Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Air Vice-Marshal Sir Alan Boxer (41545)
b: 1 Dec 1916
r: 18 Jul 1970
d: 26 Apr 1998
– 13 Jun 1970, CB – 1 Jan 1968, DSO – 23 Mar 1945, DFC
– 26 March 1943, VM (SC) – 21 Jan 1944, BSM – 25 May 1951,
AM (US) – 25 May 1951.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
(RAFVR): Act Plt Off (P): 14 Jan 1939, Plt Off (P): 3 Sep 1939, Plt Off: 31 Oct 1939, Fg Off: 3 Sep 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 3 Sep 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1943?, (T) Sqn Ldr: 18 Dec 1943, Sqn Ldr (WS): 1 Jan 1944, (T) Sqn Ldr: 3 Dec 1946 [1 Jul 1944],
Sqn Ldr: 26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep
Cdr: 1 Jan 1952, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1958, A/Cdre:
1 Jan 1962, Act AVM: 28 May 1965,
AVM: 1 Jul 1966.
Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot?
U/T Pilot, No ? FTS.
QFI, Flying Training Command.
Pilot/Flight Commander, No 161 Sqn.
Transferred to RAFO and called up for service
Flight Commander, No 138 Sqn
Officer Commanding, No 161 Sqn.
Staff, Directorate of Intelligence (Research).
Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command.
Attended Course No 15, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.
1946: Appointed to a
Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader
(retaining rank current at the time)
[wef 1 Sep 1945]
[wef 1 Sep 1945]
Staff, Directorate of Intelligence (Operations). (Cabinet Offices)
Attended Army Staff College, Haifa.
Exchange posting - USAF
Staff, Central Fighter Establishment.
Directing Staff, RAF Staff College.
Officer Commanding, No 7 Sqn.
21 Oct 1957: Officer Commanding, RAF Wittering.
Group Captain - Plans, HQ Bomber Command.
Attended Imperial Defence College.
18 Mar 1963:
SASO, HQ No 1 Group.
SASO, HQ Bomber Command.
Defence Services Secretary.
A New Zealander he took a series of short-term
jobs in order to help the family finances, he father having died when he was
nine, whilst managing to take flying lessons in his spare time.
With war clouds looming over Europe he decided to leave New Zealand in
1938 and join the RAF. Having
already amassed 175 hours he found himself posted as a instructor following his
service flying training. He
remained in Training Command for two years, but eventually in 1942 he was posted
to an operational unit, No 161 Squadron at Tempsford.
Here he commanded the Hudson Flight
and was involved in the delivery and collection of SOE Agents from
occupied France, although many of his missions were long ranging to Scandinavia
and Poland often lasting 13 hours. A
spell as a staff officer at the Air ministry co-ordinating SOE flights was
followed by a return to 161, this time as CO.
After the war he attended both the RAF Staff College
and the Army College at Haifa before being given an exchange posting with the
USAF. Here he flew B29’s on the
West Coast of America including a six-month tour of duty taking part in
operations during the Korean War. Following
his return from the USA he spent a year at the Central Fighter Establishment
before being appointed to the directing staff of the RAF Staff College.
After the Staff College he was tasked with reforming
No 7 Squadron as a Valiant unit. Although
the squadron officially reformed on 1 November 1956 at Honington, it was the end
of the month before he was able to collect the first of its aircraft from the
Vickers factory at Wisley. One of
the tasks he performed with 7 Squadron was the transporting of an ‘H’ bomb
to Christmas Island for the forthcoming tests.
This necessitated him landing in the USA to re-fuel without being able to
divulge the nature of his payload. Promotion
to Group Captain brought command of the Victor base at Wittering. A staff post at HQ Bomber Command and attendance at the
Imperial Defence College was followed by two SASO posts. The first at HQ No 1
Group and the second as the last person to hold the post at Bomber Command
before it was amalgamated with Fighter Command to form Strike Command.
In 1967 he became the first RAF officer to hold the
post of Defence Services Secretary, which involved liaising between the Ministry
of Defence and Buckingham Palace. As
such he was heavily involved with the Prince of Wales’s investiture at
Caernarfon in 1969. Retiring in
1970 he spent a brief period working as a planning inspector with the Department
of the Environment but soon became despondent with the Civil Service and left to
concentrate on his other two great passions sailing and conservation.
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“Acting Squadron Leader Alan Hunter Cachemaille BOXER (41545), No.138
Within the last 2 months, Squadron Leader Boxer has successfully
completed several long-range sorties. On
one of them, when some hundreds of miles from base, one engine of his aircraft
failed. Despite this, he succeeded
in flying the bomber home. Some
time later, he completed the return flight from a distant target in similar
circumstances. He is a most
reliable and determined pilot.”
(London Gazette – 26 March 1943)
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