Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore D B Fitzpatrick (40525)

David Beatty                b: 13 Jan 1920                      r: 31 Jan 1975                      d: 19 Apr 1997

CB 1 Jan 1970, OBE 1 Jan 1953,  AFC 9 Jun 1949, Bar - 1 Jan 1958, AFRAeS, MBIM.

Act Plt Off (P): 19 Feb 1938, Plt Off: 29 Nov 1938, Fg Off (WS): 28 Aug 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 29 Aug 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1943 (adjusted to 2 Sep 1943 on 12 Oct 1948), Act Wg Cdr: 9 Jan 1944?, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1953, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1966.

19 Feb 1938:            Granted a Short Service Commission

19 Feb 1938:            Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot.?

 5 Mar 1938:            U/T Pilot, No 9 FTS.

19 Sep 1938:            Attended School of General Reconnaissance.

11 Feb 1939:            Supernumerary - Under instruction, RAF Calshot

xx xxx 1939:             Pilot, No 210 Sqn.

 8 May 1939:            Pilot, No 228 Sqn

xx xxx 1942:             Pilot/Flight Commander, No 209 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:              Transferred to RAFO and re-employed

xx Apr 1944:            Officer Commanding, No 209 Sqn.

16 Oct 1944:            Air Staff, HQ No 15 (Reconnaissance) Group.

28 Aug 1945:           Air Staff, HQ No 19 (Reconnaissance) Group

xx xxx xxxx:            Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining rank current at the time). [effective xx xxx xxxx antedated to 1 Dec 1942 on 25 Feb 1947]

xx xxx xxxx:             Officer Commanding, No ? Sqn/Wing. (Berlin Airlift)

xx xxx xxxx:             Attended Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1949:            Officer Commanding, No 1 Sqn, No 203 AFS. (Driffield)

xx xxx xxxx:             Attended Guided Weapons course, RAF Engineering College.

18 Jun 1952:            Air Staff, HQ, No 25 Group

xx xxx xxxx:             OC Flying, RAF Flying College.  

xx Jan 1958:            Staff Officer, Ministry of Supply. 

 5 Oct 1959:            Officer Commanding, RAF Christmas Island.

xx Sep 1960:            Officer Commanding, RAF Akrotiri.

18 Sep 1961:           Deputy Director of Operations - Air Defence and Overseas.

 8 Mar 1965:            Officer Commanding, RAF Nicosia.

 5 Aug 1966:            Director of Quartering.

xx xxx 1969:            RAF Member, Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

xx xxx 1970:            Director, Deputy Controllerate Guided Weapons, MOD(PE).

xx xxx 1974:            Director, Directorate-General of Establishments, Resources Programme 'C', MOD(PE).

Wing Commander David Fitzpatrick was lucky to survive beyond his tour at the RAF Flying College.  Taking off in a Hunter one day in 1957, the aircraft suffered an engine failure at a height preventing him from ejecting.  Narrowly missing the station married quarters at RAF Manby, his aircraft crashed in a field, leaving him with a broken back and damaged knee but alive.

Originally joining the RAF in 1938 on a Short Service Commission, giving up the opportunity of playing professional cricket for Sussex as a result.  Following initial flying training he was posted to fly Sunderlands with No 210 Squadron at Pembroke Dock, but shortly afterwards found himself moving to Gibraltar and No 202 Squadron.  With 202 he flew the Saro London until mid 1941 when the squadron re-equipped with Catalinas.  In 1942 he moved to East Africa joining No 209 Squadron, still flying Catalinas but now operating over the Indian Ocean instead of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, he remained with 209 until September 1944 having been appointed Officer Commanding in April of that year. 

Awarded a permanent commission at the end of the war, he stayed with Coastal Command and commanded a squadron/wing of Sunderlands, during the Berlin Airlift.  Rather later in his career than usual, he undertook the CFS course qualifying as an instructor on jets after which he took up the post of CFI at No 205 AFS based at RAF Middleton St George, receiving his first AFC for his work here.   He next returned to school as a student, this time to the RAF Engineering College where he completed a course in guided weapons, a area of expertise which would play a major role in his subsequent career, after which he moved to the RAF Flying College at Manby as OC Flying, where he suffered the injuries mentioned above and also received the Bar to his AFC. 

Recovered from his crash, he moved overseas to take command of the RAF base on Christmas Island.  It had been from here that British H-bomb trials had been carried out the year previously.  Although he would later contract a blood condition similar to leukaemia, he refused to connect this with his time on the island owning to difficulty of proving such a connection.  Two spells in Cyprus as a station commander, were interspersed with a tour at the Air Ministry in the Directorate of Operations?.  Returning from Nicosia, were he had been involved in operations against the EOKA terrorists, he became Director of Quartering for three years before joining the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.  His final two appointments saw him back in the field of guided weapons within the Procurement Executive of the Ministry of Defence.  During this period he was responsible for many of the weapons trials carried out both at home and in Australia.

Retiring from the RAF he worked as a teacher at Fernden School where he taught Geography, French and Games until final retirement at 65.

This page was last updated on 07/03/24 using FrontPage 2003

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