Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice Marshal S O Bufton (24184)

AVM S O BuftonSidney Osborne             b: 12 Jan 1908                r: 17 Oct 1961                     d: 29 Mar 1993

CB - 1 Jan 1945, DFC - 22 Nov 1940, LoM (Cdr) - 9 Oct 1945, ON(C)s - 18 Nov 1947, FRAeS 1970, High Sheriff (Radnorshire) - 1967

Plt Off (P): 9 Dec 1927, Plt Off: 9 Dec 1928, Fg Off: 9 Jun 1929, Flt Lt: 1 Apr 1933, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Sep 1942, Act A/Cdre: 10 Mar 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 10 Sep 1943, Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1943, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1948, Act AVM: 1 Sep 1952, AVM: 1 Jan 1953.

Photo courtesy - Maureen Teulier

 6 Jan 1928:            U/T Pilot, No 4 FTS.

 9 Dec 1928:           Pilot, No 100 Sqn.

xx xxx 1930:            Attended Central Flying School.

 5 Aug 1930:           QFI, No 5 FTS.

 5 Aug 1931:           Aircraft Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.

 1 Sep 1932:            Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flying Officer.

 8 Oct 1933:            Engineering Staff, Aircraft Depot, Iraq.


15 Sep 1936:          Staff Officer - T Tech, Directorate of Training.

23 Jan 1939:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1939:           Staff, Advanced Air Striking Force?

 1 Jul 1940:             Attended No 2 Course, No 19 OTU

 4 Jul 1940:             Attended No 10 OTU

21 Jul 1940:           Officer Commanding, No 10 Sqn. (Whitleys)

 3 Oct 1940:           Admitted to Catterick Hospital

 6 - 8 Nov 1940:    Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming (Temporary)

13 Mar 1941:         Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming/No 10 Sqn

12 Apr 1941:          Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming/No 76 Sqn. (Halifaxes)

19 Apr 1941:          Officer Commanding, No 76 Sqn. (Halifaxes)

xx Jun 1941:           Officer Commanding, RAF Pocklington.

14 Nov 1941:         Deputy Director of Bomber Operations.

10 Mar 1943:         Director of Bomber Operations.

xx xxx 1945:           AOC, No ? Group.? (Egypt)

xx xxx 1946:           Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1947:           Commandant, Central Bomber Establishment.

xx xxx 1948:           Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations/Plans), HQ Air Forces Western Europe.

21 Jan 1951:           Director of Weapons.

1 Sep 1952:            AOA, HQ Bomber Command.

12 Oct 1953:          AOC, HQ British Forces Aden. (see photo above)

15 Oct 1955:          SASO, HQ Bomber Command.

1 Aug 1958:            Assistant Chief of Staff (Intelligence).

Sid Bufton was a bomber specialist.  Having commanded two bomber squadrons in the early part of WW2, one of them being the first to be equipped with the four engined Halifax, he joined the Directorate of Bomber Operations at the Air Ministry and remained there for the rest of the war in Europe.  His practical experience as an operational pilot, clearly brought home to him the problems being experienced by the average squadron pilot serving with Bomber Command at that time.  Long before he arrived at the Air Ministry, he had suggested the need to utilize the more experienced and skilled crews in locating and marking targets for the benefit of the majority.  As Deputy Director of Bomber Operations, he started to put his ideas forwards but any form of elite or specialized unit was anathema to Sir Arthur Harris, C in C Bomber Command.  However, as the poor results of Bomber Command's operations became more and more obvious, pressure on Harris built up to the point were he was forced into forming such a unit, initially called The Pathfinder Force, it was eventually raised to Group status as No 8 (Pathfinder) Group.

During his tenure at the Air Ministry, he was to often find himself  at odds with the C in C, who disliked what he considered to the be the interference of bureaucrats and he considered Bufton to be his prime antagonist.  But the formation of The Pathfinders was not Bufton's only achievement.  Before the war, he had been a Welsh International Hockey player (1931 - 37) as well as playing for the RAF and the Combined Services.     Retiring from the RAF, he joined Radionic Ltd as an inventor and later became Managing Director until 1970.

This page was last updated on 07/10/21

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