Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Home Page

Main Menu

Quick Menu

Members' Area

What New?

About this site


Help Needed?



Sign Guest Book

View Guest Book

Link to Amazon

Online Store

Contact Me

Air Commodore A E Clouston (29162)

Arthur Edmond             b: 7 Apr 1908                     r: 7 Apr 1960                     d: 1 Jan 1984

CB – 1 Jan 1957, DSO – 14 Apr 1944, DFC – 1 Oct 1943, AFC – 1 Jan 1938, Bar - 1 Jan 1940

Plt Off (P)?: 10 Oct 1930, Plt Off: 10 Oct 1931, Fg Off: 10 Apr 1932, Flt Lt: 1 Oct 1939, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1941, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1942, Act Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 1 Sep 1944, Sqn Ldr: 16 Apr 1946 [1 Aug 1940], Wg Cdr:  N/A, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1947, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1954.

25 Oct 1930:           U/T Pilot, No 3 FTS.

 7 Apr 1931:            Pilot, No 25 Sqn. (Fury I)

29 Aug 1934:           Pilot, No 24 Sqn.

10 Oct 1935            Transferred to RAFO, Class A.

xx xxx 1935:          Civilian Test Pilot, RAE Farnborough

xx xxx 1939:            Service Test Pilot, RAE Farnborough

 1 Nov 1940:           Attached, No 219 Sqn.

xx Mar 1943:           Officer Commanding, No 224 Sqn. (Liberator V)

xx Feb 1944:           Officer Commanding, RAF Langham.

xx May 1945:          Officer Commanding, B151/RAF Buckeburg

16 Apr 1946 :         Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time). [wef 1 Sep 1945 antedated to 1 Aug 1940 on 25 Feb 1947]

xx xxx xxxx:            Officer Commanding, RNZAF Ohakea

xx Feb 1950:          Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming.

xx Jul 1950:            Commandant, Empire Test Pilots School.

 5 Oct 1953:           SASO, HQ, No 19 Group.

 1 Aug 1954:           AOC, AHQ Singapore.

xx xxx 1957:            Commandant, A. & A.E.E.

Having learned to fly in his native New Zealand, he joined the RAF on a short service commission and was posted to No 3 FTS at Grantham (Spittlegate).  Joining 3 FTS on the same course as K B B Cross (later ACM Sir Kenneth), he was promoted to the senior term after only 2 - 3 hours owing to his previous experience.  Posted to No 25 Squadron flying Fury I's at Hawkinge, he spent the next three years there before moving to No 24 Squadron at Hendon.  No 24 was classed as a Communications squadron and carried out a wide range of duties from refresher flying training to VIP transport using a multitude of aircraft types.  

When his SSC ended in 1935 he was offered a permanent commission, but turned it down having already decided to forge a career in civil flying back home in New Zealand.  However, these plans changed when having transferred to the RAFO, he was offered one of the two newly created posts of civilian test pilots at the RAE Farnborough.  During his time at Farnborough he carried out tests into the effects of wires on aircraft and countermeasures against them, as in the case of barrage balloons as well as conducting test flights examining the effects of ice accrual on aircraft flying surfaces.  In his own time he also found time to establish a number of distance records including a flight to Cape Town (from Croydon) between 14 and 20 November 1937, with Betty Kirby-Green, in a flight time of 17 hours 28 minutes and the following year he set a record for a return flight from London to New Zealand of 10 days 21 hours 22 minutes.  Just prior to WW2, he was attached to Westlands in a private capacity by AVM Tedder, to carry out tests on the new twin engined fighter, the Whirlwind.

Recalled to duty on the outbreak of WW2, in the rank of Acting Squadron Leader, he continued research flying, including tests into the possibility of using flares to illuminate enemy bombers to enable night fighters to make interceptions.  In order to gain a better understanding of the problems involved in night fighting, he requested an attachment to a operational squadron, serving with 219 Squadron from Redhill for a month.  Further tests in the night fighting sphere followed his return to Farnborough when he was tasked with carrying out trials with the Turbinlite, designed by Air Commodore Helmore and fitted into the nose of Douglas Boston. 

Having also carried out tests with the Leigh Light and badgered the authorities to give him an operational posting, it was fitting that he should be given command of No 224 Squadron, a Liberator anti-submarine unit based at Beaulieu.  After nearly a year in command of 224, he was promoted Group Captain and appointed CO of the still incomplete Coastal Command station at Langham in Norfolk.  Here he was responsible for two Beaufighter strike squadrons, No 455 (RAAF) and No 489 (RNZAF).  With the end of the war, he was posted to Germany to command the airstrip, B151, later renamed Buckeburg and expanded, the base would become the headquarters of the British Air Forces of Occupation.

It was whilst at Buckeburg he was offered a  permanent commission in the RAF, which he accepted.  However, also at this time he was offered the post of Director-General of Civil Aviation in New Zealand.  Replying that he was interested but would need Air Ministry approval, the New Zealand government formally announced his appointment, which resulting in the Air Ministry refusing to release him.  Possibly as a consolation, he received a secondment to the RNZAF for two years as CO of RNZAF Ohakea.

With his experience as a test pilot, it was highly appropriate that in 1950 he should be appointed Commandant of the Empire Test Pilots School, a post he held for three years.  Promoted Air Commodore, he returned to the East as AOC Singapore for three years before once again returning the world of aircraft testing as Commandant of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down.

