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Air Vice-Marshal Sir Paul Maltby (1199)

Air Vice-Marshal Sir Paul Maltby (pictured as Black Rod)P C Maitland - 1915Paul Copeland             

b: 5 Aug 1892                     r: 2 Oct 1946                d: 2 Jul 1971

KCVO - 16 Mar 1962, KBE - 1 Oct 1946, CB - 1 Jan 1941, DSO - 1 Jan 1917, AFC - 3 Jun 1919, ON (GO) - 16 May 1947, DL (Southampton) - 1956.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army): - 2 Lt:  20 Sep 1911, Lt: 19 Oct 1912, (T) Capt: 15 Nov 1914,  Capt: 1 Oct 1915, (T) Maj: 5 Aug 1916,

(RAF): - (T) Lt Col [Maj]: 1 Apr 1918, Act Lt Col: 1 May 1919,   Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1925, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1932, Act A/Cdre (unpd): 7 Jun 1935, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1936, AVM: 1 Jul 1938.

Photograph (Left) Crown Copyright

xx xxx xxxx:          Attended RMC Sandhurst.

20 Sep 1911:           Officer, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. (India)

xx xxx 1911:          Officer, 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. (France)

 8 Sep 1915:            Attached to RFC.

xx xxx 1915:            U/T Pilot,

 5 Nov 1915:           Flight Commander, No 15 Sqn RFC.

 5 Aug 1916:           Officer Commanding, No 16 Sqn RFC. (BE2c, BE2e Western Front)

xx Jun 1917?:          Staff Officer  

 1 Apr 1918:           Staff Officer, 1st Class, Air Ministry.

 1 May 1918:          Staff Officer 1st Class, HQ North-Western Area.

 1 Jan 1919:            Staff Officer 1st Class - Glasgow, HQ North-Western Area.

 1 Jun 1919:            Staff Officer 1st Class, HQ Northern Area.

 1 Aug 1919:            Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major

15 Sep 1919:           Transferred from Staff Officer Branch to Flying Branch.

27 Nov 1919:          Officer Commanding, No 48 Squadron (re-numbered No 5 Sqn - 1 Apr 1920)

 1 Apr 1920:            Officer Commanding, No 5 Sqn. (Bristol F2B Quetta)

13 Feb 1924:           Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 7 Apr 1924:            Staff, No 1 School of Technical Training (Boys).

 1 Jan 1925:             Officer Commanding, No 1 Wing, Inland Area.

10 May 1926:          Attended RAF Staff College.

19 Dec 1927:           Staff, Directorate of Training.

 7 Sep - 3 Oct 1930:  Director of Training (Temporary)

 5 Jan 1931:             Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

19 Jan 1931:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

19 Jan 1932:            Commandant, Central Flying School.

 7 Jun 1935:             AOC, RAF Mediterranean.

22 Sep 1938:           AOC, No 24 (Training) Group.

26 Oct 1940:           AOC, No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.

 1 Dec 1940:            AOC, No 71 (Army Co-operation) Group/Air Adviser to GOC, Home Forces

14 Aug 1941:           Air Adviser to GOC, Home Forces

 5 Nov 1941:           AOC, RAF in Northern Ireland.

21 Nov 1941:           In transit to Far East

12 Jan 1942            Assistant AOC, RAF Far East.

10 Feb 1942:           AOC, Westgroup, Java

xx Apr 1942:            Prisoner of War

He entered Sandhurst after leaving Bedford School.  Born in India, where his father was a tea planter, his uncle, Colonel J E Capper, had been Commandant of the original Balloon Factory (later Royal Aircraft Factory) at Farnborough and this may well have had a bearing on his volunteering for the RFC in 1915, gaining RAeC Certificate 1673 on 25 July of that year.

Advised that he would take over as AOC in Northern Ireland, he had hardly time to prepare for the move when his posting was changed and he was traveling in the opposite direction to Singapore.     Initially attached to the staff of the C in C at GHQ Far East, he soon realised that what was needed was a Deputy AOC, to take some of the load off C W H Pulford, who was tired and in ill health.  He chose to carry out this function himself, although he was in fact senior to Pulford.  It was not long before he was heavily involved in operations against the Japanese invasion forces and in early 1942, he was sent to Sumatra with instruction to organize all British Commonwealth air forces against further Japanese moves.  When Field Marshal Wavell returned to India in February 1942, Maltby was also left in command of all British forces in Sumatra, but subordinate to the Dutch C-in-C.  He and Group commanders made valiant  attempts to hold the Japanese at bay, but with the capitulation of the local Dutch troops, he and his remaining forces reluctantly surrendered.

However, captivity did not dampen his resolve and throughout his captivity he battled with his captors over conditions and treatment of his fellow prisoners.   Eventually, released from captivity in 1945, he retired from the RAF after having supervised the writing of the reports on the Malayan campaign of 1941-2.  He was appointed Sergeant at Arms in the House of Lords (Black Rod), holding the post until 1962.

Citation for the award of Knight of the Order of the British Empire

MALTBY, Paul Copeland, A/V/V, CB, DSO, AFC - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 October 1946.

 "For outstanding service whilst in command of the Royal Air Force in the Far East during the period December 1941 to February 1942, and for subsequent courage and devotion to duty as senior British officer in various prisoner of war camps."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 22994)

This page was last updated on 25/11/22

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