Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Group No's 1 - 9


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No 1 Group

It was originally formed on 1 Apr 1918 in No 1 Area, at 11/12 Dover Street, Piccadilly, London W1, being transferred to South-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918, when No 1 Area was redesignated.  The title (Training) was added on 8 Aug 1918 and by May 1919 it controlled Nos 1 (Canadian), 6, 18 and 86 Wings.  The following month it moved to 4 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7, then in Aug to Plough Lane, Croydon, being transferred to the newly formed Southern Area on 20 Sep 1919.  It moved again in 8 Jan 1920, this time to RAF Kenley and when Inland Area was formed in 1 Apr the title (Training) was dropped, taking over all the units of the disbanded No 2 Group and then on 1 Sep 1921 it took over those of No 3 Group but on 19 May 1924 it was disbanded by being renumbered as No 6 Group.  It reformed the same day at Kidbrooke, moving to West Drayton on on 9 Apr 1926 but three days later it was renumbered No 21 (Training) Group.

On 25 Aug 1927 the Air Defence Group was redesignated No 1 Air Defence Group, within Air Defences of Great Britain, now being responsible for the units of the Special Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force. Initially located at 145 Slone Street, London SW1 but moved 33/34 Tavistock Place on 23 Mar 1932.  It was renamed No 6 (Auxiliary) Group on 1 May 1936 under the control of Bomber Command.

It was reformed 1 May 1936 as No 1 (Bomber) Group, , by renaming Central Area at Abingdon. On 14 July 1936 it was transferred to the newly formed Bomber Command, initially equipped with Hawker Hinds, which were gradually replaced  by Bristol Blenheims and Fairey Battles.  By Aug 1939, the Group had standardised on the Fairey Battle, the Blenheims having been transferred to No 2 Group, and it had been earmarked as part of the forces to be deployed to the continent in support of the British Expeditionary Force, should this be necessary.  With the increasing tension in Europe the Group was mobilised on 24 Aug 1939 and was redesignated Advanced Air Striking Force.

A new No 1 (Bomber) Group reformed on 12 Sep 1939 at Benson, which was intended to take control of the Battles in France once the Blenheims of second echelon arrived in France but in the event the second echelon was not dispatched to the continent and No 1 Group disbanded on 22 Dec 1939.  With the return of the Battles of the AASF following the French collapse, No 1 Group was reformed on 22 Jun 1940 at Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.  It continued to operate Battles against targets Dutch and French ports, whilst beginning the conversion to the Vickers Wellington.  The Group HQ moved to Bawtry Hall near Doncaster on 20 July 1940, where it remained until 1983.  It gradually built up its strength controlling stations in North Lincolnshire and parts of East Yorkshire, but the latter were transferred to No 4 Group in 1943.  From the end of 1941, the group's squadrons began to convert to the Avro Lancaster (although No 103 had initially received the Halifax).  In the Autumn of 1943 the group formed its first Base at Binbrook (No 12) and by the end of the year the whole group was split into Bases. The group operated as part of Bomber Command's 'Main Force' throughout the war and by the end of the war it had flown 56,430 sorties and lost 1,429 aircraft on operations along with 8,577 aircrew.

The Group remained in existence after the war but its units soon re-equipped with the Avro Lincoln, which were often sent on detachment to Malaya.  In 1951, the Group introduced the RAF's first jet bomber into service when No 101 Squadron at Binbrook was re-equipped and in 1958 No 1 (Bomber) Group took over the Canberra units of No 3 Group.  However, the end was in sight for the Canberra as a bomber as No 1 (Bomber) Group began receiving the Vulcan in 1957, with the last Canberra squadron, No 35, being disbanded in Sep 1961.  On 1 November 1967, No 3 (Bomber) Group was disbanded and its units were taken over by No 1 (Bomber) Group. 

On 30 Apr 1968, Bomber and Fighter Commands were amalgamated into a new Strike Command with the HQ Bomber Command element taking over the designation No 1 (Bomber) Group, although it relocated up to Bawtry.  On 1 Sep 1972 the title (Bomber) was dropped and it became simply No 1 Group.  On 17 November 1983 it moved to Upavon, where it absorbed No 38 Group the following day, remaining there until 30 July 1993 when it moved to Benson and then on 1 Apr to High Wycombe.  Following a restructuring in Jan 2000, No 1 Group took control of all offensive and defensive operations including ground attack, strike and air defence.  Control was transferred to HQ Air Command on 1 Apr 2007 and it remains active at the present time (2017).

