Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Group No's 10 - 19


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No 10 Group

This Group was formed at Calshot on 1 April 1918 in No 2 Area, which became South-Western Area on 8 May 1918 to control ex RNAS units in the Southampton area.  In June it relocated to Warsash, near Southampton and on 8 August (Operations) was added to its title.  It was transferred to the direct control of the Air Ministry on 15 August 1919  but a month later it came under the control of Coastal Area, on its formation and moved to Lee-on-Solent on 12 July 1920.  Together with HQ Coastal Area and No 29 Group it controlled the RAF's naval co-operation resources until 1922, when No 29 Group disbanded after which the various units were shared between HQ Coastal Area and No 10 Group but on 18 January 1932 HQ Coastal Area assumed direct responsibility for all units and No 10 Group disbanded.

It reformed at Rudloe Manor, Box on 1 June 1940 as No 10 (Fighter) Group in Fighter Command, to provide fighter cover over South-West England, becoming operational on 8 July 1940.  Squadrons were regularly rotated between the various Groups of Fighter Command, as operations dictated and the Group finally disbanding on being absorbed into No 11 Group on 2 May 1945.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             Lt Col/Col A W Bigsworth

1 Aug 1919             Gp Capt H P Smyth Osbourne

27 Jul 1921             Gp Capt J L Forbes

1 Dec 1924             A/Cdre E A D Masterman

6 Apr 1928             A/Cdre T C R Higgins

1 Nov 1929             A/Cdre A W Bigsworth

1 Oct 1931             Wg Cdr L C Kemble (Temporary)?

1 Nov 1931             Gp Capt-A/Cdre N J Gill

18 Jan 1932 - 1 Jun 1940    Disbanded

15 Jun 1940            AVM Sir Quintin Brand

22 Jul 1941             AVM A H Orlebar

4 Nov 1942            AVM W F Dickson

5 May 1943            AVM C R Steele

3 Jun 1944              A/Cdre A V Harvey

10 Jul 1944             AVM J B Cole-Hamilton

Nov 1944               ?

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

No 11 Group

It was first formed at Chafyn Grove, Salisbury School, Salisbury on 1 April 1918 as No 11 (Equipment) Group in No 2 Area, which became South-Western Area on 8 May 1918, disbanding on 17 May 1918.

It reformed at 9 Merrion Square, Dublin as No 11 (Irish) Group on 22 August 1918 in North Western Area, to control training and supply units in Ireland. After the Armistice the Group took on a more operational role, supporting ground forces involved in combating Irish republicans.  By October 1919, these units consisted of Nos 105 and 141 Squadrons and on 1 November the Group HQ moved to 165 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, but three weeks later was at RAF Baldonnel.  It was reduced to wing status as No 11 Wing in April 1920.

It reformed again at Hillingdon House, Uxbridge on 1 May 1936 as No 11 (Fighter) Group by renaming Fighting Area in ADGB, being transferred to Fighter Command on its formation on 14 July 1936.  Being responsible for the air defence of London and the South-East of England, it bore the brunt of the fighting during the Battle of Britain.  After the battle, its units began to carry out offensive sorties over occupied Europe, mainly Northern France.  On 15 November 1943, Fighter Command was renamed Air Defences of Great Britain, with No 11 Group remaining under its control but on 15  October 1944 ADGB reverted to the title Fighter Command.  During this period the Group remained responsible for air defence of the South-East as well carrying out offensive sorties in support the forthcoming invasion of Normandy, Operation 'Overlord'.  It was also responsible for dealing with the V-1 flying bombs that began being launched from the continent from mid-June 1944 and continued in this role until the launching sites had been over-run by the advancing Armies. 

The Group remained part of Fighter Command after the war, although its area of responsibility was increased as the number of groups was reduced.  On 2 June 1958, it finally left Uxbridge and relocated to RAF Martlesham Heath, where it disbanded on 31 December 1960.  However, the following day it reformed by redesignating No 13 Group at Ouston, before moving to Leconfield on 25 September 1961 and was renamed No 11 (Northern) Sector on 1 April 1963.

