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 Chief Marshal Sir Robert Foster (04008)

Robert Mordaunt               b: 3 Sep 1898                     r: 1 Feb 1954                     d: 23 Oct 1973

KCB - 8 Jun 1950 (CB - 5 Jul 1945), CBE - 8 Jun 1944, DFC - 3 Aug 1918, MiD - 3 Jun 1919, MiD - 11 Jul 1919, MiD - 1 Jan 1942, MiD - 14 Jan 1944, MiD – 1 Jan 1946, LoM (Cdr) - 1 Jan 1946, DL (Suffolk) - 17 Apr 1968.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army):- (T) 2 Lt: 19 Jul 1916, (T) Lt: 19 Jan 1918,

(RAF):- Lt: 1 Apr 1918, (T) Capt: 15 May 1918, Fg Off:  1 Aug 1919, Flt Lt: 1 Jan 1924, Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1932, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1937, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jun 1940, Act A/Cdre: 20 Oct 1942, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jun 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 20 Apr 1943, Act AVM: 26 Mar 1944, A/Cdre (WS): 26 Mar 1945, (T) AVM: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1946, AVM: 1 Oct 1946, Act AM: 1 Oct 1949, AM: 1 Jul 1950, ACM: 28 Jan 1953.

xx xxx 1914 :        Attended Royal Military College, Camberley.

xx xxx 1916:         Officer, Royal Fusiliers.

xx Jun 1916:           U/T Pilot, RFC.

 7 Oct 1916:           Pilot, No 54 Sqn RFC.

 4 Aug 1917:           Returned to Home Establishment

xx xxx 1917:            Pilot, No 44 Sqn

27 Mar 1918:          Re-embarked to France

29 Mar 1918:          Attached, No 1 ASD

29 Mar 1918:          Pilot, No 209 Sqn.

15 May 1918:         Flight Commander, No 209 Sqn.

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant

15 Dec 1919:          Pilot, No 20 Sqn – India.

21 Oct 1923:           Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

13 Jan 1924:           U/T, RAF Base - Gosport.

 2 Jan 1925:            Supernumerary, HQ Coastal Area (awaiting Staff College Course).

 5 May 1925:          Attended RAF Staff College.

12 Apr 1926:          Attended School of Oriental Studies, London.

26 Oct 1926:          Air Staff - Intelligence, HQ Iraq Command.

29 Apr 1930:          Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 7 Oct 1930:           Pilot, No 70 Sqn.

xx Nov 1931 - xx Mar 1932:         Operational Adjutant, No 70 Sqn

xx Jun 1932:            Air Staff Officer, AHQ Iraq

 8 May 1933:          Officer Commanding, No 15 Sqn (A & AEE)

31 May 1935:         Supernumerary - ?

11 Jul 1935:            Air Staff, HQ British Forces in Iraq.

 4 Jan 1938:            Air Staff, Plans 4, Deputy Directorate of Plans (moved by Dec 1939)

12 Sep1939:           Senior Personnel Officer, HQ No 2 Group.

13 Dec 1939:          Supernumerary, No 110 Sqn

14 Dec 1939:          Officer Commanding, No 110 Sqn.

16 May 1940:          ?

xx xxx 1940:           Officer Commanding, RAF Wyton.

 1 Nov 1941:          

 8 Jan 1942:            Officer Commanding, No 214 Group.

20 Oct 1942:          AOC, No 213 Group.

 4 Mar 1943:          Air Staff, Mediterranean Air Command

26 Mar 1944:         AOC, RAF Malta.

xx xxx 1944:           Head of the Air Commission, Italy.

 3 Dec 1944:          AOC, Desert Air Force

30 Aug 1945:          Chief of Air Division, Control Commission - Austria.

 6 Sep 1945:           AOC, RAF Austria

 9 May 1946:          AOC, AHQ RAF Italy

 9 Jul 1946:             AOC, No 3 Group

24 Feb 1947:          Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy)

 1 Oct 1949:           AOC in C, Reserve Command

 1 Aug 1950:           AOC in C, Home Command

 1 Oct 1951:            C in C, British Air Forces of Occupation/2 Tactical Air Force

Robert Foster was an old boy of Winchester. He joined the RFC as a direct entrant in Jun 1916 and having undergone pilot training was posted to No 54 Squadron  in France, where he flew Camels.  A spell on home defence duties with 44 Squadron was followed by a return to France as a flight commander with No 209.  Having already acquired one confirmed victory with 54, he notched up a further 15 with 209 bringing his total to 16 by the end of the war.

On 24 Jan 1923, his incendiary ammunition spilt out into his Bristol F2B and set the aircraft on fire.  Force landing, he and his observer were captured, beaten up and held for three weeks before being returned.

As Head of the Air Commission in Italy, he was effectively in command of the Italian Air Force.  He was a representative of the RAF at the funeral of King George VI.  Retired at his own request in order to facilitate the promotion of younger officers.

He was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk in 1968.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Lt. (T./Capt.) Robert Mordaunt Foster.

This officer has taken part in numerous combats and 1'ed his patrols brilliantly; he has destroyed five hostile machines.  On one occasion he attacked two biplanes single-handed; one he forced down and the other burst into flames and broke up in the air.”

(London Gazette – 3 August 1918)

Citation for the award of Commander of the  Order of the British Empire

"FOSTER, Robert Mordaunt, A/A/V/M, DFC (Royal Air Force) - Italian Commission, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces Headquarters

This officer has rendered outstanding services ac Chief Air Planner for the Sicilian campaign.  He also performed valuable work in reorganising and successfully commanding the Italian Air Force."

(Source - Air 2/9003)

Citation for the award of Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander (United States)

FOSTER, Robert M, Air Vice-Marshal, CB, CBE,DFC Air Marshal, KCB, OBE, MC, DFC.

Air Vice-Marshal Robert M. Foster, CBE, DFC, Royal Air Force, served in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations from December 3, 1944 to May 2, 1945.  Skilfully directing intensive tactical air operations in coordination with the ground forces of the Fifteenth Army Group in its successful breakthrough into the Po Valley, and in the final defeat of the German armies in Italy, Air Vice-Marshal Foster displayed unusual ability and resourcefulness in coordinating details of air operations with units of various nationalities in activities calling for the closest cooperation.  Under his direction, exceptionally effective fighter-bomber techniques were employed in close conjunction with ground advances and in highly destructive attacks on enemy transportation and supplies.  Responsible for the tactical operations of several United States Army Air Forces units which were directly under his personal supervision throughout these operations, Air Vice-Marshal Foster guided their activities in support of the Ground Forces of the United States Fifth Army and the British Eighth Army in such an outstanding manner, that complete interdiction of enemy supply and transportation lines was accomplished and the maximum destruction thrust upon the enemy.  Through his superior leadership and professional skill, Air Vice-Marshal Foster made an outstanding contribution to the Allied victory in Italy."

(Source - National Archives of Canada, file HQ-C-54-27-94-32, Record Group 24, Volume 2236)

This page was last updated on 11/08/23©

Back to J R Forsythe J R Forsythe                                     [Top of Page]                           W F MacN Foster  Forward to W MacN Foster