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918

29 Feb 1920         Gp Capt H C T Dowding

27 Feb 1922         Gp Capt E L Gerrard

1 Jan 1923            A/Cdre E L Gerrard

21 Jul 1924           Gp Capt R Gordon

31 Dec 1924         Gp Capt P L W Herbert

12 Apr 1926 - 25 Aug 1927        Disbanded

Reformed as No 1 Air Defence Group from the Air Defence Group - 25 Aug 1927

25 Aug 1927          A/Cdre E L Gerrard

11 Nov 1929         A/Cdre W F MacN Foster

2 Jan 1934            A/Cdre J E A Baldwin

12 Aug 1935         A/Cdre J C Quinnell

No 1 Air Defence Group redesignated No 6 (Auxiliary) Group and a new No 1 (Bomber) Group formed by redesignating Central Area.

1 May 1936         A/Cdre O T Boyd

7 Jan 1937           A/Cdre S W Smith

17 Feb 1938        AVM P H L Playfair

24 Aug 1939 - 12 Sep 1939    Renamed Advanced Air Striking Force

3 Sep 1939           AVM A C Wright

22 Dec 1939 - 22 Jun 1940   Disbanded

27 Jun 1940          A/Cdre J J Breen

27 Nov 1940        AVM R D Oxland

24 Feb 1943         AVM E A B Rice

12 Feb 1945         AVM R S Blucke

15 Jan 1947          AVM C E N Guest

24 Jan 1949          AVM G H Mills

5 Apr 1951           AVM D A Boyle

27 Apr 1953         AVM J R Whitley

3 Oct 1956           AVM G A Walker

14 Jun 1959          AVM J G Davis

1 Dec 1961           AVM P H Dunn

1 May 1964          AVM D C Stapleton

1 Jun 1966            AVM M H LeBas

23 Dec 1968         AVM R L Wade

 8 Feb 1971          AVM B P T Horsley

 3 Mar 1973          AVM D G Evans

29 Nov 1975         AVM P J Lageson

 5 Jul 1978             AVM D B Craig

11 Apr 1980          AVM M W P Knight

18 Dec 1982          AVM D Parry-Evans

17 Sep 1983          A/Cdre H S Carver

xx xxx xxxx            AVM M G Simmons

19 Feb 1987          AVM C J Thomson

24 Feb 1989          AVM R A F Wilson

15 Apr 1991          AVM R E Johns

 1 Feb 1993           AVM P T Squire

28 Jul 1993            AVM J R Day

xx Apr 1997          AVM G E Stirrup

30 Jul 1998            AVM J H Thompson

24 Jan 2000           Vacant?

10 Mar 2000         AVM P V Harris

12 Mar 2001         AVM G L Torpy

 3 Jul 2003             AVM C H Moran

xx Apr 2005          AVM D Walker

xx Jul 2007            AVM C N Harper

 6 Mar 2009          AVM G Bagwell

xx xxx 2011           AVM

xx Jul 2014            AVM G M Waterfall

28 Apr 2016:         AVM G M D Mayhew

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 2 Group

Originally formed at 4 Norham Gardens, Oxford on 1 April 1918 in No 1 Area., it was transferred to South-Eastern Area on  8 May 1918. The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918 and on 27 November it moved to Merton College, Oxford, then to 158 Banbury Road in the city, before settling at RAF Uxbridge on on 7 July 1919.  On moving to Uxbridge the title (Training) was dropped and it was transferred to Southern Area on 20 September 1919 but was reduced to Cadre in Dec, before disbanding on 31 March 1920, its units being taken over by No 1 Group.  

