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Air Commodore E M Donaldson (32043)

Edward Mortlock                      b:22 Feb 1912               r: 21 Mar 1961                  d: 2 Jun 1992

CB - 1 Jan 1960, CBE 1 Jun 1953, DSO, AFC 30 Sep 1941, Bar - 12 Jun 1947, MiD - 1 Jan 1941, LoM (O) - 15 Feb 1949.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off (P): 26 Jun 1931, Plt Off: 26 Jun 1932, Fg Off: 26 Mar 1933, Flt Lt: 1 Apr 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1938, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941, Act Gp Capt: 28 Dec 1942?, Wg Cdr (WS): 28 Jun 1943, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1949, Act A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1955.

26 Jun 1931:           Appointed to a Short Service Commission

26 Jun 1931:           Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot.

11 Jul 1931:            U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS.

20 Jun 1932:           Pilot, No 3 Sqn.

24 Apr - 5 May 1933:        Attended Home Aircraft Depot for Course on Irwin Parachutes

16 Jan 1935:           Adjutant, No 3 Sqn

25 Jun 1935:           Relinquished role of Adjutant.

15 Nov 1935:          Sqn Armament officer, No 3 Sqn

23 Apr 1936:          Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

22 Mar 1937:          Act Officer Commanding, No 72 Sqn.

26 Jul 1937:            Flight Commander, No 1 Sqn.

29 Mar 1938:          Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

 5 May 1938:           Attended Instructor's Course, Central Flying School. (graded B)

18 Jul 1938:             QFI, No 6 FTS

16 Aug 1938:           QFI, No 7 FTS.

14 Nov 1938:          Officer Commanding, No 151 Sqn.

 5 Aug 1940:            CFI, No 5 FTS.

xx xxx xxxx:              Officer Commanding, ? School.

xx xxx 1941:             Liaison Officer, USAAF (USA).

xx xxx xxxx:              Supernumerary?, Polish Wing (Northolt).

xx xxx xxxx:              Group Captain, Fighter Control Unit, 2nd TAF.

xx xxx 1944:             Attended Empire Central Flying School.

23 Dec 1944:           Officer Commanding, RAF Colerne.

xx xxx xxxx:              Officer Commanding RAF Millfield.

xx Jul 1946:              Officer Commanding, RAF High Speed Flight.

20 Oct 1946:            SASO, HQ No 12 Group.

22 Jun 1949:            Group Captain - Cadet Branch, HQ Reserve Command

1951                       Officer Commanding, RAF Fassberg  

xx xxx xxxx:             Officer Commanding, RAF Wunsdorf

16 Apr 1954:           Director of Operational Training.

11 Dec 1956:           Deputy Commander, HQ British Forces  Arabian Peninsula.

12 Nov 1958:           AOC/Commandant, RAF Flying College.

Born at Negeri Sembilan in Malaya, his father was a judge and he was one of three brothers who would all serve as fighter pilots with the RAF.  Educated in England, he then studied at McGill University in Canada, before joining the RAF in 1931, his first posting being to No 3 Squadron flying Bulldogs.  In 1933 and 1935 he was awarded the 'Brooke-Popham Air Firing Trophy' and in 1935 he was a member of the 3 Squadron aerobatic team of five Bulldogs using smoke.  

In early 1937 he was tasked with reforming No 72 Squadron at Tangmere with Gloster Gladiators but when the squadron moved North to Church Fenton, he remained  at Tangmere being appointed a flight commander in No 1 Squadron where he immediately set about forming a formation aerobatic team consisting of four Furies.   From No 1 Squadron he moved to the CFS and having qualified as QFI, he returned to operational flying with No 151 Squadron.  When he arrived the squadron was equipped with the Gloster Gauntlet but shortly after his arrival re-equipment began with Hurricanes.  This also coincided with his promotion to Squadron Leader and appointment as CO.  

His short operational career during WW2 resulted in him claiming five confirmed victories, with one more shared, three unconfirmed and one damaged.  As OC of RAF Colerne, he commanded the first wing of jet fighters in the RAF.

During the war, most of the pre-war records had been broken, even if not recorded officially, and the RAF decided to recapture the World Speed record with its new generation of jet aircraft.  They consequently set a new High Speed Flight with Group Captain Donaldson in command and on 7 September 1946, he established a new World Record of 615.78 mph in a Meteor.  

After retirement, he became Air Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph until 1979.

This page was last updated on 12/12/23 using FrontPage 2003

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