Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Air Chief Marshal Sir James Robb


ACM Sir James RobbJames Milne                

b: 26 Jan 1895             r: 26 Nov 1951                        d: 18 Dec 1968

GCB - 1 Jan 1951 (KCB - 9 Jun 1949, CB - 1 Jan 1941), KBE - 1 Jan 1945, DSO - 28 May 1926, DFC - 8 Feb 1919, AFC - 11 Jul 1940,  MiD - 1 Jan 1941, AFRAeS, FSA, MiD - 1 Jan 1942, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, LoM (O) - 27 Aug 1943, DSM (US) - 3 Aug 1945, OWLV - 27 Jun 1947, CMC - 27 Jun 1947, LoH, Cdr - xx xxx 194?.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army): - 2 Lt: 10 Nov 1914, Lt:  12 Aug 1917 [4 Jun 1917], (T) Capt: 10 Aug 1916 - 12 Aug 1917.

(RAF): - (T) Capt [Lt]: 1 Apr 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1924, Wg Cdr:1 Jan 1932, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1937, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1940, Act AVM: 12 Sep 1940, (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1941, A/Cdre: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Jan 1940], AVM: 1 Jul 1942, Act AM: 15 Oct 1944, AM: 1 Jan 1946, ACM: 1 Oct 1948.  

Photograph © Crown Copyright

10 Nov 1914:        Officer, Northumberland Fusiliers

10 Aug 1916:        Flying Officer, RFC.

15 Feb 1917:        Flight Commander, No 32 Sqn RFC. (DH2 – Western Front)

xx Mar 1917:        Home Establishment

12 Aug 1917:        Relinquished temporary rank of Captain

xx xxx 1918:         Flight Commander, No 92 Sqn. (SE5A – Western Front)

xx xxx 1919:         Attended Course in Administration and Organisation - Halton House.

 1 Aug 1919:         Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain

15 Sep 1919:        Flight Commander, Air Council Inspection Squadron. (re-numbered No 24)

 1 Feb 1920:         Flight Commander, No 24 Sqn (Various - Kenley)

14 Sep 1922:        Flight Commander, No 6 Sqn. (Bristol F2B – Mosul)

19 Jan 1924:         Officer Commanding, No 30 Sqn. (DH9A – Mosul)

15 Apr 1926:        Officer Commanding, No 3 Sqn. (Woodcock – Upavon)

19 Sep 1927:        CFI, Central Flying School.

28 Jul 1930:          Staff, Superintendent of RAF Reserve.

12 Jan 1932:         Attended RN Staff College, Greenwich.

12 Feb 1933:        Senior RAF Officer, HMS Eagle. (China Station)

12 Feb 1935:        Fleet Aviation Officer to C in C, Mediterranean.

14 Dec 1936:       Commandant, Central Flying School.

17 Apr 1940:        AOC, No 2 (Bomber) Group.

23 Feb 1941:        AOC, No 15 (Reconnaissance) Group.

xx xxx 1942:         Deputy Chief of Combined Operations.

 4 Dec 1942:         Deputy Air Commander, ?

 1 Mar 1943:         Deputy Air Commander, North West African Air Forces/AOC, RAF North West Africa.

xx xxx 1944?:        Staff, HQ Mediterranean Allied Air Forces.

xx xxx 1944:          Deputy Chief of Staff (Air), SHEAF.

14 May 1945:        AOC in C, Fighter Command.

xx xxx 1947:          Vice Chief of the Air Staff.

 4 Oct 1948:          C in C Air Forces, Western Union Defence Organisation.

 9 Feb 1951:          Inspector-General of the RAF.

 21 Mar 1952:       Bath King of Arms

He gained his RAeC Certificate, No 4116 on 10 August 1916.  With 32 Sqn he gained a single victory before being wounded and posted home.  In 1918, he was selected by Arthur Coningham to be the senior flight commander in No 92 Sqn, which he was forming at that time, equipped with the SE5a.  On arrival at the front it was not long before Robb had opened the squadron's account against the Germans when he downed the unit's first enemy aircraft on the 22nd of July.  He finished the war with a total of seven confirmed victories.  Following the cessation of hostilities, he was involved in transporting the Prime Minister and other VIP’s between London and Paris during the peace conferences.   

He was awarded the DSO in 1926 for "gallant and distinguished service in connection with the operations in Kurdistan (Choarta region) during the period 6th June to 10th July, 1925".  

During his tenure at the CFS, he was given the task of going to Canada to try and arrange for the training of RAF aircrew in that country, however, he did not receive a particularly warm reception from the Canadian Government at that time so he returned home.  Promoted to Group Captain, he was again sent to Canada in 1939 as a member of the Mission sent to discuss the training of RAF Aircrew and this time they  were able to lay the foundations of what became the Empire/Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  After leaving the RAF on account of ill health, he took up the post King of Arms of the Order of the Bath in 21 March 1952, remaining in appointment until 26 January 1965.

Spitfire LF Mk 16, the personal aircraft of Air Marshal Sir James Robb during his period as AOC-in-C Fighter Command

Spitfire LF Mk 16, the personal aircraft of Air Marshal Sir James Robb during his period as AOC-in-C Fighter Command

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