It reformed at Abingdon on 20 March 1936 as No 2 (Bomber) Group in Central Area.  On its formation it was taken over by the newly created Bomber Command on 14 July 1936, moving to Andover on on 26 January 1937 and then to Wyton on 2 May 1928.  Following the outbreak of war it moved to Castle Hill House in Huntingdon in October 1939.  It operated the Commandís light bomber force, initially composed of Blenheims, these were later replaced by Bostons, Venturas and Mosquitoes.  On 15 May 1943 it moved to Bylaugh Hall, East Dereham and on 1 June was transferred to the control of HQ 2nd TAF.  Destined to operate on the continent following the invasion of Normanby, it moved to Mongewell Park, Wallingford on 16 January 1944 from where it contolled the operations of its unit until able to move to Belgium settling at Caserne de Cavalerie, Boulevard General Jacques, Brussels.  Its squadrons became well known for carrying out a number of precision low level daylight raids, particularly its Mosquito units.  It remained in Germany as part of the British Air Forces of Occupation until disbanding on 1 May 1947.

It reformed at Sundern on 1 December 1948, again as part of BAFO, but was transferred to 2nd TAF on 1 September 1951, when BAFO was redesignated.  It now controlled all flying units in 2nd TAF but  disbanded again on 15 November 1958.  Following the end of the Cold War, British forces in Germany began to reduce and on 1 April 1993 RAF Germany was redesignated No 2 Group under the control of RAF Support Command at Rheindahlen but as the contraction continued it was absorbed into No 1 Group on 1 April 1996 and disbanded.

A major reorganisation of the RAF saw it reformed again on 7 January 2000, this time at High Wycombe, taking control of air transport, air-to-air refuelling and AEW.  In 2003/4, it became responsible for Combat Support, which includes the transport fleet, air refuelling resources and the RAF Regiment.  On 1 April 2006, it took over the responsibilities of No 3 Group which was disbanded on that date.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918         Lt Col W R Freeman

31 Mar 1920 - 20 Mar 1936    Disbanded

xx xxx 1936:          A/Cdre B E Sutton

1 Sep 1936           A/Cdre S J Goble (RAAF)

2 Dec 1937           A/Cdre C H B Blount

16 May 1938        AVM C T Maclean

17 Apr 1940         AVM J M Robb

12 Feb 1941         AVM D F Stevenson

17 Dec 1941         AVM A Lees

29 Dec 1942         AVM J H D'Albiac

1 Jun 1943             AVM B E Embry

8 Aug 1945            AVM P E Maitland

18 Mar 1946          A/Cdre L W Cannon

3 Jun 1946             AVM A L Paxton

1 May 1947 - 1 Dec 1948     Disbanded

1 Dec 1948            A/Cdre L F Sinclair

16 Jan 1950           A/Cdre The Earl of Bandon

18 Jun 1951          A/Cdre H D McGregor

 9 Nov 1953         AVM J R Hallings-Pott

 1 Jul 1955            AVM S R Ubee

15 Nov 1958 - 1 Apr 1933    Disbanded

  1 Apr 1993          AVM G A Robertson

17 Jan 1994           AVM R H Goodall  

1 Apr 1996 - 7 Jan 2000    Disbanded

 1 Apr 2000          AVM K D Filbey

 2 Aug 2002          AVM N D A Maddox          

xx Jan 2005           AVM I W McNicoll

 9 Feb 2007           AVM A D Pulford

xx xxx 2008           AVM S Hillier

xx Oct 2010:          AVM P C Osborn

18 Jan 2013           AVM S K P Reynolds

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 3 Group

It was originally planned to form at Castle Hotel, Cambridge on 1 April 1918 in No 1 Area but it was 10 May 1918 before formation took place, by which time No 1 Area had been redesignated South-Eastern Area.  In 1 July 1918 it was transferred to Midland Area and on 8 August the title (Training) was added.  It moved to Mousehold Heath, near Norwich on 1 July 1919 and with the disbanding of Midland Area it was transferred to Northern Area on 18 October 1919.  A further move was made to Spittlegate, on 10 November 1919, the title (Training) being dropped at the same time and on 1 April 1920 it was transferred to Inland Area.  It was disbanded on 31 August 1921 with most of its units being transferred to the control of No 1 Group.

No 3 (Training) Group was reformed in Inland Area from No 11 Wing on 1 April 1923, again at Spittlegate near Grantham being redesignated No 23 (Training) Group on 12 April 1926.

