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Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony Heward (39044)

Anthony Wilkinson             b: 1 Jul 1918                r: 30 Jun 1976                      d: 27 Oct 1995

KCB -1 Jan  1972 (CB – 1 Jan 1968), OBE – 5 Jun 1952, DFC – 18 Apr 1944, Bar – 30 Mar 1945, AFC – 31 Mar 1942, MiD - 1 Jan 1941.

Act Plt Off (P): 24 Aug 1936, Plt Off: 29 Jun 1937, Fg Off: 28 Feb 1939, Flt Lt: 3 Sep 1940, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1944, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1945, Sqn Ldr: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Jun 1944], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1951 [1 Jul 1950], Act Gp Capt: 5 Jan 1957, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1957, Act A/Cdre: 21 Dec 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1963, Act AVM: 31 Mar 1966, AVM: 1 Jan 1967, Act AM: 27 Feb 1970, AM: 1 Jul 1971, ACM: 29 Apr 1974.

24 Aug 1936:           Granted a Short Service Commission.

xx xxx 1937:            Pilot, No 216 Sqn.

20 Dec 1937:           Pilot, No 149 Sqn.

29 Sep 1939:           Pilot, No 148 Sqn

xx xxx 1940:            Staff, HQ Air Component, BEF.

20 Oct - 23 Nov 1940:           Attended No 2 (War) Flying Instructors' Course, No 2 FIS

25 Nov 1940:            QFI, No 6 SFTS.

 3 Nov 1941:            Squadron Commander, No 6 SFTS

xx xxx 1942:             Instructor, Turkish Air Force.

21 Feb 1943:           

xx xxx 1943             Attended Operational Training Course, No 14 OTU

 1 Aug 1943            Attended No 19 Course, No 1654 HCU.

 6 Sep 1943:            Supernumerary, RAF East Kirkby

xx xxx 1943:            Flight Commander, No 83 Sqn.

 2 Jan 1944:            Officer Commanding, No 50 Sqn.

16 Jun 1944:           Officer Commanding, No 97 Sqn.

16 Oct 1944:           Chief Instructor, No 5 LFS

24 Mar 1945:          Attended Course No 14, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.

27 Jul 1945:             PSO to AOC in C, RAF Mediterranean and Middle East.

18 Oct 1946:           Wing Commander - Flying, No 139 Wing/RAF Wahn

10 Dec 1946:           Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945 antedated to 1 Jun 1944 on 28 Feb 1947]

xx xxx xxxx:              Directing Staff, RAF Staff College - Bracknell.

xx xxx 1952:             Officer Commanding, University of London Air Squadron.

xx xxx xxxx:              Air Staff, HQ No 3 Group.

 5 Jan 1957:             Air & Special Operations, HQ SHAPE.

28 Sep 1959:           Officer Commanding, RAF Finningley.

xx xxx 1962:             Attended Imperial Defence College.

21 Dec 1962:            Director of Operations - Bomber & Reconnaissance

31 Mar 1966:           SASO, HQ RAF Germany.

 1 Jul 1966:               Deputy C in C, RAF Germany

14 Mar 1969:            AOA, HQ Air Support Command.

27 Feb 1970:            Chief of Staff, Strike Command

19 Feb 1972:            AOC,  No 18 Group/Commander Maritime Air Eastern Atlantic Area/Commander Maritime Air Channel Command

27 Mar 1973 -  3 Jun 1976:            Air Member for Supply and Organisation

Anthony Heward joined the RAF on a Short Service Commission shortly after his 18th Birthday and following his basic flying was posted to Egypt to complete his training as a multi-engined pilot with No 216 Sqn.  Qualifying as a multi-engined pilot, he returned to Britain and was posted to No 149 Sqn at Mildenhall.  Initially flying the biplane Handley Page Heyford, the squadron began to convert to the new monoplane Vickers Wellington in January 1939 and by March the Heyford at been completed replaced.  However, by the outbreak of war, he had left the squadron and was assigned to the staff of the Air Component of the BEF based in France.  The German invasion of France caused major upheavals and the HQ staff gradually withdrew back towards to the coast and Anthony Heward was eventually evacuated back to Britain by sea.

