Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore J R Whelan (40330)

James Roger                 b: 29 Apr 1914                     r: 26 Apr 1968                     d: 8 Mar 1985

CBE - 1 Jan 1968, DSO – 3 Oct 1944, DFC – 23 Jul 1940, Bar – 1 Oct 1943.

Act Plt Off (P): 28 Nov 1937, Plt Off: 6 Nov 1939 [27 Sep 1938], Fg Off (WS): 27 Apr 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 27 Apr 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1942, Sqn Ldr (WS): 1 Sep 1942, Sqn Ldr: 4 Jun 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1956, Act A/Cdre: 2 Jan 1961 - 64, Act A/Cdre: 20 Sep 1965, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1966.

28 Nov 1937:           Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot?.

11 Dec 1937:            U/T Pilot, No 10 FTS.

11 May 1938:           Supernumerary, No 1 RAF Depot.

xx Apr 1940:             Pilot, No 18 Sqn

 7 Sep 1940:             Supernumerary, RAF West Raynham

30 Nov 1940:            Pilot, No 18 Sqn

22 Dec 1940:            Posted to Personnel Despatch Centre, Uxbridge

1941 - 45                 Served in Egypt, Germany, Italy.

xx xxx xxxx :             Flight Commander, No 2 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

xx Jun 1942:             Officer Commanding, No 2 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

 1 Feb 1943:            Officer Commanding, No 680 Sqn.


xx xxx 1945:             Staff, Deputy Directorate of Intelligence (Organisation and Security).

 3 May 1946:            Assistant Director of Intelligence (Operations).

4 Jun 1946:               Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time). [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx xxxx:              Attended RAF Staff College.

13 Jul 1949:              Staff - Admin Plans, HQ Technical Training Command.


xx xxx 1952:             Attended Joint Services Staff College.


23 Apr 1956:            Senior Personnel Staff Officer, HQ Coastal Command.

xx xxx 1957:             Officer Commanding, RAF St Eval.

xx xxx 1959:             Base Commander, Christmas Island.

 5 Jan 1960:             Attended Imperial Defence College.

 2 Jan 1961:              Director of Intelligence (B).

12 Mar 1964:           Deputy Director of Personnel (Air).

20 Sep 1965:            AOA, HQ Coastal Command.

A Canadian, he had worked as a Clerk in order save for his passage to the UK to join the RAF, which he achieved in 1937.  On 19 April 1941, he was taken to ferry Blenheim IV, V5643 from El Geneina to El Fasher, but he was forced to make a forced landing at Kabkabiyah in the Sudan when both his engines cut and his undercarriage collapsed on landing.

He became second in command of No 2 PRU when Flight Lieutenant Tony Brown had to force land behind enemy lines due to a frozen fuel cock on 2 October 1941.  No 2 PRU was raised to squadron status as No 680 Squadron.

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Acting Wing Commander James Roger WHELAN, D.F.C. (40330), Reserve of Air Force Officers, No 680 Squadron.

Wing Commander Whelan has commanded his squadron since May, 1942 and has completed many long distance reconnaissance sorties over the sea and enemy territory.  Recently he successfully completed a mission at the extreme range of his aircraft which thereby required precise flying and most accurate photography.  At all times this officer's example of perseverance and efficiency has been an inspiration to his squadron.”

(London Gazette – 1 October 1943)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

“Acting Wing Commander James Roger WHELAN, D.F.C. (40330), R.A.F.O., 680 Sqn.

This officer has commanded the squadron since June, 1942. During the period he has completed a very large number of photographic reconnaissances and has displayed -the highest qualities of skill, courage and leadership. By his untiring zeal, initiative and excellent organising ability he has contributed in a large way to the successes of the squadron which has undertaken many notable missions, the results of which were of immense value.”

(London Gazette – 3 October 1944)

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