Its next incarnation began on 1 May 1936 as No 3 (Bomber) Group when Western Area, Air Defence of Great Britain was renamed and on 14 July was transferred to the control of the newly formed Bomber Command.  Initially located at Andover, it moved Mildenhall in January 1937.  In October 1938, one of its squadrons, No 99, received the first Vickers Wellington and the Group soon became fully equipped with this type.  On 29 March 1940 it moved again to Harraton House at Exning near Newmarket, where it remained throughout the war.  From late 1940 the Group began re-equipping with the Short Stirling, the first of the RAF's new four-engined heavy bombers. During 1943 some of its units began to replace their Stirlings with Lancasters but it was late 1944 before the Group was fully equipped with the new type. When the 'Pathfinder Force' was formed in 1942, it was placed under the administrative control of No 3 Group but soon achieved independent status as No 8 (Pathfinder) Group.  It also operated a number of 'Special Duties' units, involved in SOE supply missions and radio countermeasures, the latter being transferred to No 100 Group in 1944.  The group mainly operated as part of Bomber Command's 'Main Force' throughout the war and by the end of the war it had flown 66,613 sorties and lost 1,668 aircraft on operations.

The Group HQ returned to Mildenhall on 28 October 1946, with its units gradually replacing their Lancasters with Lincolns. but due to the expected time lag in converting to an all-jet force, No 3 Group was tasked with converting a number of its units to fly the Boeing Washington (B-29).  Canberras began to replace the Washingtons in 1953 and then in 1955 it began to introduce the first of the V-Bombers, the Vickers Valiant.  In 1957 it also began to receive the Handley Page Victor and in 1958, all but one of its Canberra squadrons were transferred to No 1 Group.  From 1959 to 1963 it controlled the RAFís Southern Thor Force and following the withdrawal of the Thor IRBM in 1963, the Group was left in control of the Victor and Valiant squadrons of Bomber Command.  As the result of the forthcoming formation of Strike Command in 1968, No 3 Group was disbanded on 1 November 1967, with its units being transferred to No 1 Group.

It was reformed at High Wycombe on 1 April 2000 to control 'Joint Force Harrier' and Maritime resources.  This included all RAF Harriers and FAA Sea Harriers as well as Maritime resources such as the Nimrod and SAR helicopters.  In 2003/4 further re-structuring took place which saw the group becoming responsible for Air Battle Management, losing the Harrier force to No 1 Group, but gaining the AEW force from No 2 Group.  However, on 1 April 2006, its responsibilities were transferred to No 2 Group and it was disbanded.

Air Officers Commanding

30 Nov 1919         Gp Capt U J D Bourke

23 Nov 1920         Gp  Capt A M Longmore

31 Aug 1921 - 1 Apr 1923    Disbanded

16 Apr 1923        A/Cdre T I Webb-Bowen

7 Mar 1924         A/Cdre L E O Charlton

2 Jan 1925           A/Cdre R Gordon

1 Oct 1925          A/Cdre I M Bonham-Carter

12 Apr 1926 - 1 May 1936    Disbanded

1 May 1936          AVM P H L Playfair

14 Feb 1938         A/Cdre A A B Thomson

29 Aug 1939         AVM J E A Baldwin

14 Sep 1942         AVM The Hon R A Cochrane

27 Feb 1943         AVM R Harrison

28 Feb 1946         AVM A C Collier

xx xxx 1946          Vacant

9 Jul 1946             AVM R M Foster

18 Mar 1947         AVM L Darvall

14 Dec 1948         AVM A Hesketh

15Sep 1951           AVM W A D Brook

1 Sep 1953            AVM E C Hudleston

2 Feb 1956            AVM K B B Cross

4 May 1959           AVM M H Dwyer

9 Oct 1961            AVM B K Burnett

5 Aug 1964           AVM D F Spotswood

26 Nov 1965         AVM D G Smallwood

 1 Nov 1967 - 1 Apr 2000    Disbanded

1 Apr 2000            R-Adm I R Henderson RN

24 Jul 2001            R-Adm  S. Lidbetter RN

 7 Oct 2003            AVM A D White

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 4 Group

This Group was originally formed in Great Yarmouth on 1 April 1918 under the control of No 1 Area, moving to Belmont House and Cliff in Felixstowe in May. It was transferred to South Eastern Area on 8 May 1918, when No 1 Area as redesignated and on 8 August became No 4 (Operations) Group and disbanded on 24 March 1919.

