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Air Commodore A A B Thomson


Arthur Ashford Benjamin          b:  2 Apr 1895                                                 d: 28 Aug 1939

MC -2 Oct 1915 (2nd MC - 31 May 1916), Bar - 9 Sep 1916 (replaced 2nd MC), AFC - 3 Jun 1919.  2nd Prize, 'Gordon-Shephard' Essay Comp. - 1926

(Army): - 2 Lt (P):  26 Jun 1913,  2 Lt:  28 Aug 1914, Lt: 21 Jan 1915,  (T) Capt: 24 Jun 1915,  (T) Maj: 1 Jun 1916,  Capt: 1 Jan 1917,  (T) Lt Col: 8 Feb 1918.

(RAF): - (T) Lt Col [Maj]: 1 Apr 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919,  Sqn Ldr: 1 Nov 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1929,  Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1934,  A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1938.

25 Jun 1913:            Flying Officer, RFC (Special Reserve).   

xx xxx 1914:          Officer, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (seconded to the RFC).

12 May 1914:          Attended No 6 Course, Central Flying School.  

xx Aug 1914:            Pilot, No 1 Sqn RFC.

1914                        Pilot, No 4 Sqn RFC.

24 Jun 1915:            Flight Commander, No 16 Sqn RFC.

 1 Jun 1916:            Officer Commanding, No 54 Sqn RFC. (BE2c Castle Bromwich/London Colney)

17 Aug 1916:           Officer Commanding, No 56 Sqn RFC. (Working up)

 3 Nov 1916:           Officer Commanding, No 33 Sqn RFC. (FE2b, FE2d HQ - Gainsborough)

xx Nov 1917            ?

 8 Feb 1918:            Officer Commanding, No ? Wing RFC.

xx xxx xxxx:             Reverted to employment as a Major?

1 May 1919 - 30 Jun 1919:        Employed as a Lt Col (A)

 1 Aug 1919:            Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain  

27 Jan 1920:            Administrative Officer, Aeronautical Committee of Guarantee (Austria).

12 Mar 1921:           Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 1 Aug 1921:            Member/Deputy OC, Aeronautical Commission of Control (Hungary).

18 Dec 1921:           RAF Depot, attached Directorate of Operations and Intelligence (Temporary Duty).

18 Jan 1922:            Officer Commanding, No 39 Sqn. (DH9A Spittlegate)

26 Feb 1923:           Armament Officer's Course, Armament and Gunnery School.

xx Feb 1924:           Staff/Instructor, Armament and Gunnery School.

20 Sep 1927:           Armament Officer, HQ Iraq Command.

 1 Jan 1929:             Supernumerary, HQ Iraq Command.

 2 Mar 1929:            Armament Officer, HQ Inland Area.

20 Jan 1930:            Assistant Director (Armament), Joint Directorate of Scientific Research and Technical Development.

16 Jan 1934:            Officer Commanding, RAF Worthy Down.

25 Nov 1936:           Officer Commanding, RAF Cardington.

14 Feb 1938:           AOC, No 3 (Bomber) Group.

Born at Dinapore in India, he attended Wellington School and learnt to fly in 1912 at the age of 17, earning RAeC Certificate No 452.  When he was promoted to Air Commodore, he became the youngest officer to have held that rank up to that point and also the first officer to attain the rank having spent his entire career in the air services.

He was killed having carried out a test flight in a Wellington of No 115 Squadron, when he walked into the aircraft's propeller after inspecting the bomb-bay.  Although he was not killed instantly, he died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Citation for the award of the MC

"Second Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Arthur Ashford Benjamin Thomson, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attached Royal Flying Corps.

For conspicuous gallantry and determination on 29th August, 1915, near Neuve Chapelle. When ranging a heavy gun on the German trenches he stayed up over two hours in heavy rain, with clouds at about 500 feet. At one time he found himself in a cloud on the far side of the German . trenches; but, after coming back under heavy fire, he continued to observe with the greatest bravery and skill, only returning when too dark for more work. His gallant conduct resulted in 10 direct hits on the enemy's parapet."

(London Gazette - 2 Oct 1915)

Citation for the award of the MC

"Lt. (temp. Capt.) Arthur Ashford Benjamin Thomson, R. War. R. and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and good work during Zeppelin raids."

(London Gazette - 31 May 1916)

Citation for the award of a Bar to the MC

"Lt. (temp. Maj.) Arthur Ashford Benjamin Thomson, R. War. R. and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and good work during Zeppelin raids.

(The Military Cross was awarded in Gazette dated 2nd October, 1915.) The announcement of the award of a second Military Cross, which appeared on page 5408 of the Gazette dated 31st May, 1916, is now cancelled."

(London Gazette - 9 Sep 1916)

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