It reformed as No 11 (Fighter) Group again on 1 April 1968 at Bentley Priory within Strike Command to take over the role of Fighter Command.  The title (Fighter) was dropped on 1 September 1972 but had adopted the title (Air Defence) by January 1986.  On 1 April 1996 it was absorbed into a new No 11/18 Group, responsible for air defence, maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918

17 May 1918 - 22 Aug 1918    Disbanded

Aug 1918 ?

6 Feb 1920             Gp Capt I M Bonham-Carter

May 1920 - 1 May 1936    Disbanded

14 Jul 1936             AVM P B Joubert de la Ferte

7 Sep 1936             AVM E L Gossage

xx Jan 1940:            AVM W L Welsh

20 Apr 1940           AVM K R Park

18 Dec 1940           AVM T L Leigh-Mallory

28 Nov 1942          AVM H W L Saunders

1 Nov 1944            AVM J B Cole-Hamilton

20 Jul 1945             AVM D A Boyle

24 Apr 1946           AVM S D Macdonald

1 Jun 1948              AVM S F Vincent

9 Jan 1950               AVM T G Pike

5 Jul 1951                AVM The Earl of Bandon

1 Nov 1953             AVM H L Patch

16 Jan 1956             AVM V S Bowling

12 Jan 1959             AVM A Foord Kelcey

 1 Jan 1961              AVM H J Maguire

13 Jan 1962             AVM G T B Clayton

1 Apr 1963 - 1 Apr 1968    Renamed No 11 (Northern) Sector

30 Apr 1968                          AVM R I Jones

 2 Feb 1970                           AVM I G Broom

 6 Dec 1972                           AVM R W G Freer

15 Mar 1975                          AVM W Harbison

14 Mar 1977                          AVM D P Hall

 3 Sep 1977                           AVM P A Latham

 7 Jan 1981                            AVM P R Harding

11 Aug 1982                          AVM K W Hayr

 1 Aug     1985                       AVM M J D Stear

17 Mar 1989                          AVM W J Wratten

16 Sep 1991                           AVM D Allison

15 Jul 1994                             AVM A J C Bagnall

 

No 11 (Northern) Sector/Sector South

This was formed on at Leconfield in 1 April 1963 by renaming No 11 (Fighter) Group to control Fighter Command units in Northern England.  By 17 March 1965 it was based at Boulmer and on that date also took over the responsibilities of No 13 (Scotland) Sector.   With the formation of Strike Command, and No 11 (Fighter) Group, No 11 Sector became Sector South within the Group and finally amalgamated with Sector North on 9 January 1992.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1963                          AVM G T B Clayton

11 Jan 1964                         AVM W T Brooks

xx xxx 1965

No 11/18 Group

This was formed on 1 April 1996 at Bentley Priory by amalgamating No's 11 and 18 Groups, although the 18 Group personnel remained at Northwood.  It was now responsible for responsible for air defence, maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue.  As the RAF continued to contract, it was finally disbanded on 7 January 2000, with its assets being absorbed into No's 1 & 2 Groups.

Air Officers Commanding

 1 Apr 1996                           AVM C R Spink.

xx Jul 1998                             AVM B K Burridge

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

 

No 12 Group

On 1 April 1918, the RNAS's Central Training Establishment at Cranwell was redesigned No 12 Group as part of No 3 Area, which became Midland Area on 8 May 1918. The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918 and with the disbandment of Midland Area it was transferred to Northern Area on 18 October 1919. It was absorbed into the RAF (Cadet) College on 1 November 1919.