It reformed at Mildenhall on 1 April 1937 as No 4 (Bomber) Group within Bomber Command, moving north to Linton-on-Ouse on 29 June, but it was 1 September 1938 before it assumed executive control over it's units.  By the outbreak of war it controlled station in Yorkshire equipped with Whitley, which at that time were the only units in Bomber Command considered to be training in night bombing.  The Group carried out its first operation on  the night of 3/4 September 1939, following the declaration of war earlier that day.  It moved its HQ to Heslington Hall, near York on 7 April 1940, were it remained for the remainder of the war and for some time afterwards.  In late 1940 the first Halifax arrived to began the re-equipment of No 35 Squadron and through 1941 and into 1942 the other units in the group gradually replaced their Whitleys with Halifaxes.  When No 6 (RCAF) Group was formed, No 4 Group lost a number of its stations in North Yorkshire and County Durham but these were replaced by new ones further south in the East Riding and around York.  The group mainly operated as part of Bomber Command's 'Main Force' throughout the war and by the end of the war it had flown 57,407 sorties and lost 1,509 aircraft on operations.

However, No 4 Group wasn't destined to remain under Bomber Command and on 7 May 1945 it was transferred to Transport Command and its squadron began flying transport sorties to the continent, Middle East and Far East, many gradually replacing their Halifaxes with Liberators or Avro Yorks.  It finally disbanded on 2 February 1948.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918         Col C R Samson

24 Mar 1919 - 1 Apr 1937    Disbanded

12 Jun 1937         A/Cdre A T Harris

25 May 1938       A/Cdre C H B Blount

26 Jun 1939         AVM A Coningham

26 Jul 1941          AVM C R Carr

12 Feb 1945        AVM J R Whitley

7 May 1945         AVM H S P Walmsley

15 Dec 1945        AVM A C Stevens

2 Oct 1946           A/Cdre A P Revington

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

No 5 Group

This Group was originally formed at 18 Marine Parade, Dover on 1 April 1918 in VII Brigade, No 1 Area from the Dover-Dunkirk Group RNAS. It was transferred to South-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918, when No 1 Area was redesignated.  By 3 June 1918 it was operating an Advanced HQ at Spycker and on 8 August 1918, it became No 5 (Operations) Group.  It was raised to Command status, under direct Air Ministry control on 15 August nut returned to Group status in South-Eastern Area on 25 February 1919, finally disbanding on 15 May 1919.

It reformed at Mildenhall on 1 September 1937 from a nucleus provided by No 3 Group as No 5 (Bomber) Group under the control of Bomber Command.  On 2 October 1937 it moved to 'St Vincents' in Grantham, remaining there until 14 November 1943 when it relocated to Morton Hall, near Swinderby.  Its units were initially equipped with a mixture of Hinds and Audaxes but these were replaced by Blenheims before the Group's standard equipment became the Handley Page Hampden.  The end of 1940 saw the first unit, No 207 Squadron, re-equip with the Avro Manchester, which during 1941 gradually began to replace the Hampdens, but unfortunately problems with the Manchester's Vulture engines led to them often being grounded for modifications to be undertaken.  Eventually, the Manchesters were replaced by the Avro Lancaster, which took the fuselage of the Manchester mated to a new wing fitted with four Merlin engines.  No 5 Group undertook a number of high profile raids with the Lancaster, the most famous probably being the daylight raid on the MAN engine works in Augsburg on 17 April 1942 and the attacks on the Ruhr dams on 16/17 May 1943 by No 617 Squadron, both of which resulted in the award of VC to their leaders, Sqn Ldr John Nettleton and Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, respectively.