Recommendation for the award of Commander of the Order of British Empire (not approved)

CLOUSTON, Arthur Edmund, A/G/C, DSO, DFC, AFC (29162, Royal Air Force) - Station Langham

"This officer has commanded one of the busiest operational stations since March 1944, and during this period his tireless energy and devotion to duty have largely contributed to the outstanding successes his squadrons have achieved in the protection of the invasion forces and in the destruction of enemy shipping.  His keenness in engaging the enemy has never flagged for one moment and the high morale and efficiency of his station has been obtained by his own personal and unselfish regard for the organization of his station and for the well-being of those under his command.  During one of the worst spells of bad weather which this country has known he has remained cheerful, and by his magnificent example has ensured the offensive spirit and the exceptional morale of his units."

(Source - Air 2/9121, if approved, this would have been gazetted on 1 January 1946.  Not approved in this or any lesser form of award.)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

CLOUSTON, Arthur Edmond, W/C, DFC, AFC (29162, Royal Air Force) - No.224 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 31 March 1944.

"Wing Commander Clouston has rendered sterling service as commander of his squadron for the past twelve months.  During this period his squadron has attained a very high reputation for efficiency in the campaign against enemy submarines.  Wing Commander Clouston has taken part in numerous sorties with different crews and on five occasions has experienced attacks by enemy aircraft.  He has also participated in attacks on U-boats.  The energy, example of experience of this officer have been of the greatest value to his squadron."

(Source - G/C C.M. Hanson, By Such Deeds: Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (Christchurch, Volplane Press, 2001).

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

CLOUSTON, Arthur Edmund, W/C, AFC (29162, Royal Air Force) - No.224 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 October 1943.

"Wing Commander Clouston takes a full share in the operational flying of his unit and has displayed fine leadership and courage on a number of missions.  In July 1943, in the course of an anti-submarine patrol he sighted a U-boat some miles away.  Keeping a rain squall between him and his quarry he approached to attack.  Although the submarine sighted the aircraft and opened fire on it, Wing Commander Clouston delivered an effective attack, dropping two sticks of bombs.  The U-boat was then seen to roll over on its side and dived at a very steep angle.  In this most determined attack, this officer displayed great gallantry and coolness.

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 11627)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Air Force Cross

CLOUSTON, Arthur Edmund, A/W/C, AFC - No.1422 Flight - Bar to Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1940.

"Wing Commander Clouston has been closely connected with the experimental work on and production of the Turbinlite since its conception at the beginning of this year.  He carried out all the preliminary trials and test flying both by day and night which, in the early stages, involved a definite risk from fire.  Since then every Turbinlite aircraft, before proceeding to the operational flights, has passed through this officer’s hands for the final test to ensure thorough working order.  Wing Commander Clouston is also the coordinating authority for the operational flights in all technical matters and it is due to his close liaison that so little trouble has been experienced with the light or when there has been trouble that it has been rectified so rapidly.  There is no doubt that this officer’s immense enthusiasm for this work has been one of the chief factors in getting the most promising form of night fighting on an operational footing."

 (Source - Air 2/8901)

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"CLOUSTON, Arthur Edmund, F/O Experimental Section, Royal Aircraft Establishment.

During the last twelve months Flying Officer Clouston has been engaged on flying an aircraft in ice-forming conditions, on numerous occasions with his aircraft completely iced up.  This work has entailed a high degree of courage and determination, ad has furnished most valuable data."

(Source - "By Such Deeds: Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999", C.M. Hanson (Volplane Press, Christchurch, 2001))

Recommendation for the award of the Air Force Cross

Drafted 28 September 1937 by the Commanding Officer, Experimental Section, Royal Aeronautical Establishment.

"Flying Officer Clouston has been engaged on flying an aircraft in ice forming conditions for the last twelve months, during which period he has carried out flights in the worst conditions and on numerous occasions his aircraft has been completely iced up.  This work has entailed a high degree of courage and determination."

On 4 October 1937 the Chief Superintendent, Royal Aeronautical Establishment, wrote

“Strongly recommended” 

On 21 October 1937, A/Cdre R.H. Verney (Director of Technical Development) added his remarks:

"I support the above recommendation very strongly.  Flying Officer Clouston has made repeated de-icing flights and has kept his aeroplane in the de-icing conditions for long periods on several occasions.  He has continued to fly with three or four inches of ice piled on the front of the windscreen, with large chunks of ice being flung from the airscrew in all directions, with lumps of ice coming through the engine nacelle and striking the fuselage, and has generally carried the experiments to the limiting conditions under which her could retain any sort of control over the aircraft.  He has produced the only reliable data we have to go on with de-icing, and the results have guided our whole policy in this respect.  I am bound to say that the Service as a whole owes him a great debt of gratitude for this work."

(Source - Air 2/2489)

Relations of A/Cdre A.E Clouston.

I am searching of any relations of A/Cdr A.E Clouston. I am living in New Zealand but anyone from overseas is still welcome to contact me. He was a cousin to my great grandmother. I am wanting to find anyone else who is related to him to share stories, information and just general contact.

Contact details - Fraser Clegg.   (replace AT with @)

This page was last updated on 22/03/24©

Return to A J B Clements A J B Clements                                  [Top of Page]                            R Coats  Forward to R Coats