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Air Vice Marshal H S Kerby (02201)

Harold Spencer KerbyHarold Spencer            b: 14 May 1893                    r: 28 Jun 1946                      d: 8 Jun 1963

CB - 2 Jun 1943, DSC- 2 Nov 1917, AFC - 1 Jan 1919, MiD - 1 Jan 1941.

(RNAS):- (T) (P) Flt Sub-Lt: 21 Mar 1915, (T) Flt Sub-Lt: 25 Jun 1915 [21 Mar 1915], (T) Flt Lt: 1 Jan 1917, Flt Cdr: 31 Dec 1917.

(RAF):- (T) Capt [Lt]:  1 Apr 1918, (T) Maj (A&S): 18 May 1918, Act Maj:1 May 1919, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Sqn Ldr: 10 Oct 1928,Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1935, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1939, Act A/Cdre: 30 Sep 1940, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Mar 1941, Act AVM: 5 Mar 1943, A/Cdre: 1 Dec 1943, (T) AVM: 1 Dec 1943, AVM: Retained.

Harold Spencer Kerby

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, January 1944
NPG x169419

© National Portrait Gallery, London

xx xxx 1915:           Pilot, No 3 Sqn/Wing, RNAS. (Gallipoli)

xx Mar 1916:          Recuperating.

xx Jan 1917:            Pilot, Walmer Defence Flight.

xx Mar 1917:          Pilot, No 9 Sqn, No 4 Wing RNAS.

xx Apr 1917:           Pilot, No 3 Sqn, No 4 Wing RNAS.

xx Aug 1917:           Flight Commander, Defence Flight, Walmer

18 May 1918:          Officer Commanding/Instructor, No 4 Fighter School, Freiston.

 1 Aug 1919:            Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain

23 Dec 1919:           Staff, School of Technical Training (Boys). 

16 Mar 1920:           Staff, No 1 School of Technical Training (Boys).

3 Apr 1922 :           Attended RAF Staff College.

 4 Apr 1923:            Air Staff, HQ No 3 Group.

14 Sep 1923:           Air Staff, HQ No 3 (Indian) Wing.


 6 Apr 1929:            Supernumerary, RAF Depot

 1 Nov 1929:           Staff, Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.

 11 - 18 Feb 1934:                Placed on half pay list, scale A.

23 Mar 1934:          Officer Commanding, No 504 (County of Nottingham) Sqn AuxAF.

 5 Oct 1935:            Supernumerary, HQ RAF Far East.

16 Nov 1936:          Air Attaché, Peking/Shanghai.

26 Jan 1939:           Supernumerary, No 1 RAF Depot

xx xxx 1939:            Officer Commanding, No 72 Wing, AASF

xx xxx 1940:            Officer Commanding, No 76 Wing, AASF

18 Jun 1940:           Attached, RAF Feltwell (on return of No 76 Wing from France)

 2 Jul 1940:             Officer Commanding, RAF Binbrook.

 3 Oct 1940:           SOA, HQ RAF in Northern Ireland.

xx xxx xxxx:            AOA, HQ RAF in Northern Ireland.

 5 Mar 1943:          AOC, AHQ East Africa.

 1 Dec 1944:          AOA, HQ Coastal Command.

A Canadian, he joined the RNAS in 1915 after attending the University of Toronto, gaining RAeC certificate 1214 on 5 May.  He served in the Dardanelles, where he was injured and later France.  On 12 August 1917, he shot down a Gotha bomber near Southend which crashed into the sea.  However, before returning to base he flew low over the scene and threw his lifebelt to one of the crew.

No 72 Wing consisted of No's 105 and 226 Sqns equipped with Battles.  Qualified Engineer Officer (Toronto?).  He retired to Monaco but for a number of years before his death he was confined in a London nursing home.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross

“Flt. Lieut. Harold Spencer Kerby, R.N.A.S.

For the great courage and initiative shown by him on many, occasions, notably on the 12th August, 1917, when he attacked hostile machines returning from a raid on England.  One hostile machine was driven down by him to the water, where it was observed to turn over.”

(London Gazette – 2 November 1917)

Citation for the award of Companion of the Order of the Bath.

"KERBY, Harold Spencer, Acting Air Vice-Marshal, DSC, AFC - RAF Northern Ireland

This officer holds the post of air officer in charge of administration and has been responsible for the arrangements made for the reception of United States Forces in  Northern Ireland.  The excellent relations existing between the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Corps in Northern Ireland are largely due to the efforts  of Air Commodore [sic] Kerby who has thus made an outstanding contribution to the war effort."

(Source: Air 2/8925)

This page was last updated on 31/01/23

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