Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond

Sir (William) Geoffrey Hanson Salmond(William) Geoffrey Hanson       b: 19 Aug 1878                                                d: 27 Apr 1933

KCB - 3 Jul 1926 (CB - 1 Jan 1919), KCMG - 3 Jun 1919, DSO - 3 Mar 1917, MiD - 17 Feb 1915, MiD - 1 Jan 1916, MiD - 25 Sep 1916, MiD - 6 Jul 1917, MiD - 7 Nov 1917, MiD - 22 Jan 1919, MiD - 5 Jun 1919, SS3S - 15 Feb 1917, N2 - 9 Nov 1918, R-GC - 5 Apr 1919, EN2 - 1 Apr 1920.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army): - 2 Lt: 23 Jun 1898, Lt: 16 Feb 1901, Capt:  2 Dec 1905, Maj: 30 Oct 1914, (T) Lt Col: 18 Aug 1915, Bt Lt Col: 3 Jun 1916, (T) Brig-Gen: 1 Jul 1916, Maj-Gen: xx xxx xxxx.

(RAF): - (T) Maj-Gen [Lt Col]: 1 Apr 1918, Maj-Gen: 1 Apr 1918, AVM: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], AM: 1 Jul 1929, ACM: 1 Jan 1933.

Sir (William) Geoffrey Hanson Salmond

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 4 February 1926
NPG x123543

National Portrait Gallery, London

24 Sep 1896:       Attended RMA Woolwich (5513).

23 Jun 1898:       Officer, Royal Artillery. (South Africa - 1899-1900, 1901-1902)

10 Nov 1900:       Seconded for service in China (Boxer Rebellion)

 2 May 1905:       Seconded to study Japanese

 2 Dec 1905:        Placed on Seconded List

22 Jul 1907:        Supernumerary Captain to be Captain, Royal Field Artillery

 4 Feb 1908:       Adjutant, Royal Field Artillery

23 Jan 1911:       Attended Army Staff College, Camberley.

17 Apr 1913 - 13 Aug 1914:   RFC Reserve.

31 Aug 1913:      GSO III, Directorate of Military Aeronautics.

5 Aug 1914:        Appointed GSO II

13 Aug 1914:      Embarked for France

13 Aug 1914:      GSO II, HQ RFC - France.

26 Jan 1915:       Officer Commanding, No 1 Sqn RFC. (Various types Western Front) (Battle of Neuve Chapelle, Hill 60, Battle of Aubers Ridge)

 8 Mar 1915:      Re-embarked for France (with No 1 Sqn)

18 Aug 1915:      Appointed Wing Commander

20 Aug 1915:      Returned to Home Establishment prior to moving to Middle East

 9 Nov 1915:       Embarked for Middle East

xx Nov 1915:      Officer Commanding, 5th Wing RFC.

 1 Jul 1916:         Brigadier-General Commanding, Middle East Brigade, RFC.

 5 Oct 1917:       GOC, HQ RFC Middle East/Palestine Brigade

 5 Nov 1917:      Recalled to England

 3 Jan 1918:        GOC, RFC Middle East (effective 22 Dec 1917)

 1 Apr 1918:       GOC/AOC,  Middle East Area.

 1 Aug 1919:       Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major-General

23 Feb 1922:      Director-General of Supply and Research.


Major General Sir William Salmond with his two sons, Sir Geoffrey and Sir John

Major General Sir William Salmond with his two sons, Sir Geoffrey and Sir John

John Salmond in Trench Coat handing documents  (reconnaissance report) in with Geoff standing behind him.

John Salmond in Trench Coat handing documents  (reconnaissance report) in with Geoff standing behind him.

AVM Sir Geoffrey Salmond

AVM Sir Geoffrey Salmond

Photos courtesy Gp Capt D Baker (Sir John's Grandson)

xx xxx 1923:       Air Member for Supply and Research.

27 Dec 1926:      AOC, RAF India.

28 Feb 1931:      Supernumerary, HQ RAF India.

25 Sep 1931:      AOC in C, Air Defence of Great Britain.

 1 Apr 1933:       Chief of the Air Staff.

Geoffrey Salmond and his younger brother, John, were destined to become the only two brothers to both hold the top post in the RAF.  Although older than his brother, he was always slightly behind him in the promotion stakes in the RFC/RAF.  Like his brother he was educated at Wellington before entering the RMC at Sandhurst.  During the South African War, he served at the Relief of Ladysmith, in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Cape Colony.  He gained his RAeC Certificate (No 421 on 18 February 1913) six months after his brother.  Whilst attached to  RFC HQ, Brig-Gen Henderson,  sent him to study how the French utilised aerial photography and to disseminate the information gained.  Having submitted his report he was tasked with implementing his recommendations and the setting up of photographic sections at each Wing HQ.  Given command of No 5 Wing in the Middle East, he was to remain in the region for almost seven years, except for one short break, as his command gradually increasing to Brigade and later Area strength.   As a result of trouble in Afghanistan between the Afghan government and local rebels, he instigated the first major airlift in history, when he ordered the RAF to evacuate British citizens and friendly Afghans from within the Kabul Legation.  Selected to replace his brother as CAS, his tenure was to be short, as within a month of taking over he was taken ill and died.  Ironically, his post was filled temporarily by his brother Sir John, who returned to hold the reins until the appointment of Sir Edward Ellington.  

Further reading: - From Bi-planes to Spitfires: The Life of...

Citation for the award of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

"SALMOND, William Geoffrey Hanson, A/V/M, KCMG, CB, DSO -

In recognition of distinguished service as Air Officer Commanding, Middle East Command, Royal Air Force, and as Air Member for Supply and Research on the Air Council."

(Source - Air 30/62)

This page was last updated on 27/08/23

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