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Air Marshal Sir Roy Austen-Smith (164845)

Roy David Austen      b: 28 Jun 1924                        r: 1 Nov 1981                 d: 27 Mar 2021

KBE – 16 Jun 1979, CB – 14 Jun 1975, CVO – 1 Jan 1994, DFC – 6 Mar 1953.

(RAFVR): AC2:  5 Sep 1942, LAC: xx xxx 1942, Sgt: xx xxx 1943, Plt Off: 7 Apr 1944, Fg Off (WS): 7 Oct 1944, Flt Lt: 7 Oct 1947,

(RAF): Flt Lt: 15 Jan 1948, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1954, Act Wg Cdr: 19 Apr 1960, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1960, Act Gp Capt: 17 Dec 1965, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1966, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1970, Act AVM: 14 Feb 1972, AVM: 1 Jan 1973, AM: 1 Jan 1979.

 5 Sep 1942:           U/T Pilot, RAFVR (1808356)

xx xxx 1943:           U/T Pilot, No 11 EFTS, Canada

xx xxx 1943:           U/T Pilot, No 8 SFTS, Canada

xx xxx 1943:           NCO Pilot, No 1 OTU, Canada (1624619)

 7 Apr 1944:           Appointed to a Commission in the RAFVR

xx xxx 1944:            Attended No 53 OTU

27 Mar 1945:          Pilot, No 41 Sqn.

 2 May 1946:           Pilot, No 26 Sqn.

15 Aug 1946:          Appointed to an Extended Service Commission, wef 1 Apr 1946.

15 Jan 1948:           Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant

xx xxx 1949:           Pilot, No 60 Sqn

xx May 1950:         'B' Flight Commander, No 33 Sqn.

xx Jun 1953:           Squadron Commander, Cadet Wing, RAF College - Cranwell.

xx xxx 1956:           Attended Jet Conversion Course

xx xxx 1956:           Flight Commander, No 73 Sqn.

19 Apr 1960:          Air Staff, Department of the CAS.

xx xxx xxxx:            Attended Joint Services Staff College

24 Jul 1964:            Officer Commanding, No 57 Sqn.

17 Dec 1966:          Air Staff - Plans, HQ 2 ATAF.

 6 Dec 1968:           Officer Commanding, RAF Wattisham.

26 Mar 1970:          Director of Personnel (Air).

14 Feb 1972:          Special Duty, Air Staff

23 Sep 1972:          Commandant, RAF College - Cranwell.

 8 Nov 1975:          SASO, HQ Near East Air Force.

 2 Apr 1976:           Commander, British Forces Near East/AOC, AHQ Cyprus.

 2 Apr 1976:          The Administrator, British Sovereign Base Areas - Cyprus.

 4 Aug 1978:          Head of British Defence Staff/Defence Attaché, Washington.

1 Nov 1982:           Gentleman Usher to HM the Queen.

28 Jun 1994:           Extra Gentleman Usher to HM the Queen.

Following retirement, Sir Roy served HM the Queen directly, firstly as a Gentleman Usher from 1982 until 1994 and since then as an Extra Gentleman Usher.  He was christened Roy Smith but changed his name to Austen-Smith on promotion to Group Captain.   Educated at Hurstpierpoint College, he joined the RAF in 1943 and undertook his pilot training in Canada.  On returning to the UK he was assigned to No 41 Sqn then part of the RAF's 2nd TAF equipped with the Griffon engined Spitfire XIV's.  Carrying out armed recce missions the squadron followed the advancing armies through Holland into Germany itself.  He was credited with one destroyed and one damaged.

Posted to Malaya in 1950 he took part in 'Operation Firedog' flying the Hawker Tempest II and then the De Havilland Hornet, the fastest piston engined service aircraft in the world.  It was during these operations that he was awarded his DFC.  Following a tour on the staff of the RAF College, he returned to the operational world when he joined No 73 Sqn at Akrotiri in Cyprus as a Flight Commander.  When he joined them, they were equipped with the Venom fighter-bomber, but it was not long before the squadron was re-equipped with the Canberra and re-roled in the light bomber role.  He then spent a further spell in the labyrinth of  the Air Ministry before taking command of No 57 Sqn at Honington.  57 was part of the V-Force and was equipped with Victors, but it was during his tour in command that the squadron changed roles from bomber to tanker.

He was appointed Gentleman Usher to the Queen in 1982 and Extra Gentleman Usher in 1994.


This page was last updated on 07/04/22©

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