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Air Vice-Marshal R N Bateson (39054)

Robert Norman                        b: 10 Jun 1912                      r: 1 Aug 1967                     d: 6 Mar 1986

CB - 1 Jan 1964, DSO – 28 Apr 1944, Bar – 22 Jun 1945, DFC – 14 Jan 1941.

Act Plt Off: 7 Sep 1936, Plt Off: 13 Jul 1937, Act Fg Off: 3 Aug 1938, Fg Off: 13 Feb 1939, Flt Lt (WS): 3 Sep 1940,Act Sqn Ldr: 18 Sep 1940 - 30 Jan 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1941, Sqn Ldr (WS): 26 Jan 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 21 Jan 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 1 Jun 1944, Act Gp Capt: xx Dec 1944?, (T) Wg Cdr: 3 Dec 1946 [1 Jul 1945], Sqn Ldr: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Jan 1941], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947 [1 Oct 1946], Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1952, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1958, Act AVM: 21 Sep 1959, AVM: 1 Jan 1960.

13 Jul 1936:             U/T Pilot, Brough Flying School

 7 Sep 1936:            Granted a Short Service Commission.

 7 Sep 1936:            Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot.

20 Sep 1936:           U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS

21 May 1937:          Pilot, No 103 Sqn.

 4 Jun 1937:             Pilot, No 113 Sqn.

 7 Jun 1937:            'B' Flight Commander, No 113 Sqn (Temporary?)

 3 Jan - Mar 1938:  'B' Flight Commander, No 113 Sqn

 3 Aug 1938:           'A' Flight Commander, No 113 Sqn

19 Sep 1940:           Officer Commanding (Temporary), No 113 Sqn

30 Jan 1941:            Air Staff, HQ RAF Middle East.

25 Apr 1941:           Air Staff - Ops Training, HQ No 202 Group

 7 Jul 1941:              Air Staff - Ops Training, HQ RAF Middle East.

26 Oct 1941:           Staff, HQ, No 270 Wing

 6 Jan 1942:            Officer Commanding, No 211 Sqn.

30 May 1942:         Officer Commanding, No 11 Sqn

13 Jul 1942:            Transferred to RAFO and called up for service

 9 Jan 1943:            Air Staff, HQ No 222 Group.

 5 Mar 1943:           En-route to UK

 9 Mar 1943:           Attended No 81 Course, No 18 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit.

Course photo of the pilots on No 81 Course (9 Mar - 7 May 1943), No 18 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, R N Bateson is on the front row

Photo courtesy - Roger Minost (is father is also on the front row)

27 Jul 1943:            Attended No 13 OTU.

19 Oct 1943:            Flight Commander, No 613 Sqn.

23 Feb 1944:           Officer Commanding, No 613 Sqn.

16 Jul 1944:             Air Staff, HQ No 2 Group.

10 Nov 1944:           Wing Commander Flying, No 136 Wing

14 Dec 1944:           Officer Commanding, No 140 Wing.

xx Nov 1945:           Officer Commanding, No 140 Wing/RAF Gutersloh.

26 Mar 1946:          Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945 antedated to 1 Jan 1941 on 25 Feb 1947]

 1 Apr 1946:            Attended RAF Staff College

28 Oct 1946:           Directing Staff, School of Combined Operations.

xx xxx xxxx:             Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College

28 Aug 1950:           Wing Commander - Flying, RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

 1 May 1951:            Supernumerary, RAF Duxford.

17 May 1951:            Officer Commanding, RAF Duxford.

16 Jan 1953:             Deputy Director of Operations (Air Defence) 

 3 Jul 1955:              UK Representative, NATO Standing Group, Washington.

20 Apr 1958 - 8 Mar 1960:           ADC to The Queen.

 1 Jan 1957:             Attended Imperial Defence College

12 Dec 1958:           Director of Operational Requirements (B).

21 Sep 1959:           Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operational Requirements).

 1 Jun 1961:             AOC, No 12 (Fighter) Group.

 4 Feb 1963:            SASO, HQ Fighter Command.

Joining No 113 Squadron at Upper Heyford, he initially flew the Hawker Hind, however the squadron moved to Grantham a couple of months  later.  The squadron moved overseas to Heliopolis in Egypt in May 1938 eventually converting to the  Bristol Blenheim I there in mid 1939.   He returned to 113 in 1941 as it's CO, by which time it was equipped with Mk IV Blenheims but still operating in the Middle East including Greece.  In early 1942, he was given command of No 211 Squadron and took it to the Far East as reinforcements. Arriving in Java the squadron soon suffered heavy losses but Bateson managed to keep control of a group of 13 officers and 51 men and was able to get them evacuated to Australia, arriving in Fremantle on 2 March 1942.

In 1943 he was posted to No 613 Squadron, which had just re-equipped with the De Havilland Mosquito, as a Flight Commander.  Within three months he was  appointed CO of 613 and began to make something of a name for himself in No 2 Group, leading low level attacks against precision targets first as a squadron commander and later as a wing leader.  These raids included an attack on the Gestapo HQ in The Hague on 11 Apr 1944 and the attack on 'Shell House' in Copenhagen in March 1945.

In 1950, he became the first pilot to use the newly opened runway at the famous Battle of Britain fighter station, Duxford.  Eleven years later on 31 July 1961, he was also to make the final 'official' take off from the same runway, when he flew a Meteor T7 from Duxford to mark it's closing as an RAF station.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Acting Squadron Leader Robert Norman BATESON (39054), No. 113 Squadron.

Squadron Leader Bateson has displayed great devotion to duty when leading his squadron during extensive operations during September and October, 1940. His leadership has in fact played a considerable part in forcing the enemy to abandon several of his military base ports. He has led operational formations on thirty-six occasions and often, after objectives have been attacked, he has had to force his way through superior numbers of enemy fighters. Squadron Leader Bateson has also carried out a long series of hazardous reconnaissance’s and has obtained vital information. Throughout the period of active operations he has displayed rare courage and devotion to duty.”

(London Gazette – 14 Jan 1941)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

“Acting Wing Commander Robert Norman BATESON, D.F.C. (39054) Reserve of Air Force Officers, No.613 Squadron.

This officer has displayed the highest standard of skill and leadership throughout the many and varied sorties in which he has participated.  In April, 1944, Wing Commander Bateson flew the leading aircraft of a formation detailed to attack a target in Holland.  The operation, which demanded a high degree of courage and determination, was completed, with success and reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of this  officer, whose leadership was outstanding.  His achievements have been worthy of great praise.”

 (London Gazette – 28 April 1944)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Service Order

“Acting Group Captain Robert Norman BATES ON, D.S.O., D.F.C., R.A.F.O.

Since being awarded the Distinguished Service Order this officer has completed very many sorties 'and the successes obtained are a splendid tribute to his exceptional skill great courage and unfailing devotion to duty.  In March, 1945, Group Captain Bateson led a large formation of aircraft in an attack on the headquarters of the German Gestapo in Copenhagen.  The operation called for the highest standard of skill as the target was small and well defended.  Nevertheless, the attack was pressed home with a determination and accuracy which ensured success.  In April,1945, this officer led his squadrons in an attack against a similar target at Odense.  In spite of opposition from the ground defences the attack was vigorously and accurately pressed home.  By his brilliant leadership.  Group Captain Bateson played an important part in the success of these notable sorties.”

(London Gazette – 22 Jun 1945)

'The First Desert Campaign' 

This page was last updated on 24/04/24©

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