. The ultimate
appointment within the RAF, that of Chief of the Air Staff was assumed by Portal
in October 1940 placing him directly over
a number of Air Officers with
seniority over him. He continued in
this capacity for the remainder of the war, being the youngest of the Chiefs of
Staff until the arrival of Lord Mountbatten.
He quickly gained a reputation for clear thinking and diplomacy and was a
favourite of Churchill. When he
retired from the post in December 1945 he had held the position for over five
years, a period of time only exceeded by Trenchard.
Portal took on a number of directorships in the city including Barclays Bank and
the Ford Motor Company. He was
persuaded by the new Prime Minister, Attlee, to take on the appointment as
Controller of Production, Atomic Energy which in 1950 was changed to Controller,
Atomic Energy, taking in all aspects of the Atomic energy Industry and weapons
a Marshal of the RAF he attended
the funeral of King George VI. Leaving
the Ministry of Supply, Portal joined the Board of British Aluminium
becoming it's chairman in 1953 but following unsuccessful attempts to prevent
it's take-over by the Americans, he left and took on the chairmanship of the
British Match Corporation from 1960 to 1964.
Government rationalisation of the British aircraft industry led to the
formation of the British Aircraft Corporation in 1960 with Portal appointed
Chairman. Whilst hunting in Scotland in September 1970, he found
himself at a low ebb resulting in his return home.
The following month he was diagnosed to have an inoperable cancer and
although he fought doggedly, by April 1971 he was in constant pain and
eventually fell into unconsciousness and died.
reading: - Portal of Hungerford,
Richards, Denis - William Heinemam Ltd
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