Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Marshal Sir John Sutton (2495415/2495415V)

 John Matthias Dobson            b:    9 Jul 1932                        r:  5 Jul 1989                   d:  21 Nov 2014

 KCB -31 Dec 1985 (CB 31 Dec 1980), KStJ 20 Mar 1990, QCVSA 1 Jan 1967.

 Cdt Plt: xx xxx 1950, Act Plt Off (P):  22 Mar 1951, Plt Off:  19 Dec 1951, Fg Off:  20 Mar 1953, Flt Lt:  20 Sep 1956, Sqn Ldr:  1 Jul 1962,  Wg Cdr:  1 Jan 1967, Gp Capt:  1 Jan 1971, A/Cdre:  1 Jan 1975, AVM:  1 Jul 1977, AM:  1 Jan 1986.

 xx xxx xxxx:               Cadet Pilot, No ? FTS.

22 Mar 1951:             Granted a National Service Commission in the General Duties Branch.

xx xxx xxxx:                Pilot, No ? Sqn (Meteor night fighters - Leuchars)

 1 Oct 1954:               Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the General Duties Branch

xx xxx xxxx:                Pilot, No 66 Sqn (Hunters Acklington) (1959-60)

xx xxx xxxx:                Instructor, Day Fighter Leaders School

xx xxx 1963:               Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx xxxx:                Attended No 231 OCU (Canberra)

xx Aug 1964:               Officer Commanding, No 249 Sqn. (Canberra)

xx xxx 1966:               Assistant Secretary, Chief's of Staff Committee.

xx xxx 1969:               Attended No 4 Ground Attack/Air Defence Course, No 228 OCU

xx xxx 1970:               Officer Commanding, No 14 Sqn. (Phantom)

12 Feb 1971:              Assistant Chief of Staff - Plans & Policy, HQ 2nd ATAF .

 3 Sep 1973:               Chief of the Defence Staff's Head of Staff.

xx xxx 1975:               Attended Royal College of Defence Studies.

14 Feb 1976:              Commandant, Central Flying School.

13 Aug 1977:              Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy).

 4 Jan 1980:                Deputy C in C, RAF Germany.

 6 Aug 1982:               Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations)/(Commitments).

xx xxx 1985:               Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Overseas).

 2 Jan 1986:                AOC in C, RAF Support Command.

Educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Alford, Lincolnshire, he joined the Police as a cadet but a year later in 1950 he was called up for National Service being commissioned following completion of his flying training 1n 1951.  After flying Meteor night fighters, he converted to the Hunter in the day fighter role and flew this in  units both in the UK and Germany.  When he took command of No 249 Squadron he converted to the Canberra and developed low level ground attack which were put into practice when the squadron deployed to Malaya in 1965 during the Indonesian Confrontation.  In 1970 he converted to the Phantom and was given command of the first unit equipped with the type in RAF Germany, No 14 Squadron.

Within two months of taking over as Commandant at the Central Flying School, he had to oversee the relocation of his HQ from Little Rissington to Cranwell, which took place on 12 April 1976.  In addition to the movement of his HQ, he had to contend with the fact that his new command, having spent many years at Little Rissington, was now to be scattered between Cranwell, Leeming, Valley and Shawbury.

As ACAS (Policy) he was tasked with determining the future size and shape of the RAF and a few months later, he and his team presented a range of radical initiatives such as self-defence aids for attack aircraft, in-flight refuelling for some transport aircraft and anti-ship missiles for the anti-submarine force of Nimrods.  However, procurement staff at MoD claimed that trials would take three years and that the proposals would be too expensive but in 1982, with the need to deploy aircraft to the Falklands, they managed to implement all the proposals within 10 days.

From 14 April 1990 until 1995, Sir John held the post of Lieutenant Governor and Commander-in -Chief of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

This page was last updated on 01/12/18

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