Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal J T Lawrence (104428)

John Thornett              b: 16 Apr 1920                       r: 16 Apr 1975                    d: 18 Dec 2019

CB 14 Jun 1975, CBE 1 Jan 1967 (OBE 10 Jun 1961), AFC 14 Jun 1945.

(RAFVR): Plt Off: 5 Aug 1941, Fg Off (WS): 5 Feb 1942?, Flt Lt (WS): 5 Aug 1943, Flt Lt: 1 Sep 1945,

(RAF): Flt Lt: xx Apr 1947, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1951, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1956, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1958, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1963, Act A/Cdre: 31 Oct 1966, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1967, AVM: 1 Jul 1971.

xx Oct 1938:               U/T Pilot (NCO), RAFVR.

 1 Sep 1939:                Mobilised and continued in training

 5 Oct 1940:                Pilot, No 235 Sqn. (Battle II/Blenheim IV)

 5 Aug 1941:               Appointed to a Commission

xx xxx 1941:               Staff Pilot, No 3 School of General Reconnaissance.

xx xxx 1942:               Attended No 4 (C) OTU?

xx xxx 1942:               Pilot, No 202 Sqn. (Sunderland)

xx xxx 1943:               Instructor, No 111 OTU

xx xxx 1945:               Pilot, No 86 Sqn. (Liberators)

 2 Jul 1946:                  Discharged

xx Apr 1947:               Appointed to a Permanent Commission

 4 Apr 1947:               PA to AOC-in-C, BAFO

xx xxx 1948:               Directing Staff, RAF Flying College.

 1 Nov 1948:              Air Staff, HQ No 85 (Base) Group

17 May 1949:             Miscellaneous Duties, HQ British Air Forces of Occupation

18 May 1953:             Officer Commanding, No 14 Sqn. (Venom FB1)

xx Apr 1955:              PA to Secretary of State for Air

xx xxx 1956:               Staff Officer, HQ 6th Allied Tactical Air Force.

xx xxx 1958:               Officer Commanding - Flying, Royal Radar Establishment

 2 Nov 1962:               Group Captain - Operations, HQ Air Forces Middle East.

 7 Aug 1964:               Officer Commanding, RAF Wittering.

31 Oct 1966:               SASO, HQ No 3 Group.

15 Feb 1967:               AOC, HQ No 3 Group.

xx Jan 1968:                Attended Imperial Defence College.

 8 Mar 1969:                Director of Organisation and Admin Plans.

13 Sep 1971:               Director-General Personnel Management./AOC, RAF Personnel Management Centre

 7 Nov 1973:               Commander, Northern Maritime Air Region/AOC, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Joining the RAFVR in 1938, he was called up for active service in 1939, being posted to No 235 Squadron.  235 had just been formed as twin engined fighter unit, equipped with Blenheim IV's, but was almost immediately transferred to Coastal Command.  Based at Manston, the squadron undertook offensive patrols along the French and Dutch coasts, escort missions to Wellington  'mine sweepers', Beauforts and shipping recce's.  He remained on Coastal for the rest of WW2, first moving to Gibraltar and then back to Northern Ireland for operations over the North Atlantic in Liberators.

Following retirement he became a Corporate Member of Cheltenham Ladies College and since 1987 has been involved with SSAFA at both national and county level

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"LAWRENCE, John Thornett, F/L (104428, RAFVR*) - No.111 Operational Training Unit, Nassau.

Flight Lieutenant Lawrence has completed 14 months instructional flying at this Operational Training Unit at the Liberator operational training squadron.  An extremely capable and reliable officer, he has carried out his duties both in the air and on the ground with tireless efficiency which has done a great deal to maintain the high standard of work prevailing in the Squadron.  In addition, he completed two very successful meteorological flights to the east of the island and obtained information which proved very valuable in the evacuation of this Operational Training Unit in September last."

Citation drafted when he had flown 700 instructional hours, 232 in previous six months.

(Source - Air 2/8771)

This page was last updated on 13/01/24

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