Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Antony Greville b: 6 Feb 1916 r: 6 Apr 1968 d: 5 Jan 2004
– 1 Jan 1955, DFC
- 1941, MiD
- 14 Jan 1944, MBIM
Off: 14 Dec
1935, Fg Off: 14 Jun 1937,
Act Flt Lt: 28 Nov 1938, Flt Lt: 14
Jun 1939, Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1940,
Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Wg Cdr:
1 Mar 1942, Sqn
Ldr: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Sep 1940], Wg
Cdr: 1 Jul 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jul
1952, Act A/Cdre: 6 Feb 1960,
A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1962, Act AVM: 30
Aug 1965, AVM: Retained.
Flight Cadet, 'C' Sqn, RAF College.
Pilot, No 111 Sqn.
Pilot, No 11 Sqn.
Flight Commander, No 11 Sqn?
Flight Commander, No 45 Sqn.
Officer Commanding, No 55 Sqn.
xx xxx 1941:
Instructor/OC, 'B' Flight, No 4 FTS, RAF Habbaniya, Iraq
Air Staff, HQ RAF Middle East.
Air Staff, AHQ Egypt.
SASO, No 216 Group.
Officer Commanding, No 3 Aircraft Despatch Centre?, Fez, Morocco.
Traffic Staff, HQ Transport Command
20 Jan 1945: Air Staff, HQ No 46 (Transport) Group
xx xxx 1946: Attended RAF Staff College.
Officer Commanding, RAF ? - Singapore
Senior Personnel Staff Officer, AHQ Malaya.
Personnel Staff, Air Ministry.
Officer Commanding, RAF Benson
xx xxx xxxx: Attended RAF Flying College
xx Dec 1955: Officer Commanding, RAF Bruggen
xx xxx xxxx:
Air Staff - Cadets/AOC & Commandant ATC
Director of RAF Flight Safety
Chief of Staff, British Joint Services Mission - Washington.
Born in Egypt where his father was a doctor in a
lunatic asylum (he later became the head of the Egypt's mental health
organisation), he was able to speak the local language as well as his 'native'
English, which would be useful to him later in life.
Sent to England for his education, he attended Eton and had every
intention of becoming a doctor himself but having sent both of his sons to Eton,
his father had almost bankrupt himself. Therefore
Tony decided to attempt entry into the RAF via the Cadet College at Cranwell.
Never a brilliant scholar, Tony Dudgeon was faced with the difficult
tasks of firstly getting a 'good' school certificate and then passing the
Cranwell entrance exam in the top six, in order to gain free admission.
Due to some hard work on his part but still much to his surprise, he
managed to gained the sixth free place.
Entering Cranwell as a Flight Cadet in 1933 he found
the academic studies something of a chore, but thoroughly enjoyed the flying
training. At the end of his course,
he was one of the six cadets nominated to take part in the fly-off for the 'R M
Groves' trophy, awarded to the
cadet adjudged to possess the highest flying ability by a team of examiners from
the CFS. Unfortunately, although he
finished second, both he and winner lost marks for slight infringements
resulting in the third placed cadet gaining the trophy.
been in the Hart flight at Cranwell, he expected to be sent to a bomber squadron
but to his delight he was posted to No 111 (Fighter) Squadron flying Bristol
Bulldogs and based at Northolt. Not happy with his Flight commander, he applied
to join a Torpedo Bomber squadron in Singapore.
Being rejected on the grounds that it was to early in his career for an
overseas posting, he took comfort in purchasing a car.
In typical service fashion, having just nicely acquired his own
transport, he received notification that he was to proceed to overseas. Selling the aforementioned vehicle he boarded the troopship Dorsetshire
bound for India.
in India, he was assigned to No 11 Squadron flying Hawker Harts and based at
Risalpur. During this period, he found himself working on detachments
from advanced landing grounds with just a mechanic/air gunner.
He developed a taste for these independent operations and undertook a
wide range of duties particularly developing an expertise in aerial
in India at that time was quite challenging with little hope of making a
successful force landing should the aircraft be damaged through hostile action
or should simply the engine fail. In 1938 the
squadron was re-equipped with the twin engined Bristol Blenheim and following
his own conversion by his squadron commander, Tony Dudgeon was tasked with
converting the rest of the unit. In
August 1939, the squadron relocated to Singapore.
