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Air Commodore P J Sanders (36057)

Philip James                  b: 1 May 1911                    r: 3 Apr 1962                     d: 11 Jan 1989

DFC – 8 Nov 1940.

Plt Off: 3 Mar 1936 [3 Dec 1934], Fg Off: 3 Sep 1936 [3 Jun 1936], Act Flt Lt: 3 Mar 1938, Flt Lt: 3 Sep 1938 [3 Jun 1938], Act Sqn Ldr: 27 May 1940, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1940, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1941, Sqn Ldr: 14 Apr 1942 [ 1 Jun 1940], Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1952, Act A/Cdre: 23 Jul 1958, A/Cdre: Retained.

 3 Mar 1936:            Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Pilot Officer.

 3 Mar 1936:            U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.

11 Oct 1936:            Pilot, No 1 Sqn.

 3 Mar 1938:            Flight Commander, No 1 Sqn.

 1 Aug 1939:            Operations Officer, RAF Hornchurch

27 May 1940:          Officer Commanding, No 92 Sqn. (Spitfire I)

26 Sep 1940:           Non-Effective, Sick

 8 Oct 1940:             Air Staff - Night Operations, HQ No 11 (Fighter) Group.

xx Jun 1941:             Officer Commanding, No 264 Sqn. (Defiant I)

xx Dec 1941:            Hospitalised and recuperating.

xx xxx 1942:             Fighter Test Pilot, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, USA.

xx xxx xxxx:             Air Staff, HQ No 84 Group.

9 Aug 1945:             Attended Course No 15, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.  

xx xxx 1945:             Officer Commanding, RAF ?, Palestine.

xx Feb 1946:            Staff, Deputy Directorate of Air Tactics.

22 Sep 1948:           Air Attaché, Belgrade.

xx xxx 1951:            Wing Commander - Flying, RAF Coltishall.

xx xxx 1952:             Officer Commanding RAF Leeming.

 6 Jun 1955:             Air Defence Staff, SHAPE.

23 Jul 1958:             Air Attaché, Moscow.

 6 Mar 1961:            Air Commodore - Operations, HQ Fighter Command.

Born near Chesterfield, he attended Balliol College Oxford from 1930 to 1933, but it was 1936 before he joined the RAF being granted a Permanent Commission.  Having fought through most of the Battle of Britain and achieved a score of six confirmed, one unconfirmed and 2 probables, he was posted to HQ No 11 Group.  On 23 October 1940, he suffered minor burns when he lit a cigarette.  Unknown to him, his batman had removed a stain from his tunic using 100 octane fuel.

After commanding No 264 Squadron he was due to be posted to Malta, but he was hit by appendicitis and was hospitalised, following recovery, he was sent to the USA instead.  Following retirement he remained at the Ministry of Defence in a civilian capacity, retiring in 1976.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Squadron Leader Philip James SANDERS (36057), No.92 Squadron.

Squadron Leader Sanders has commanded his squadron since May, 1940, and his continuous leadership, skill and determination have been responsible for the high standard and morale of the squadron.  On nth September,1940,when leading his squadron on an offensive patrol, he displayed great skill and leadership and was personally responsible for the destruction of two and probably three hostile aircraft.  He has in all destroyed at least six enemy aircraft.”

(London Gazette – 8 November 1940)

This page was last updated on 15/08/20

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