Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
b: 7 Aug 1923 r: 31 Mar 1978 d: 20 Feb 1991
– 3 Jun 1978, CBE – 1 Jan 1973, DFC – 13 Jul 1945, QCVSA
- 1 Jan 1954.
Lt: xx xxx xxxx, Lt: xx xxx xxxx,
Capt: xx xxx xxxx.
Fg Off: 29
Jan 1947 [26 Feb 1945], Flt Lt (WS):
29 Jan 1947 [26 Feb 1946], Flt Lt: 28 Aug 1947, Act Sqn Ldr:
xx xxx 1952, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1954,
Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1959, Gp Capt: 1
Jul 1965, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1970,
AVM: 1 Nov 1973,
AVM: 1 Jan 1974.
Served in South African Air Force
Flight Commander, No 72 Sqn.
Officer Commanding (Act), No 72 Sqn.
Attended RAF Staff College.
xx xxx 1958:
4 Jan 1960: Officer Commanding, Flying Wing, RAF Laarbruch.
Attended Joint Services Staff College.
1 Jan 1963: Staff Officer, Ministry of Defence
xx xxx xxxx:
Officer Commanding, RAF Valley/No 4 FTS
Attended Imperial Defence College.
Air Commander, Malta.
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations).
AOC & Commandant, RAF College.
The son of two doctors, he attended the University of
Cape Town before joining the South African Air Force.
Flying with RAF units in Italy, he applied for a transfer to the RAF and
was accepted in 1947.
Whilst Commandant of the RAF College, his command was
enlarged when the HQ of the Central Flying School was relocated to Cranwell.
Following retirement at his own request, he became an Officer Careers Councillor (RAF)
until 1983 when he became a Member of the Lord Chancellor's Panel of Independent
Inquiry Inspectors. From 1985 to
1988, he was also commander of St John's Ambulance in Lincolnshire.
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying
“Captain William -Edward COLAHAN (328383V), S.A.A.F.,
This officer is an exceptionally able pilot and a
fearless fighter. He has completed very many sorties during which he has
successfully attacked a wide range of enemy targets. In April, 1945, Captain
Colahan led a small section of aircraft in an attack against an enemy
strongpoint consisting of one large and three smaller heavily defended houses. The attack was pressed home with great skill
and vigour. The objective was completely -destroyed. As a result our ground
forces were able to advance for some distance. Some days later, Captain Colahan
led a section in an attack against another heavily defended strongpoint.
In spite of considerable enemy fire the attack was pressed home with
great success. The determination shown by this officer was in keeping with that
which he has shown throughout his tour of duty.
(London Gazette – 13 July 1945)
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