It was whilst serving in Singapore that World War 2 broke out, but at
that time it had little effect on the Far East.
four years with No 11, Tony was informed that he would return to Britain just as
the squadron was advised that it would return to India.
Bidding farewell to his colleagues he boarded a ship once again and sent
sail 'home'. However, he
arrived in Port Said just as Italy declared war and he found himself 'posted' as
a flight commander to No 45 Sqn operating in the Sudan.
After only a couple of raids with 45 he was promoted to Squadron Leader
and appointed to command No 55 Squadron then based a Fuka.
Awarded a DFC after completing 44 operations he carried out about six
more before being sent to rest as a instructor at No 4 FTS at RAF Habbaniya in
arrived just as tension was building up in the area and quickly became involved
in the preparations for a possible assault by Iraqi rebels ( see Operations
Section). However, the attack when it came was from the Iraqi Army and
Air Force. During the
subsequent action, Tony Dudgeon played a key role by commanding the Oxford
element of the defending forces. He
was also instrumental in carrying out a number of photographic sorties and night
operations without the assistance of lighting.
Although twin engined and probably the largest aircraft available the
Oxfords were limited in their bomb carrying capability and had it not been for
his unofficial efforts in designing and having special brackets made they would
have been unable to carry anything bigger then 8lb practise bombs.
with many others he found himself suffering from battle fatigue after his 'rest'
posting and he was posted back to Egypt spending the remainder of his time in
the theatre basically enjoying himself. Firstly
he managed to find a post for his fiancee which
allowed her to travel from India and having got married they were able to live
at home in Cairo. He was appointed
SASO of No 216 Group, and was promptly informed that his job was to fly anywhere
within the Middle Eastern area in any type of aircraft to ensure that the
various scattered units of the Group were performing as required.
So for the next few months, he found himself flying around the Middle
East, North Africa, along the re-supply route from Takoradi and back down to his
old operating, the Sudan.
it was eventually decided to appoint an Air Commodore to command the group and
the post of SASO was raised to Group Captain.
He therefore invited to pick his own posting, opting to go to Fez in
Morocco in order to set up a base for the reception of aircraft from the UK and
their onward delivery to Egypt. In
1943 he was posted back to Britain and managed to get both himself and his wife,
who was pregnant, aboard a returning Dakota arriving in time for his son to be
born in England.
Remaining in the transport field he found himself
involved in preparations for the 'Overlord'.
He personally landed one of the first aircraft in the beach-head area
following the successful landings.
After the war, he returned to Singapore, this time as
a Station Commander, where he commanded two Spitfire squadrons. He did not let
the opportunity slip by and managed to find time to take part in operations
against Communist insurgents in Malaya. Following
his return from Singapore, he joined he Personnel staff at the Air Ministry
looking after cases which not appear to be covered by King's Regulations. One such case involved an ex-airman who wrote to
him stating 'One day, in Married Quarters, I shot and killed my wife.
I was found guilty but insane. This
is not a conviction in law. Therefore
I am fully entitled to the medal for good conduct in the RAF.
Please send it to me.' *
Commands of other stations included RAF Benson, the
home of the Queen's Flight and RAF Bruggen in Germany.
Prior to taking command at Bruggen, he was involved in Operation
Beecher's Brook, the delivery of 400 Sabre jet fighters across the Atlantic by
air, for which he received the CBE and possibly became the first RAF Group
Captain to exceed the 'sound barrier'.
Appointed to the Air Staff of Flying Training Command he was responsible
for the Air Cadets, later becoming the first AOC Air Cadets and Commandant of
the ATC with the formation of HQ Air Cadets in ?.
to his retirement he was Director of RAF Flight Safety, a job someone described
to him as '..setting a poacher to catch a poacher'*.
His final posting was to Washington as a member of the NATO Standing
Group and Chief of Staff to the British Joint Services Mission.
his retirement, Tony Dudgeon had quite a successful career as an author as well
as working for companies in France from 1968 until 1981.
Luck of the Devil", AVM A G Dudgeon, p209.
Leader Antony Greville Dudgeon (33240), No.55 Squadron.
This officer is an outstanding leader who seeks every opportunity to
inflict damage on the enemy. He has
led his squadron on numerous operational raids and has contributed largely to
the many successes obtained.”
(London Gazette – 11 February
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R M Drummond
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