Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal I J Spencer (40150)

Ian James                                 b: 6 Jun 1916                      r: 1 Jan 1968                d: 15 May 1994

CB – 8 Jun 1963, DFC – 4 Jul 1941, Bar – 14 Apr 1944, MiD – 1 Jan 1946.

Act Plt Off (P): 5 Sep 1937, Plt Off: 12 Jul 1938, Fg Off: 12 Apr 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 12 Apr 1941,  (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 17 Jun 1943?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 17 Dec 1943, Sqn Ldr: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1951, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1957, Act A/Cdre: 17 Apr 1961, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1962, Act AVM: 25 Nov 1965, AVM: 1 Jan 1966.

 5 Sep 1937:            Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot.

18 Sep 1937:           U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS.

 7 May 1938:           Pilot, No 35 Sqn. (Battle)

 4 Oct - 10 Dec 1938:            Attended No 44 Short Navigation Course, School of Air Navigation

1939 - 43                ?

12 Jul 1941:             Transferred to the Reserve and called up for Air Force Service 

xx xxx xxxx:             Flight Commander, No 110 Sqn.

xx Oct 1940:           Officer Commanding (Temporary), No 110 Sqn

16 May 1941:          Flight Commander, No 110 Sqn.

 9 Dec 1941:            Chief Ground Instructor, No 13 OTU

14 Feb 1943:            Officer Commanding, No 107 Sqn.

19 Apr 1943:

xx Aug 1943:          Officer Commanding, No 88 Sqn. (Bostons)

 1 Feb 1944:           Staff, HQ No 137 Airfield

 7 - 9 Feb 1944:            Attached , No 13 OTU for Night Vision Training

20 Aug 1944:          Posted to No 2 GSU (HQ Pool) and attached to No 137 Wing

 6 Oct 1944:            Attached to RAF Hartford Bridge

21 May 1946:         Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx 1946:           Staff, Directorate-General of Personnel (II).

xx Mar 1950:           Air Attaché, Berne.

1947 - 54                ?

xx Mar 1954:           Officer Commanding, London University Air Sqn.

 3 Oct 1956:            Air Staff - Higher Training/Chief, Plans Division, HQ 2nd ATAF.

 2 Nov 1959:           Officer Commanding, RAF Benson.

13 Feb 1961:           SOA, HQ No 38 Group.

17 Apr 1961:           AOA, HQ Transport Command.

1964 - 65                ?

25 Nov 1965:          AOA, HQ Far East Air Force.

After retirement from the RAF he appears to have become a finance broker, but filed for bankrurpcy in the early 1980's.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Acting Squadron Leader Ian James SPENCER (40150), No.110 Squadron.

In June, 1941, this officer led a formation of aircraft which carried out an attack on an enemy merchant ship of about 1,500 tons. In spite of intense anti-aircraft fire from this and other escorting vessels, Squadron Leader Spencer pressed home his attack from a low altitude and the formation succeeded in destroying the merchant vessel.  After delivering the attack his aircraft received direct hits causing damage to the starboard engine and inner port petrol tanks, while Squadron Leader Spencer himself was hit in the left leg, sustaining a fracture in two places and his observer was wounded in the back.  Despite his injury, Squadron Leader Spencer with the assistance of his observer succeeded in flying his aircraft back to this country although the starboard engine and instrument panel were out of action.  On a previous occasion Squadron Leader Spencer successfully bombed an enemy tanker off the Norwegian coast in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, and although 'his port engine was disabled, he succeeded in flying his aircraft safely back to this country.  He has shown great determination courage and efficiency.”

(London Gazette – 4 Jul 1941)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"SPENCER, Ian James, Act Wg Cdr, DFC (40150, Royal Air Force) - No.137 Wing

Wing Commander Spencer has completed numerous sorties since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.  In August 1943, he led his flight with commendable efficiency to attack the naval depot at Rennes.  While over the target, his aircraft was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire and the navigator severely wounded.  Despite the damage, Wing Commander Spencer flew the aircraft safely to base.  As a flight and squadron commander, this officer has shown outstanding courage, leadership and enthusiasm."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin)

Recommendation for the award of the French Legion of Honour

"SPENCER, Ian James, Act Wg Cdr, DFC (40150, Royal Air Force) - No.137 Wing

This officer, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, has taken part in flying operations since the beginning of the war.  In 1941 he took part in numerous low level attacks against the enemy’s maritime communications.  On his 25th sortie he was seriously wounded while attacking and sinking an enemy ship off Dunkirque.  As soon as he recovered from his injuries he came to take his place in the ranks of No.137 Wing.  At the head of No.107 Squadron, then with No.88 Squadron, brothers-in-arms to No.342 (Lorraine) Squadron, he led French air crews into combat on numerous occasions.  Wing leader of outstanding ability, calm and resolute, he has at the head of formations of 24 and 36 aircraft, obtained magnificent results, particularly on the 8th August 1943, in totally destroying the German Naval Depot at Rennes, and on 8th October 1943, in destroying several hangars and several aircraft on the ground, despite determined enemy fighter opposition."

(Source - Air 2/9141)

This page was last updated on 03/09/23

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