Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
David Nigel b: 22 Nov 1911 r: 14 Apr 1966 d: 5 Jun 2005
CB – 1 Jan 1966, OBE – 1 Jan 1945, MiD – 1 Jan 1946, BA.
(TA): - 2Lt: 20 Feb 1932,
(RAF): - Plt Off: 17 Mar 1934 [17 Mar 1933], Fg Off: 17 Sep 1934, Flt Lt: 1 Oct 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Apr 1939, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941, Act Gp Capt: 23 Jun 1944, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1944 – 1 Nov 1947, Wg Cdr (WS): 23 Dec 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1949, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1958, Act AVM: 4 Mar 1963, AVM: Retained,
xx xxx xxxx: Cadet Corporal, Harrow School Junior Division, OTC
xx xxx xxxx: Member, Cambridge University Air Squadron.
20 Feb 1932: Officer, Territorial Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment
17 Mar 1934: Resigned his commission in the Hertfordshire Regiment.
17 Mar 1934: Appointed to a Permanent Commission.
17 Mar 1934: U/T Pilot, No 5 Flying Training School.
27 Jan 1935: Pilot, 142 Sqn.
1 Feb 1936: Adjutant, No 142 Sqn
17 Jan 1937: Attended Armament Officers’ Course, Air Armament School.
4 Jan 1938: Armament Officer, HMS Glorious
2 Jul 1939: Armament Officer, HQ RAF Middle East.
24 Apr 1940: Transferred to the Technical Branch
xx Dec 1941: Senior Armament Officer, Rhodesian Air Training Group.
xx xxx 1942: Senior Armament Officer at Army Co-operation Command.
17 Jul 1943: Senior Armament Officer, HQ Tactical Air Force
15 Nov 1943: Senior Armament Officer, HQ 2nd Tactical Air Force
xx xxx 1945: Directing Staff, RAF Staff College
xx xxx 1948: ?
2 Nov 1951: Command Armament Officer, Bomber Command
22 May 1953: Command Armament Officer, Far East Air Force
xx Dec 1955: Officer Commanding, No 1 Radio School
15 May 1958: Director of Guided Weapon Engineering.
xx Oct 1960: Director of Aircraft, British Defence Staff, Washington.
xx Feb 1963: Vice-president of the Ordnance Board
xx xxx 1964: President of the Ordnance Board
His father, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Irish Rifles, had been killed in 1918. Having been educated at Harrow and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where learned to fly as a member of the Cambridge University Air Squadron, Nigel joined the Territorial Army before joining the RAF on a Short Service Commission?
Following pilot training he was posted to No 142 Squadron at Netheravon, flying Hawker Harts. He was soon appointed as squadron adjutant and in October 1935, his unit was posted to Egypt as reinforcements at the time of the Abyssinian Crisis. On his return to the UK he completed the armament course and served in that capacity for the remainder of his career.
Following a tour with the Fleet Air Arm, he took up an appointment in the Middle East, where he met his future wife. He later moved further south to take up an appointment in Rhodesia, where his fiancée joined him. They were married in 1942.
During his tour with 2TAF, he was responsible for ensuring that the fighter bomber squadrons in the command, were supplied with sufficient stocks of rockets and bombs, a difficult task with units moving around from one advanced airfield to another. After the war he served in both Bomber Command and the Far East Air Force, before returning to the UK and command of No 1 Radio School at Locking.
His next two appointments saw him at the forefront of the latest developments in guided weaponry. As Director of Weapons Engineering, he found himself involved with Blue Streak and when this was cancelled, Skybolt, hence his appointment to Washington. However, shortly after his arrival in the USA, the Americans cancelled Skybolt, but nevertheless his experience proved to be of exceptional value to the British Ambassador during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. On his return to Britain he was appointed Vice-president of the Ordnance Board and a year later President.
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