Back in Britain, he was posted as a flying instructor to RAF Sealand in Cheshire.  It was here that he first met the WAAF cipher clerk who four years later would become his wife.  He remained on instructional duties in the UK until 1942, when he was seconded to the Turkish Air Force, still as a flying instructor but ironically teaching Turkish pilots how to fly the GERMAN Heinkel 111 bomber.  Disenchanted with instructing by this time and desperate to join an operational squadron, he accepted an offer from an American pilot visiting Turkey to fly with him back to the USA for a break.  Unfortunately he fell ill in the States and was unable to get back to his post on time and was hence reported AWOL.  Eventually managing to gain passage back to Britain by sea, he was arrested on arrival at Liverpool by the RAF Police.  As an alternative to Court Martial he was offered a posting to an operational bomber squadron, an offer he jumped at with enthusiasm.

Posted as a Flight Commander to No 83 Sqn, a Lancaster squadron, then based at Wyton as part of the Pathfinder Force, but shortly afterwards he was promoted to Wing Commander and given command of No 50 Sqn, also equipped with Lancasters, but in No 5 Group.  He soon earned the sobriquet 'Smiler' as a result of his coolness and highly disciplined attitude.  So when No 97 Sqn was transferred from 8 Group to No 5 and AVM Cochrane (AOC, No 5 Group) considered the discipline in the squadron to be lax he appointed Anthony Heward, as their new CO in order to overcome this problem, a move which was entirely successful.

Having completed a staff course at the Staff College in Haifa, he stayed in the Middle East as Personal Staff Officer to the AOC in C, ACM Sir Charles Medhurst.  From 1981 to 1989 he sat as a Councillor on Wiltshire County Council.

Citation and recommendation for the award of the Air Force Cross

HEWARD, Anthony Wilkinson, S/L (39044, Royal Air Force) - No.6 Service Flying Training School

This officer has been employed as a flight group commander from 25th November 1940 to 3rd November 1941, when he was appointed squadron commander to one of the flying squadrons.  During the period, he has shown ability and a strong sense of duty, rallying his instructors and ensuring that the pupils were trained to a high standard, thereby winning the respect and confidence of all.  Squadron Leader Heward is an excellent supervisor and, during a recent period when the unit undertook a training scheme of 88 pupils in excess of the normal, his work was of great value during the experiment.  His energy and zeal during a period of four months, when continuous flying was carried out for 22 out of 24 hours a day, was largely instrumental in obtaining the large total of 9,000 hours in one month.  This officer has at all times shown great ability and initiative.

(Source - Air 2/9621 drafted when he had flown 410 instructional hours, 180 in previous six months.)

Recommendation raised 27 December 1941 by the Group Captain and Commanding Officer of No.6 Service Flying Training School; text as follows:

"This officer has been employed as a Flight Group Commander at this unit from 23 November 1940 to 3 November 1941 when he was appointed Squadron Commander of one of the Flying Squadrons. During this period or just over a year he had flown approximately 400 hours.

Since the period he has been under my command, I have found that, through his ability and keen sense of duty as a Pilot, Flight Group Commander, and recently as Squadron Commander, he has given most careful attention to seeing that his instructors perform their duties efficiently.  He has also ensured that the pupils in the two flights for which he was responsible as Group Commander were trained and fitted for the important duties they will have to undertake on leaving this Unit.

He has shown a very high example in his special role as Flight Group Commander and by his example, both in the air and on the ground, he has gained the respect and confidence of both instructors and pupils in his two Flights.

Flight Lieutenant [sic] Heward is a most reliable pilot instructor and an excellent supervisor.  He is thorough in everything he undertakes and his work, during the recent period when this unit undertook a training scheme of 288 pupils instead of the normal 200, was of great value and assistance during this experiment.

His energy and zeal during one period of four months when continuous flying was carried out for 22 hours out of the 24, was largely instrumental in obtaining the total of 9,000 hours in one month - 2,000 hours more flying than any other Flying Training School in the Group.

I am more than satisfied with the ability and initiative shown by this officer.  From the high all-round example he has set, he well deserves recognition and I strongly recommend him for the under-mentioned decoration."

On 16 January 1942 this was endorsed by a Group Captain (signature looks like “Strugnell”), No.23 (Training) Group, who wrote:

"This officer has done very well indeed in various appointments at No.6 Service Flying Training School.  For his example and work, he is recommended for the Air Force Cross."

This page was last updated on 19/08/23

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