Following the Dams raid, No 617 Squadron effectively became a 'special operations' unit and under Wg Cdr Leonard Cheshire soon began to acquire a reputation, with the squadron often acting as marker unit for the rest of the Group, rather than utilising the services of No 8 (Pathfinder) Group.  As a result No 5 Group was often tasked with carrying out other special operations, often involving No 617 Squadron and later No 9 Squadron, including the delivery of 12,000 lb 'Tallboy' and 22,000 lb 'Grand Slam' deep penetration bombs, against targets such as the Tirpitz and the Bielefeld viaduct.  By the end of the war it had flown 70,357 sorties and lost 1,888 aircraft on operations.  With the end of the war in Europe, No 5 Group began training to become part of 'Tiger Force', the proposed RAF bomber force to be sent to the Pacific to join in the final assault against Japan, but the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end before deployment could be made.  As a result the Group disbanded on 15 December 1945.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918          Lt Col F C Halahan

xx May 1918         Brig-Gen C L Lambe

15 May 1919 - 1 Sep 1937    Disbanded

17 Aug 1937         A/Cdre W B Callaway

11 Sep 1939         AVM A T Harris

22 Nov 1940         AVM N H Bottomley

12 May 1941         AVM J C Slessor

25 Apr 1942          AVM W A Coryton

28 Feb 1943          AVM The Hon R A Cochrane

16 Jan 1945           AVM H A Constantine

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 6 Group

It was formed at Covent Garden Hotel, London WC2 as No 6 (Equipment) Group on 1 Apr 1918 under the control of No 1 Area, which was redesignated South-Eastern Area on 8 May and was redesignated  Technical Group on 15 August 1918.

On 27 September 1918 it reformed at Taranto in Italy as No 6 (Adriatic) Group, being disbanded into No 66 Wing on 20 December 1918.

It reformed again on 1 May 1924, this time at Kenley as No 6 (Fighter) Group, but disbanded again on 20 May 1926 on being absorbed into Fighting Area.

Its next incarnation began on 1 May 1936 as No 6 (Auxiliary) Group by redesignating No 1 (Air Defence Group). It was located at 33/34 Tavistock Place, London WC1 (renumbered No 11 on 1 January 1938) and was responsible for the squadrons of the Auxiliary Air Force (including the ex-Special Reserve units).  On 14 July 1936 to was transferred to the newly formed Bomber Command and on 1 January 1939 was renamed No 6 (Bomber) Group.  It relocated to North Walsham Road, Old Catton, Norwich on 3 April 1939 and then to Abingdon on 5 September,  On 3 September1939 it assumed control of the Bomber Command squadrons allocated operational training, which in 1940 were reorganised into Operational Training Units.  It was disbanded by being redesignated No 91 Group on 11 May 1942.

Following the outbreak of war, the RCAF began sending units to the UK to join the fight against Nazi Germany, operating under the control of the RAF.  A number of these units were bomber squadrons for service with Bomber Command and initially they were spread throughout the Groups within the Command but by the autumn of 1942, sufficient bombers units had arrived or been formed in the UK to permit a RCAF Group to be formed within Bomber Command.  Therefore on 25 October 1942, No 6 (RCAF) (Bomber) Group was formed at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, moving to Allerton Park, near Knaresborough on 1 December, assuming executive control on 1 January 1943.  The Group took over the most northerly stations within Bomber Command from No 4 Group situated in North Yorkshire and County Durham and initially operated Wellingtons but these were gradually replaced by Halifaxes and later Lancasters.  By the end of the war it had flown 39,584 sorties and lost 784 aircraft on operations.  The Group disbanded on 31 August 1945 but a rear HQ remained at Allerton Park until 1 November.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918

15 Aug 1918 - 27 Sep 1918    Disbanded

15 Aug 1918         Col C R Samson

20 Dec 1918 - 1 May 1924    Disbanded

16 May 1924         A/Cdre C R Samson

20 May 1926 - 1 May 1936    Disbanded

14 Jul 1936            A/Cdre J C Quinnell

2 Sep 1939           AVM W F MacN Foster

16 Mar 1942         G/C - A/Cdre H S P Walmsley

25 Oct 1942          AVM G E Brookes RCAF  

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 7 Group

This was formed at 'Rokeby', Waine-a-Long Road, Salisbury on 1 April 1918 by renaming Southern Training Brigade in No 2 Area, which was redesignated South-Western Area on 8 May 1918.  The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918.  By the time it disbanded by being absorbed into HQ SW Area on 16 August 1919, it had moved to 'Delapre', Manor Road, Salisbury.

It reformed at 'Delapre', Manor Road, Salisbury when HQ South-Western Area was reduced to Group status, within Southern Area on 20 September 1919.  On 1 April 1920 it was transferred to Inland Area and disbanded into Wessex Bombing Area on 12 April 1926.

