Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal W E Oulton (26209)

AVM W E OultonWilfred Ewart                  b: 27 Jul 1911                        r: 1 Jan 1961                        d:  31 Oct 1997

CB – 1 Jan 1958, CBE – 1 Jun 1953, DSO – 12 Nov 1943, DFC - 4 Jun  1943, MiD - 20 Feb 1940, MiD - 8 Jun 1944,  FEng, FRIN.

Plt Off: 25 Jul 1931, Fg Off: 25 Jan 1933, Flt Lt: 1 Apr 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1938, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941, Act Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1944, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1944 - 1 Nov 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Act Gp Capt: 1 Nov 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1949, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1955, Act AVM: 9 Feb 1956, AVM: 1 Jan 1958.

 5 Sep 1929:               Flight Cadet, RAF College.

25 Jul 1931:                Appointed to a Permanent Commission

25 Jul 1931:                U/T Pilot, No 3 FTS

 4 Oct 1931:               Flying Boat Course, RAF Base Calshot

 4 Apr 1932:               Pilot, No 204 Sqn.

19 Aug 1932:              Pilot, No 202 Sqn (arrived 28 Aug 1932)

14 Sep 1933:              Staff, RAF Hal Far.

22 Jan 1934:              Attached to No 202 Sqn

17 Mar 1936:              Attended School of Air Navigation.

11 Nov 1936:              Navigation Instructor?, School of Air Navigation.

31 Aug 1939:              Supernumerary, No 217 Sqn

 2 Sep 1939:               Officer Commanding, 'C' Flight, No 217 Sqn (detached to Carew Cheriton)

xx xxx - 1 Apr 1940:                 Officer Commanding, RAF Carew Cheriton

24 Apr 1940:               Staff Officer, Air Ministry, Harrogate

xx xxx xxxx: (1941)     Staff Officer, RAF Delegation

13 Mar 1943:              Attended Conversion Course, No 3 (Coastal) OTU

18 Mar 1943:              Attached to No 1 Engine Control Demonstration Unit

 1 Apr 1943:                Officer Commanding, No 58 Sqn. (Halifax II)

 1 Oct 1943:                Officer Commanding, RAF Lagens. (Azores)

xx xxx 1944:                Officer Commanding RAF Castle Archdale

 3 Mar 1945:               Deputy Director of Operations (Maritime) (1).

xx xxx 1946:                Director, Joint Anti-Submarine School.

xx xxx 1948:                Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College.

 3 Dec 1950:               Air Attaché, Buenos Aires.

xx Jan 1954:                Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1954:                Director of Operations.

 9 Feb 1956:               Officer Commanding, Joint Task Force - 'Operation Grapple'

21 Apr 1958:              SASO, HQ Coastal Command.

He started at Cranwell the year after Douglas Bader, representing the College at Boxing and being awarded the'Abdy Gerrard Fellows' Memorial Prize on graduation.

Awarded his DSO for sinking three U-boats in one month during May 1943.  The first was the U663, which he sunk on the 7th, he then sank the U463 on the 15th, both of these sinking being by his aircraft alone.  Then to round off the ''63's'', he shared in the destruction of the U563 with other aircraft on the 31st.

In February 1956, the decision to appoint an Admiral to command the H-bomb trials (Operation 'Grapple') was changed to an RAF Officer.  Air Commodore Oulton was selected and promoted to AVM.   These trials took place in the Pacific, with the RAF units involved being based on Christmas Island.  The main trials involved a number of drops, some of which were inert but three of which were live.  The main trials were completed in June 1957, but it was then decided to carry out three further trials, named 'Grapple X', 'Y' and 'Z'.   Wilfred Oulton remained in command of 'Grapple X' in October/November 1957, but was succeeded by AVM J Grandy for the other two.  Retired at his own request.  

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Wing Commander Wilfrid Ewart OULTON (26209), No.58 Squadron.

Recently, this officer was the captain of an aircraft, which attacked a U-boat.  Later in the day another submarine was observed on the surface of the water.  In the face of accurate anti-aircraft fire from the vessel, Wing Commander Oulton pressed home a vigorous attack.  During a patrol some days later, he executed a destructive attack on yet another U-boat.  Wing Commander Oulton has displayed great keenness and efficiency.”

(London Gazette – 4 June 1943)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order.

OULTON, Wilfred Ewart, G/C, DFC  - No.58 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 12 November 1943.  No DSO citation in Gazette.

"This officer has commanded his squadron since April 1943, and since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross has taken part in a number of sorties.  In the course of these missions he has made attacks on enemy submarines, sinking two.  This officer has invariably displayed alertness and gallantry in his operational duties and also the ability to train crews and impart his knowledge and experience which have raised the standard of the personnel in his unit."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 12011 dated 11 November 1943)

This page was last updated on 11/12/22

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