Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore C C Darley

 Charles Curtis            b: 31 Jul 1890                        r: 14 Sep 1939                        d: 10 Jun 1962

C C Darley - 1913 CBE - 26 Jun 1931, AM - 24 Jul 1922.

(Army): - 2 Lt:  23 Jul 1910, Lt: 23 Jul 1913, (T) Capt: 12 Jul 1915, Capt: 23 Jul 1915.

(RAF): - Capt: 1 Apr 1918, (T) Maj: 21 May 1918, Act Maj: 19 Dec 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Sqn Ldr: 1 Nov 1919, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1929, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1935, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1938.

Photo from his RAeC Certificate

xx xxx 1909:            Attended RMA Woolwich

23 Jul 1910:             Officer, Royal Field Artillery. (India)

xx Dec 1914:              Flying Officer, RFC.

30 Apr 1915:              Pilot, No 3 Sqn RFC. (Morane Parasol Western Front)

12 Jul 1915:                'C' Flight Commander, No 11 Sqn RFC. (Vickers FB5 Western Front)

26 Oct 1915:              Prisoner of War.

xx xxx 1917:               Escaped and interned in Switzerland?

19 Dec 1918:             Repatriated

23 Mar 1919:             Attached, No 1 AR (AD?)

28 May 1919:             Officer Commanding, No 88 Sqn. (Bristol F2B France)

Charles Darley (right) with his brother, Cecil Hill, who he attempted to rescue on 28 September 1919, see details below

All photos - courtesy Bob Lynes

 1 Aug 1919:              Resigned his commission in the Royal Field Artillery.

 1 Aug 1919:              Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain  

28 Sep 1919:             Hospitalised and Recuperating

21 Mar 1921:             Stores Staff, HQ Inland Area.

25 Aug 1921:             Commandant, School of Physical Training and Drill/Superintendent of PT.

11 Dec 1924:             Staff, No 1 School of Technical Training (Boy's)

11 Jan 1925:              Staff, No 1 School of Technical Training (Apprentices)

xx Oct 1926:              Supernumerary, No 1 School of Technical Training (Apprentices)

23 Dec 1926:             Attended Army Staff College, Quetta.

19 Dec 1928:             Personnel Staff, HQ RAF India.

26 Mar 1929:             Officer Commanding, No 1 (Indian Wing) Station, Kohat.

20 Feb 1932:              Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

12 Jun 1932:               Supernumerary, HQ No 1 Air Defence Group.

11 Jul 1932:                Air Staff, Deputy Directorate of Organisation.

 3 Apr 1934:               Air Staff, Directorate of Organisation.

15 Jan 1935:               Attended Imperial Defence College.

 1 Jan 1936:                Officer Commanding, No 10 FTS, RAF Ternhill.

 8 Jan 1938:                AOC, No 1 (Indian) Group.

10 Feb 1939:             Non-effective (Sick), No 1 RAF Depot

xx xxx xxxx:               President, Airfield Board.

He attended Dulwich College from 18 September 1903 to December 1908.

A keen photographic enthusiast, he was an early exponent of this means of intelligence gathering, when he returned to fight in France.  He had gained his RAeC Certificate (No 592) on 15 August 1913. His career at the front was cut short on 26 October 1915, when his aircraft (Vickers FB5, 5464) was attacked and shot down by none other than Max Immelmann.  Landing behind enemy lines he was captured spending the next two years as a POW.  In early 1919 he and his elder brother were flying in a Vimy, which crashed in Italy, thrown clear he attempted to rescue his brother, unfortunately unsuccessfully.  Badly burned in the attempt he was awarded the Albert Medal and spent 18 months in hospital recovering.  Injured in a flying accident in 1939, he was invalided back to Britain and then in September out of the RAF.  He was almost immediately re-employed by the Air Ministry in a civilian capacity.

Extract from the London Gazette - 24 July 1922

"The KING has been pleased to award the Albert Medal to Squadron Leader Charles Curtis Darley, of the Royal Air Force, in recognition of his gallantry in endeavouring to save life. 

On the night of the 27th September, 1919,  a Vickers Vimy Aeroplane, piloted by Captain Cecil Hill Darley, brother of Squadron Leader (then Flight Lieutenant) Darley, who was acting as Navigation Officer, made a forced landing by Lake Bracciano, some twenty miles north of Home, when on a night flight from England to Egypt.  On the following morning, in taking off, the aeroplane failed to clear a telegraph pole, and crashed, immediately bursting into flames. Squadron Leader Darley was thrown clear, but at once rushed to the blazing wreckage and displayed very conspicuous bravery and devotion in persistent, but unavailing, attempts to rescue his brother, who was pinned in the pilot's seat. His efforts to release his brother were only brought to an end by his collapse.  He sustained such severe burns that he was a patient in hospital for over eighteen months."

This page was last updated on 04/03/24

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