As the number of Operational Training Units increased during 1940 it was decided to form a second Group to relieve No 6 Group of sole responsibility so on 15 July 1940, it was reformed as No 7 (Operational Training) Group at Brampton Grange, Huntingdonshire.  It took over Nos 13, 14, 16 and 17 OTUs and moved to Winslow Hall, Winslow, Buckinghamshire on 1 September 1941 but was redesignated No 92 Group on 11 May 1942.  

It reformed on 1 November 1944, taking over No 5 Group's old HQ at "St Vincent's", Grantham to assume control over Bomber Command's Heavy Conversion Units.  The main HQ disbanded on 21 December 1945, with the remaining HCU's being transferred to No 91 Group but a Rear HQ remained until 10 February 1946.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Jul 1919         Gp Capt T C R Higgins

16 Aug 1919 - 20 Sep 1919    Disbanded

20 Sep 1919:      Gp Capt - A/Cdre T C R Higgins

 1 Sep 1922:        A/Cdre L E O Charlton

1 Jan 1923          A/Cdre E A D Masterman

26 Nov 1924      A/Cdre A M Longmore

1 Apr 1925         A/Cdre D Le G Pitcher

12 Apr 1926 - 15 Jul 1940    Disbanded

15 Jul 1940          A/Cdre The Hon R A Cochrane

 2 Nov 1940        A/Cdre L H Cockey

11 May 1942 - 1 Nov 1944    Disbanded

1 Nov 1944          AVM G S Hodson

23 Feb 1945         AVM E A B Rice

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 8 Group

This Group formed at 1 Cumberland Place, Southampton on 1 April 1918 in No 2 Area, which became South-Western Area on 8 May 1918. The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918 and it disbanded on 15 May 1919, with its units being taken over by No 7 Group.

It reformed at Brampton Grange, Huntingdonshire as No 8 (Light Day Bomber) Group on 1 September 1941 but disbanded on 28 January 1942 as the result of the arrival of USAAF units.  

The Pathfinder Force was formed at RAF Wyton under the administrative control of No 3 Group on 15 August 1942 but following expansion it was redesignated No 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group on 13 January 1943.  Moving to Castle Hill House, Huntingdon on 15 May 1943, it provided target making facilities to the rest of Bomber Command, except No 5 Group at times, for the remainder of the war and disbanded on 15 December 1945.  By the end of the war its heavy bombers had flown 22,838 sorties and lost 575 aircraft on operations, whilst the figures for its Mosquito units were 28,215 and 100 respectively.

Air Officers Commanding

xx xxx 1918         Brig-Gen J M Steel

15 May 1919 - 1 Sep 1941    Disbanded

 8 Sep 1941         A/Cdre F J Fogarty

xx Dec 1941         AVM D F Stevenson?

28 Jan 1942 - 13 Jan 1943    Disbanded

13 Jan 1943          AVM D C T Bennett

21 May 1945         AVM J R Whitley

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

 

No 9 Group

It was formed at Mount Wise, Plymouth on 1 April 1918 in No 2 Area, which became South-Western Area on 8 May 1918. The title (Operations) was added on 8 August 1918 and it disbanded on 15 May 1919.

It reformed as part of Fighter Command on 9 August 1940 as No 9 (Fighter) Group, to cover North-West England and Northern Ireland at Barton Hall, near Preston.  On 15 April 1943 it took over control of Fighter Command's OTUs on the disbandment of No 81 Group.  Its operational commitment was transferred to No 12 Group on 4 August 1944, retaining responsibility for operation training within the Command but on 17 September 1944 it was absorbed into No 12 Group.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918         Brig-Gen H D Briggs

15 May 1919 - 9 Aug 1940    Disbanded

16 Sep 1940          AVM W A McClaughry

xx Apr 1942          AVM L H Slatter

26 Jun 1942           AVM W F Dickson

xx xxx 1942:          A/Cdre C R Steele (Temp)

10 Nov 1942         AVM J W Jones

 2 Jul 1943             AVM L N Hollinghurst

 6 Nov 1943          A/Cdre C A Stevens (Temp)

7 Dec 1943            AVM D F Stevenson

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Members' Area

This page was last updated on 28/10/17

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