It reformed at Uxbridge on 1 April 1937 as No 12 (Fighter) Group in Fighter Command to provide air defence cover of the Midlands and North of England, moving to Hucknall the following month.  With the formation of No 13 Group in March 1939, it handed over responsibility for the defence of northern England, leaving it to concentrate on the Midlands.  Whilst not being directly responsible for the defence of London during the Battle of Britain, it was tasked with the defence of No 11 Group's airfields, which led to the Group becoming involved in the battle further south.  It was during the battle that a clash of opinions over the tactics being employed between the AOC of 12 Group, AVM Trafford Leigh-Mallory and AOC, 11 Group, AVM Keith Park, occurred.  This clash centred around the 'Big Wing' concept, proposed by Sqn Ldr Douglas Badar and whilst its employment eventually proved successful for 12 Group, it would have been unworkable for 11 Group, who would not have had the time to assemble such large forces.  After the battle, its units began to carry out offensive sorties over occupied Europe, often using stations in other Groups to refuel, as well as continuing to defence the industrial centres of the Midlands.  On 15 November 1943, Fighter Command was renamed Air Defences of Great Britain, with No 12 Group remaining under its control but on 15  October 1944 ADGB reverted to the title Fighter Command.  During this period the Group remained responsible for air defence of the Midland as well carrying out offensive sorties in support the forthcoming invasion of Normandy, Operation 'Overlord'.  Once the V-1 flying bomb sites on the continent were over-run, the Germans began launching the missiles from bombers flying over the North Sea, thereby moving the main responsibility for their interception to No 12 Group.

On 17 September 1944 the Group absorbed No 9 Group and on 20 December 1946 moved to RAF Newton , were it remained until 14 August 1959 when it moved to RAF Horsham St Faith.  It was disbanded by being redesignated No 12 (East Anglia) Sector on 31 March 1963.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             Brig-Gen H D Briggs

 1 May 1919:          Brig-Gen F R Scarlett

 1 Nov1919 - 1 Apr 1937    Disbanded

1 Apr 1937             AVM J H S Tyssen

4 Dec 1937             AVM T L Leigh-Mallory

xx Dec 1940           AVM R E Saul

29 Nov 1942          AVM J O Andrews

1 Jun 1943              AVM R M Hill

22 Nov 1943          AVM M Henderson

1 Jan 1945              AVM J W Baker

xx Jun 1946            AVM T C Traill

17 Nov 1948          AVM G Harcourt-Smith

1 Jun 1951              AVM R L R Atcherley

13 Nov 1953          AVM W J Crisham

25 Jun 1956            AVM H P Fraser

 1 Aug 1958 - xx xxx xxxx            A/Cdre C H Hartley (CoS)

 1 Jan 1959            AVM J R A Embling

20 Jul 1959             AVM C H Hartley

1 Jun 1961              AVM R N Bateson

xx xxx 1963            No appointment

 

No 12 (East Anglia) Sector/Sector North

The is formed as No 12 (East Anglia) at RAF Horsham St Faith on 1 April 1963 by renaming No 12 (Fighter) Group.  It moved to RAF Neatishead on 29 May 1963.  With the formation of Strike Command, and No 11 (Fighter) Group on 1 April 1968, No 12 Sector became Sector North within the Group and finally amalgamated with Sector South on 9 January 1992.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 63               A/Cdre F D S Scott-Malden

25 Mar 1964         A/Cdre A C Deere

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

 

No 13 Group

Originally formed at Birmingham on 1 April 1918 in No 3 Area., which became Midland Area on 8 May 1918, the title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918. By November 1918 it had moved to 'Dorincourt', Upton, Cheshire but on 6 August 1919 it moved to Shotwick, where it disbanded into No 3 Group on 18 October 1919.

