Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal M H Le Bas (104423)

Michael Henry Le BasMichael Henry              b: 2 Sep 1916                     r: 3 Apr 1972                     d: 26 Jan 1988

CB 14 Jun 1969, CBE 1 Jan 1966, DSO 14 Nov 1944, AFC - 1 Jan 1954.

RAFVR: Plt Off: 16 Jul 1941, Fg Off (WS): 16 Jul 1942, Flt Lt (WS): 16 Jul 1943, Act Sqn Ldr: xx Apr 1944,

RAF: Flt Lt: 26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1954, Act Gp Capt: 26 Aug 1959, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1960, Act A/Cdre: 9 Dec 1963?, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1964, Act AVM: 1 Jun 1966, AVM: 1 Jul 1966.

Michael Henry Le Bas

by Walter Bird
bromide print, 1967
NPG x168882

National Portrait Gallery, London

xx xxx 1940:            U/T Pilot,

xx Sep 1941:           Pilot, No 234 Sqn.

xx Mar 1942:           Pilot, No 610 Sqn.

xx Apr 1942:           Flight Commander, No 601 (County of London) Sqn.

xx Feb 1943:           Instructor, No 73 OTU.  

17 Jul 1943:             Attached, No 81 Sqn.

30 Jul 1944:             Flight Commander, No 242 Sqn.

23 Apr 1944:           Officer Commanding, No 241 Sqn.

xx May 1945:           ?, No 56 OTU.

xx Sep 1945:

26 Mar 1946:          Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx 1946:            Staff, Directorate of Organisation (Forecasting & Planning)

xx xxx 1948:            Directing Staff, RAF Staff College, Bracknell.

25 Jul 1951:             Air Staff - Training, HQ 2nd TAF.

xx Apr 1952:            OC Flying, RAF Wildenrath.

xx xxx 1954:             Staff, School of Land/Air Warfare.

xx xxx 1956:             Deputy Officer Commanding, No 215 Wing/RAF Gamil.

1956 1957:            Staff, School of Land/Air Warfare.

15 Jul 1957:             Officer Commanding, Administration Wing, RAF Cottesmore.

10 Aug 1959:           Staff Officer, Department of the CAS.

26 Aug 1959:           Officer Commanding, RAF Coningsby.

 4 Dec 1961:            Group Captain - Operations, HQ Bomber Command.

 9 Dec 1963:            SASO, HQ Air Forces Middle East.

 1 Jun 1966:             AOC, No 1 Group.

17 Jan 1969:            Director-General of RAF Personal Services.

241 Squadron in Italy somewhere in Nov 1944. Mike Le Bas is in the middle of the front row.

Photo courtesy - Gp Capt Chris Le Bas

Mike Le Bas (as a Wg Cdr) and Bill Crawford-Compton (as a Gp Capt) in El Gamil, Port Said, Suez in 1956

Photo courtesy - Gp Capt Chris Le Bas

Born in Argentina and known as 'Pancho', he joined No 234 Sqn at Ibsley in late 1941 and became involved in cross channel offensive patrols in Spitfire II.  However, early in the New Year, he was transferred to No 610 Squadron but looking for a more active role he volunteered for service in the Middle East and was transferred to the newly re-equipped No 601 Squadron.  Embarking their Spitfires aboard the USS Wasp in April 1942 they flew their aircraft from the carrier's deck on 20 April  to reinforce the defences of Malta.  His stay in Malta was short-lived however, when in June 1942, the squadron was transferred to the Western Desert where he took part in armed reconnaissance patrols and ground attack missions in support of the 8th Army advance from El Alamein.

A spell as an instructor at Abu Sueir in Egypt was followed in 1944, by receiving command of No 241 Squadron, flying Spitfire VIII/IX's,  in Italy, here he was involved in Tactical Reconnaissance and Photographic Reconnaissance, mainly on behalf of the 57th Bomb Wing, USAAF.  This would involve carrying out recce sorties followed by landing at the American bases so that bombing missions could be laid on almost immediately.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

"LE BAS, Michael Henry, S/L (104423, Royal Air Force) - No.241 Squadron

Since this officer has been in command of his squadron he has taken part in a large number of operational sorties of a varied nature, including shipping and strategical reconnaissances. He has himself led his squadron on long-range low level missions and bomber escorts.  Under his fine leadership the squadron has recently achieved some brilliant successes and has inflicted considerable damage on the enemy's mechanical transport and rail and river communications."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 16313)

This page was last updated on 30/01/23

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