Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore W S Gardner (37457)

William Steven              b: 16 Dec 1909                     r: 21 Oct 1963                     d: 7 Sep 1983

CB 12 Jun 1958, OBE - 1 Jan 1945, DFC - 1 Oct 1940, Bar 23 Dec 1941, AFC 2 Jun 1943, MiD - 11 Jun 1942, MiD - 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 8 Jun 1944.

(Spec Res): Plt Off (P): 15 May 1933, Plt Off: 26 Jan 1934, Fg Off: 15 Nov 1934.

(RAF): Plt Off (P): 13 Nov 1935, Plt Off: 13 Nov 1936, Fg Off: 13 May 1937, Flt Lt: 13 May 1939, Act Sqn Ldr: 7 Dec 1940, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1940, Act Wg Cdr: 20 Nov 1940, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1942, Sqn Ldr: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Sep 1940], Act Gp Capt: 3 Aug 1943, Wg Cdr (WS): 3 Feb 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1951, Act A/Cdre: xx xxx 1956?, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1960, Act AVM: 29 Apr 1963.

15 May 1933:            Pilot (Special Reserve), No 502 (Ulster) Sqn.

13 Nov 1935:            Relinquished his Special Reserve Commission

13 Nov 1935:            Granted a Short Service Commission in the rank of Pilot Officer on probation.

13 Nov 1935:            Pilot, No 7 Sqn.

21 Aug 1939:            Attached as Flt Lt - Organisation, HQ No 5 Group.

10 Nov 1939:           'P' Staff (P1 and P2), HQ No 5 Group

 7 Dec 1939:             Sqn Ldr - 'P' Staff, HQ No 5 Group

23 Jun 1940:             Flight Commander, No 106 Sqn.

11 Aug 1940:            Flight Commander, No 44 Sqn.

20 Nov 1940:           Officer Commanding, No 144 Sqn.

 1 Nov 1941:            Chief Instructor, No 14 OTU, wef 29 Oct 1941

 3 Aug 1943:             Officer Commanding, No 14 OTU/RAF Market Harborough

 1 Jan 1945:              Officer Commanding, No 12 OTU/RAF Chipping Warden

xx Jun 1945:              SASO, HQ No 91 Group

9 Apr 1946:               Attended Course No 16, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.

xx Oct 1946:             Officer Commanding, RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey

29 Dec 1948:            SOA, HQ RAF in Northern Ireland.

31 Mar 1950:           SASO, HQ, No 67 Group

 5 Mar 1951:            Group Captain - ATC/CCF, HQ Home Command

xx xxx xxxx:             

xx xxx 1957:             Head of Plans and Operations, HQ CENTO


13 Jun 1960:            Director of Personal Services (Provost Marshal).

29 Apr 1963:           Director-General of Personal Services.

Joined No 502 Squadron at around same time as F F Rainsford.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Acting Squadron Leader William Steven GARDNER (37457).

One night in September, 1940, this officer successfully pressed home an attack, from 800 feet, on a concentration of barges in Ostend Harbour. During the preliminary reconnaissance of the target area and the bombing attack, the aircraft was subjected to intense and accurate anti-aircraft and tracer fire, but despite this opposition Squadron Leader Gardner obtained eight direct hits on the target. In pressing home; his attack this officer displayed splendid qualities of determination, courage and skill, and his example and leadership have had an excellent effect on the squadron as, a whole."

(London Gazette - 1 Oct 1940)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Actg Wg. Cdr. W. S. Gardner D.F.C.,  144 Sq.

This officer has commanded the squadron for some time past and, by his splendid example both in the air and on the ground has proved a great inspiration to all.  His inspiring leadership has been reflected in the many successes achieved by his squadron."

(The Times - 23 December 1941)

Recommendation for the award of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (awarded a Mention in Despatches)

"GARDNER, William Steven, W/C, DFC (37457, Royal Air Force) - No.14 Operational Training

Wing Commander Gardner has commanded the Training Wing of No 14 Operational Training Unit since October 1941 and throughout that period has worked untiringly and conscientiously, displaying outstanding devotion to duty.  His energetic and personal supervision of all matters connected with the training of his pupils has resulted in a happy and efficient Operational Training Unit.  This officer has set an outstanding example to all ranks."

(Source - 2/8871)

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

GARDNER, William Steven, W/C, DFC (37457, Royal Air Force) - No.14 Operational Training Unit.

 This officer has commanded the training wing since October 1941, and its general efficiency is undoubtedly due to his energetic and personal supervision of all matters in connection with the training of pupils.  He sets an exceptionally high example to all on the ground and in the air and spares himself no pains to make the training wing efficient.

(Source - Air 2/96090)

This page was last updated on 26/01/24

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