It reformed at Hucknall on 15 March 1939 as No 13 (Fighter) Group in Fighter Command to cover the north of England and Scotland, becoming operational on 25 May.  On 24 July 1939 it moved to Kenton Bar, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the n on 5 September to Blakelaw Estate, Ponteland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  Although not directly involved in the operations taking place over southern England during the Battle of Britain, the Group was called upon to fend off a major Luftwaffe attack on 15 August, when German aircraft operating from Norway attacked airfield in the north.  The Group began to see more action in its area once the 'Blitz' began as the Luftwaffe carried out attacks against the industrial centres, such as Sheffield and the ports of Hull and those along the East Coast.  On 16 July 1943 the Group absorbed No 14 Group and moved its HQ to Drummossie Hotel, near Inverness, which was renamed RAF Drummossie on 1 December 1944.  With the war over the Group relocated to RAF Dalcross, where it disbanded on 20 May 1946.

It reformed, once again on 4 April 1955 at Watnall, before moving to Ouston on 1 July but disbanded on 31 December 1961 by being renamed No 11 Group.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             ?

18 Oct 1919 - 15 Mar 1939    Disbanded

24 Jul 1939             AVM R E Saul

4 Feb 1941             AVM J O Andrews

27 Nov 1942           AVM M Henderson

15 Nov 1943           AVM S F Vincent

26 Jan 1944             A/Cdre J A Boret

xx xxx 1945             Vacant

7 Jul 1945                ?

20 May 1946 - 16 May 1955    Disbanded

16 May 1955           AVM W G Cheshire

1 Jul 1957                AVM A Earle

9 Nov 1959             AVM H J Maguire

 

No 13 (Scottish) Sector

This was formed on 1 April 1963 at RAF Boulmer but was amalgamated with No 11 Sector on 17 March 1965.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1963             AVM R J P Prichard

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

 

No 14 Group

This was formed at St Mary's Street, Haverfordwest by renaming Milford Haven Anti-Submarine Group on 1 April 1918 in 3 Area, which was redesignated Midland Area on 8 May 1918.  The title (Operations) was  added on 8 August 1918.  It moved to Pembroke on 1 April 1919, where it disbanded on 19 May 1919.

It reformed at Achicourt, in France on 20 January 1940 as No 14 (Fighter) Group by renaming No 60 Wing within Air Component, BEF. It assumed control of Nos 60 and 61 Wings but following the collapse of France it returned to the UK and disbanded on 22 June 1940.

A week later on 29 Jun 1940 it reformed again, this time at Drummossie House, near Inverness, to provide air defence cover to Scotland, assuming administrative control on 29 August and operational control on 1 September.  On 1 March1943 it moved to Craigmore but was was disbanded on 15 July 1943, being absorbed into No 13 Group.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             Lt Col R C Hayes

19 May 1919 - 20 Jan 1940    Disbanded

20 Jan 1940             Gp Capt P F Fullard

20 Jul 1940              AVM M Henderson

10 Feb 1942            AVM J H D'Albiac

21 Mar 1942            AVM R Collishaw

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

 

No 15 Group

It was formed at the Children's Hospital, Broad Street, Birmingham on 1 April 1918 as No 15 (Equipment) Group in No 3 Area, which became Midland Area on 8 May 1918. It controlled a number of Aircraft Acceptance Parks in the No 3/Midland Area but disbanded in June 1918.

It reformed at Mudros on 27 September 1918 as No 15 (Aegean) Group to control 62 and 63 Wings at Mudros as well as HMS Ark Royal.  In June 1919 it moved to Constantinople, where it disbanded on 1 September 1919.

It reformed once again, this time at Lee-on-Solent on 15 March 1939 as No 15 (Reconnaissance) Group in Coastal Command to control maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarines assets in the South West, Western Approaches and Irish Sea. It moved a number of times, the first being to Mount Wise in Plymouth on 7 June 1939, where it became operational on 14 June, then to Egg Buckland Keep, Plymouth on 16 August 1940 and finally to Derby House, Exchange Buildings, Liverpool on 28 February 1941.  This last move was to place it nearer to the recently formed Western Naval Command ands on 9 April 1941 it assumed control of RAF units in Iceland.  It continued to operate from here for the rest of the war until it was disbanded on 1 August 1945 by being absorbed into RAF Northern Ireland. 

