Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Alasdair Steedman (123469)

Alasdair McKay Sinclair            b: 29 Jan 1922                r: 24 Jan 1981                      d: 2 Jan 1992

GCB – 14 Jun 1980 (KCB – 12 Jun 1976, CB – 2 Jun 1973), CBE – 1 Jan 1965, DFC -27 Oct 1944, QCVSA – 13 Jun 1957, FRAeS - 1981, CBIM - 1979 (FBIM), JMN - xx xxx 1967, PR (Cdr) - xx xxx 1990.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(RAFVR): Plt Off: 27 Mar 1942, Fg Off (WS): 27 Sep 1942, Flt Lt (WS): 27 Mar 1944, Flt Lt: 27 Sep 1945.

(RAF): Fg Off: 2 Apr 1946 [27 Sep 1945], Flt Lt: 1 Jul 1946, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1950, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1956, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1962, Act A/Cdre: 13 May 1965, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1965, AVM: 1 Jan 1969, Act AM: 3 Jun 1976, AM: 1 Jul 1976, ACM: 26 Oct 1977.

xx xxx 1942:            Pilot, No 241 Sqn.

xx xxx 1942:            Pilot, No 2 Sqn.

xx xxx 1945:            Air Staff, Air Ministry.

2 Apr 1946 :            Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flying Officer (retaining rank current at the time). [wef  27 Sep 1945]

30 Jun 1948:            Officer Commanding, No 39 Sqn.

xx xxx 1949:            Officer Commanding, No 8 Sqn.

xx xxx 1951:            Attended Course No 122, Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1951:            Officer Commanding, Training Sqn - No 201 AFS.

xx xxx 1953:            Syndicate Leader, Aircrew Selection Centre (Hornchurch).

xx xxx 1955:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1955:            Chief Instructor, CFS (B).

11 Jul 1957:             Officer Commanding, Royal Ceylon Air Force Katanayake.

xx xxx 1959:            Attended Joint Services Staff College.

23 May 1960:          Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College.

29 Oct 1962:           Officer Commanding, RAF Lyneham.

 4 Jan 1965:            Air Staff, HQ Transport Command.

13 May 1965:          Air Force Member - Malaysian Armed Forces Council.

13 May 1965:          CAS, Royal Malaysian Air Force.

15 Dec 1967:           Director of Defence Plans (Air).

xx xxx 1968:            Director, Defence Operations Staff.

15 Feb 1969:           Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy).

14 Jul 1971:             SASO, HQ Strike Command.

 2 Oct 1972:            Commandant, RAF Staff College.

 3 Jun 1976:             Air Member for Supply and Organisation.

26 Oct 1977:           UK Military Representative, NATO HQ Military Committee.

Alastair Steedman entered the RAF in January 1941 having previously attended Hampton Grammar School.  Following completion of his flying training, he was commissioned and posted to No 241 Squadron.  Equipped with Mustangs, the squadron was based at Ayr and was involved in Tactical Recce operations in support of the Army  When No 241 Squadron was prepared for overseas, he transferred to No 2 Sqn in order to assist them in converting to the Mustang, continuing to fly with No 2 until the end of the war.

A spell on staff duties in the Air Ministry was followed by a return to flying when he was given command of No 39 Squadron, then based in the Middle East flying Tempest F6's in the fighter-bomber role. His next command saw him move northwards from the Sudan to Aden where he took over No 8 Sqn equipped with Bristol Brigands.

Following retirement, he became Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund as well  as serve on a large number of bodies and organisations.  Such organisations have included, the National Advisory Centre for Careers for Women (1988 - ), RAF Small Arms Association (Vice Patron 1978 - ), Central Flying School Association (Patron 1984 - ), International Air Tattoo (Chairman 1981 - 88, Vice-Patron 1988 - ) and memberships of the Board of Governors of Gordon School (1987 - ) and Hampton School (1976 - ).  He was also a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Flight Lieutenant Alexander McKay Sinclair STEEDMAN (123469), R.A.F.V.R., 241 Sqn.

This officer has completed many reconnaissance sorties over Central Italy and Yugoslavia.  On numerous occasions he has flown across heavily defended enemy harbours and has brought back accurate and valuable information Of enemy shipping activity.  On one occasion he was largely responsible for the destruction or setting on fife of 16 vehicles of an enemy convoy.  Flight Lieutenant Steedman has displayed exceptional keenness and determination and he has set a fine example to his squadron.”

(London Gazette – 27 October 1944)

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