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Air Vice-Marshal A J Capel


A J Capel - 1915Arthur John               b: 11 Dec 1894                        r: 3 Nov 1945                        d: 18 Apr 1979

CB - 1 Jan 1943, DSO - 20 Nov 1925, DFC - 18 Jan 1925, MiD - 11 Jul 1940, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, MiD 1 Jan 1946, JP 1946, DL (Somerset) 12 Jun 1952, Shf (Somerset) 10 Mar 1952.

(Army): - 2 Lt: 11 Nov 1914, Lt: 9 Mar 1916, (T) Capt: 16 Apr 1916, (T) Maj: 30 Jul 1917.

(RAF): - (T) Maj [Capt]: 1 Apr 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1923, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1931, Gp Capt:  1 Jan 1937, A/Cdre: 1 Apr 1939, Act AVM: 1-27 Jun 1940; 24 Mar 1941, (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1942, AVM: Retained.

xx xxx xxxx:                Attended RMC Sandhurst.

11 Nov 1914:               Officer, Somerset Light Infantry.

12 Nov 1914:               Attached to RFC

30 Nov 1914:               Graded Qualified Observer

20 Aug 1915:                Returned to Home Establishment

 3 Nov 1915:                Flying Officer (Observer), No 4 Sqn RFC.

xx xxx xxxx:                   U/T Pilot,

16 Apr 1916:                Graded Flight Commander, RFC.

16 Jun 1916:                 Flight Commander, No 1 Sqn RFC. (Nieuport 17, Nieuport 27 Western Front)  

30 Jul 1917:                  Officer Commanding, No 94 Sqn RFC .

28 Feb 1919:                Officer Commanding, No 92 Sqn. (SE5A Germany)

 1 Aug 1919:           Resigned his commission in the Somerset Light Infantry on appointment to a Permanent Commission in the RAF.

 1 Aug 1919:                Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain  

xx Aug 1919:                Officer Commanding, No 43 Sqn. (Snipe Germany/Spittlegate)

23 Dec 1919:                Staff, Ground Wing, RAF (Cadet) College.

 3 Apr 1922:                 Adjutant, HQ RAF Cranwell.

19 Jan 1923:                 Instructor, RAF (Cadet) College (Ground Wing).

26 Mar 1923:               Staff, RAF (Cadet) College.

23 Nov 1923:               Officer Commanding, No 5 Sqn. (Bristol F2B India)

5 Nov 1928:                 Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

11 Mar 1929:               Staff, School of Army Co-operation.

21 Jan 1931:                 Attended Army Staff College, Camberley.

 4 - 22 Jan 1933:          Placed on half pay list, scale A

23 Jan 1933:                 Liaison Duties with Aldershot Garrison, HQ No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.

 7 - 24 Sep 1933:         Attached, RAF Netheravon

30 Oct - 24 Nov 1933:    Attended Counter Battery Course, School of Artillery.

 5 Feb 1934:                 SASO, HQ No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group

21 Dec 1934:                Directing Staff, Army Staff College, Camberley.

29 Jul 1936:                  Commandant, School of Army Co-operation/OC, RAF Old Sarum

17 Jan 1939:                 Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1939:                 SASO, HQ Air Component of the BEF. (originally appointed as AOA)

xx Mar 1940:                AOC, No 2 Component, Field Force (disbanded 31 Mar 1940)

31 Mar 1940:               ?, Reserve Command

 1 Jun 1940:                 AOC, HQ No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.

29 Jun 1940:                Supernumerary, Air Ministry.

 4 Jul 1940:                  Director of War Tactics and Training

xx xxx 1940:                Director of Operational Training

24 Mar 1941:              AOC, No 20 (Training) Group

 xx Jul 1941:               Air Officer - Training, HQ Bomber Command.

He gained RAeC Certificate No 1615 on 19 August 1915.  In 1925 he was involved in 'Pink's War', for which he received the DSO.  During this period he was captured by dissident tribesmen, but still managed to direct operations.  He was a member of Somerset County Council. from 1962 64.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order.

CAPEL, Arthur John, S/L, DFC - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 20 November 1925

"in recognition of gallant and distinguished service carried out by the Royal Air Force in Waziristan, March 9, 1925 to May 1, 1925".  

Air 30/62/1-9 has the following submission:

"During the operations in Waziristan, which extended from the 9th March 1925 to the 1st May 1925, this officer showed great gifts of air leadership and set a brilliant example to his squadron.  He performed over 40 hours war flying which included 30 bomb raids."

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

CAPEL, Arthur John, S/L - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 January 1925.

"in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Waziristan". 

The report of his DFC award in Aeroplane stated: - 

"Squadron Leader Capel has been in command of No.5 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron, RAF, stationed at Dardoni since November 1923.  He was previously Adjutant at the RAF College, Cranwell, and was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader on January 1, 1923"

 Air 30/58 has the following:

 "This officer has been in command of a squadron engaged in bombing operations against hostile tribesmen, and his example in leading his squadron in person on bombing raids has been of the greatest value.

On 28th July 1924, while operating against the Mahauds, Squadron Leader Capel fell into the hands of the enemy.  His conduct during captivity was such as to facilitate the successful conclusion of the operations.  Despite the risk of being bombed by British aircraft he succeeded in conveying useful information to his Headquarters."

This page was last updated on 29/10/22

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