For details of its areas of operation, see the maps in the Members' Area

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918

? 1918 - 27 Sep 1918    Disbanded

1 Apr 1918             Col R Gordon?

1 Sep 1919 - 15 Mar 1939    Disbanded

1 Jun 1939             A/Cdre R G Parry

1941 - 42              AVM J M Robb

 4 Apr 1942           AVM D Colyer

16 Nov 1942         AVM T A Langsford-Sainsbury

21 Feb 1943          AVM L H Slatter

30 Jun 1945           No Appointment?

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

 

No 16 Group

This was Formed at Fossgate, York on 1 April 1918 by renaming Northern Training Brigade in No 4 Area, which was redesignated North-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918.  The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918 and when North-Eastern Area was disbanded it was transferred to Northern Area on 12 June 1919.  By 18 October 1919 it had moved to Tadcaster but on that date moved to Acomb Hall, York at the same taking over No 7, 8 and 9 Wings from the disbanded Northern Area, finally disbanding on 7 February 1920.

It reformed at Wykeham Hall, Lee-on-Solent on 1 December 1936 as No 16 (Reconnaissance) Group in Coastal Command to control maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarines assets in the South East, Channel and North Sea.  On 1 December 1937, it moved to RAF Lee-on-Solent, then to Chatham on 26 September 1938, back to Lee0on-Solent on on 8 October before settling at Black Lion Fields, Gillingham, Kent on 8 November 1938.   It operated in conjunction with RN Chatham throughout the war and was disbanded by being reduced to No 16 Wing on 8 March 1946. 

For details of its areas of operation, see the maps in the Members' Area

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             ?

7 Feb 1920 - 1 Dec 1936    Disbanded

27 Apr 1937            A/Cdre H M Cave-Browne-Cave

17 Aug 1938            Gp Capt I T Lloyd (Temporary)

29 Sep 1938            Gp Capt-A/Cdre R L G Marix (initially in an acting capacity whilst SASO)

xx Jan 1940             AVM J H S Tyssen

xx Feb 1942             AVM I T Lloyd

1942 - 43                 AVM B E Baker

28 Jul 1943              AVM F L Hopps

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

 

No 17 Group

This was formed at 16 Windsor Crescent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 1 April 1918 in No 4 Area, which was redesignated North-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918.  The title (Training) was added on 8 August 1918 but this was changed (Newcastle) on 1 July 1919.  On 1 October 1919, it moved to Marske, absorbing No 20 Group at the same time, finally disbanding on 18 October 1919.

It reformed at Wykeham Hall, Lee-on-Solent on1 December 1936 as No 17 (Training) Group in Coastal Command, responsible for all the training units within the command.   On 1 December 1937, it moved to RAF Lee-on-Solent, then to Fort Grange, Gosport on 24 February 1939 before settling at the Mackenzie Hotel, 58 Melville Street, Edinburgh 3 on 5 February 1942.  It finally disbanded on 1 September 1945, with its units being transferred to No 18 Group.

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918            ?

18 Oct 1919 - 5 Mar 1937    Disbanded

5 Mar 1937             A/Cdre C D Breese

13 Nov 1938           A/Cdre T E B Howe

17 Nov 1941           AVM H G Smart

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

 

No 18 Group

It was originally formed in Birmingham on 1 Apr 1918 in No 4 Area, which became North-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918.  In June it moved to Habrough, with the title (Operations) being added on 8 August 1918. It was retitled (Naval) on 26 June 1919, transferred to the newly formed Coastal Area on 15 September 1919 but disbanded on 18 October 1919.

