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Air Commodore J M Thompson (34183)

John Marlow                b: 16 Aug 1914                     r: 14 Sep 1966                     d: 23 Jul 1994

CBE – 1 Jan 1955, DSO – 14 May 1943, DFC – 6 Sep 1940, Bar – 4 Dec 1942, AFC – 1 Jan 1952, MC1 (B) – 1 Jan 1943.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Act Plt Off: 16 Mar 1934, Plt Off: 16 Mar 1935, Fg Off: 16 Sep 1936, Act Flt Lt: 16 Sep 1937, Flt Lt: 16 Sep 1938, Act Sqn Ldr: 24 Jan 1940?, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1940, Act Wg Cdr:  5 Oct 1940?, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1942, Act Gp Capt: 29 Mar 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 13 Oct 1944, Sqn Ldr: 25 Feb 1947 [1 Jun 1944], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1953, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1959.

16 Mar 1934:           Appointed to a Short Service Commission.

16 Mar 1934:           Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot.

 3 Apr 1934:            U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.

 4 Mar 1935:            Pilot, No 29 Sqn.

 4 Oct 1935:            Attached, RAF North Weald (when No 29 Sqn proceeded overseas)

15 Jan 1936:            Pilot, No 56 Sqn.

30 Mar 1936:          Attached to No 1 FTS for conversion course on Fleet Fighters

 6 May 1936:          Attached to RAF Calshot for floatplane training

 4 Aug 1936:            Pilot, No 151 Sqn (ex 'B' Flight, No 56 Sqn).

16 Sep 1937:            Flight Commander, No 151 Sqn.

24 Jan 1940:            Officer Commanding, No 111 Sqn.

5 Oct 1940:              Wing Commander Flying Training, HQ No 11 Group.

27 Dec 1940:            Officer Commanding, RAF Southend

xx Jun 1941:             Officer Commanding, No 131 Sqn. (Spitfire Ia/IIa)

xx Nov 1941:           Officer Commanding, No 350 (Belgian) Sqn. (Spitfire IIa)

xx Mar 1942:            In transit to the Middle East

xx May 1942:            Wing Leader, Takali Wing.

xx Jun 1942:              Wing Leader, Hal Far Wing.

18 Dec 1942:             Wing Leader, Luqa Wing.

11 Jun 1943:               Wing Commander - Training, AHQ Malta.

xx xxx 1943:               Hospitalised with diptheria 

23 Nov 1943:             Officer Commanding, RAF Hal Far.

29 Mar 1944:              SASO, HQ No 210 Group.

10 Apr 1944:              Officer Commanding, No 338 Wing.

22 May 1944:             Attended Course at Fighter Controllers Training School

xx Jul 1944:               Group Captain - Operations, HQ Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air Forces.

xx xxx 1945:               Officer Commanding, Personnel Transit Centre, Naples

 8 May 1945:              Sector Commander, RAF North Weald.

xx Sep 1945:               Attended RAF Staff College.

 5 Mar 1946:                Group Captain - Operations, HQ BAFO.

2 Apr 1946:                 Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time).[wef 1 Sep 1945 antedated to 1 Jun 1944 on 25 Feb 1947]

xx xxx 1949:                Wing Commander - Flying, RAF Thorney Island.

xx xxx xxxx:                 Wing Commander - Flying, RAF Waterbeach.

17 Mar 1952:              SASO, HQ No 11 (Fighter) Group.

25 Oct 1954:

xx Mar 1957:               Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming.

 1 Dec 1958:                Director of Air Defence.

19 Dec 1960:               Attended Imperial Defence College

 1 Feb 1962:                AOC, HQ Military Air Traffic Organisation.

During his time on Malta, he became the only officer to command all three of the fighter wings based on the island.  His final score for the war being eight confirmed destroyed and two shared, three unconfirmed destroyed, one probable and one shared and seven damaged.

After retiring from the RAF he initially became General Manager of Airwork in Saudi Arabia until 1968, when he returned to Britain and took up the post of Secretary to Moor Park Golf Club.  This in turn led to his appointment as the Secretary of the Monte Carlo Golf Club in 1972, remaining there for 11 years.  Taken ill in 1983, he returned to Sussex, where he remained until his death.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Squadron Leader John Marlow THOMPSON (34185).

This officer has commanded a squadron since January, 1940, and has operated over various areas in Northern France.  He has taken part in nearly every patrol and, under his leadership, eighty-one enemy aircraft have been destroyed, twelve probably destroyed and at least forty-four damaged.  He has, himself, shot down eight and damaged at least six enemy aircraft.”

(London Gazette – 6 September 1940)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

“Wing Commander John Marlow THOMPSON, D.F.C (34183), Reserve of Air Force Officers.

This officer has a fine operational record.  He fought in France and later took part in the Battle of Britain.  For the past 9 months he has been engaged in flying operations from Malta, playing a prominent part in the defence of the island during a period of intense air attacks.  Latterly, Wing Commander Thompson has led formations of fighter-bombers in numerous successful attacks against port installations, factories, airfields and other targets.  By his great skill and brilliant leadership, Wing Commander Thompson has contributed in a large measure to the excellent results obtained.”

(London Gazette – 14 May 1943)

Citation for the award of a Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross

"THOMPSON, John Marlowe, W/C (34183, Royal Air Force) - Station Hal Far, Malta.

This officer, who took part in the Battle of Britain, has since completed numerous operational sorties over Sicily.  On day in October 1942, he led his section with such skill that a formation of three hostile aircraft was destroyed.  Some days later he was in the leading aircraft of a formation which attacked seven heavy bombers with an escort of 50 fighters.  As a result of his interception the bombers were scattered before they could release their bombs.  He has been responsible for the destruction of ten enemy aircraft and many more damaged.  Wing Commander Thompson is an inspiring leader who has played a large part in the defence of Malta."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 8639)

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