It reformed at RAF Lee-on-Solent on 1 September 1938 as No 18 (Reconnaissance) Group in Coastal Command, moving to Donibristle on 27 September 1938.  A brief return to Lee-on-Solent took place on 11 October, then back to Donibristle on ten days later, before settling at Pitreavie Castle, Rosyth on 20 May 1939.  Responsible for Coastal Command's operational assets from Flamborough Head around the coast to the Mull of Kintyre.  When No 15 Group relocated to Liverpool, No 18's area was reduced ending at the north-west tip of the Scottish mainland (See maps in the Members' Area).  By 1943 it had been redesignated No 18 (General Reconnaissance) Group and continued to control maritime reconnaissance units into the post-war period until it was disbanded on 28 November 1969 by being redesignated HQ Northern Maritime Air Region.

The same day it was reformed within Strike Command as No 18 (Maritime) Group at Northwood, Middlesex, to take over the role of Coastal Command on its disbandment.  On 1 September 1972 the (Maritime) title was dropped but by January 1986 it had become No 18 (Maritime & Patrol) Group.  Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the RAF began to contract and as a result it was disbanded by merging it with No 11 Group on 1 April 1996 to form No 11/18 Group.

For details of its areas of operation during WW2, see the maps in the Members' Area

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918             Col H A Williamson

18 Oct 1919 - 1 Sep 1938    Disbanded

27 Sep 1938             A/Cdre C D Breese

24 Mar 1941            AVM R L G Marix

10 Feb 1942            AVM A Durston

25 Jan 1943             AVM A B Ellwood

22 Feb 1944            AVM S P Simpson

1947 - 48                 AVM E J Kingston-McClaughry

17 Jun 1948             AVM D V Carnegie

1 Nov 1950             AVM H T Lydford

29 Sep 1952            AVM R L Ragg

1 Apr 1955              AVM P D Cracroft

29 Sep 1958            AVM A D Selway

7 Jul 1961                AVM R B Thomson

15 Feb 1963            AVM K V Garside

25 Sep 1965            AVM A V R Johnstone

1 Oct 1968              AVM F D Hughes

28 Nov 1969           AM Sir Robert Craven

19 Nov 1972           AM Sir Anthony Heward

 3 Mar 1973            AM Sir Douglas Lowe

18 Sep 1975            AM Sir Robert Freer

30 Sep 1978            AM Sir Philip Lageson

10 May 1980           AM Sir John Curtiss

31 Mar 1983            AM Sir John Fitzpatrick

21 Mar 1986            AM Sir Barry Duxbury

25 Oct 1989             AM Sir Michael Stear

 1 May 1992             AM Sir John Harris

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

 

No 19 Group

Originally formed on 1 April 1918 in No 4 Area as No 19 (Equipment) Group at the Racecourse Building on the Knavesmire in York, it was transferred to North-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918 when No 4 Area was renamed, however, the it was disbanded the following month.

It was reformed on 5 February 1941 as No 19 (General Reconnaissance) Group within Coastal Command at Mount Wise in Plymouth.  It worked alongside the Royal Navy’s Plymouth Command throughout World War Two but on 28 July 1947 relocated to RAF Mount Batten.  It continued to operate from there until disbanded by being renaming HQ Southern Maritime Air Region on 28 November 1969.

For details of its areas of operation during WW2, see the maps in the Members' Area

Air Officers Commanding

1 Apr 1918            ?

? - 5 Feb 1941    Disbanded

16 Feb 1941          A/Cdre G H Boyce

1942                     AVM G R Bromet

28 Jul 1943           AVM B E Baker

 1 Dec 1944          AVM F H M Maynard

1945 - 47              AVM C B S Spackman

19 Aug 1947          AVM F L Hopps

8 Feb 1950            AVM G R C Spencer

18 Feb 1952          AVM T C Traill

24 Aug 1954          AVM G W Tuttle

10 Jul 1956            AVM G I L Saye

1 May 1959           AVM L W C Bower

27 Jan 1962           AVM S W R Hughes

1 Jul 1964              AVM J Barraclough

9 Feb 1967            AVM J H Lapsley

1 Aug 1968            AVM C M Clementi

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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