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Air Marshal Sir Herbert Durkin (109955)

Herbert                        b: 31 Mar 1922           r: 1 Jul 1978                d: 12 Apr 2004

KBE – 12 Jun 1976, CB – 2 Jun 1973, MA, CEng, FIEE, FRAeS, MBIM.

(RAFVR): - Act Plt Off (P): 24 Oct 1941, Plt Off (P): 26 Mar 1942, Fg Off (P) (WS): 1 Oct 1942, (T) Flt Lt: 1 Jan 1945.

(RAF): - Flt Lt: 18 Dec 1945 [1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1951, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1957, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1968, AVM: 1 Jan 1971 Act AM:  8 May 1976, AM:  1 Jul 1976.

24 Oct 1941:                Appointed to an Emergency Commission in the Technical Branch, RAFVR.

xx xxx 1941:                 Technical Officer, No 60 Group.

18 Dec 1945:               Appointed to an Extended Service Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

xx xxx xxxx:                  ADC to AM Sir Hugh Walmsley, AOC-in-C India.

xx xxx xxxx:                  Technical Officer, Central Bomber Establishment.

xx xxx 1947                  Staff, Fort Halstead (British Atomic Weapons programme)

16 Sep 1948:               Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

xx xxx 1950:                 Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Fort Halstead, Kent.

xx Jan 1953:                 Attended RAF Staff College.

 9 May 1954:                Command Signals Officer, AHQ Iraq

xx xxx 1955:                 Chief Instructor, Signals Division, RAF Technical College

18 Jan 1958:                Staff Officer, Deputy Directorate of Technical Services

 1 Jan 1962:                 Assistant Chief of Staff (Communications-Electronics), HQ 2nd Allied TAF

11 May 1964:              Senior Technical Staff Officer, HQ Signals Command.

22 Nov 1965:               Commandant, No 2 School of Technical Training, Cosford.

17 Jul 1967:                  Director of Engineering Policy (RAF)

xx Jan 1970:                 Attended Imperial Defence College

15 Feb 1971:               AOC, No 90 (Signals) Group

 1 Nov 1973:                Director-General of Engineering and Supply Management (RAF)

 8 May 1976:               Controller of Engineering and Supply (RAF)

 3 Jun 1978:                 Relinquished above post.

Following attendance at Burnley Grammar School he studied Mathematics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.  Whilst an undergraduate, he was recruited by C P Snow for the newly established Chain Home radar system and he was eventually commissioned into the technical branch of the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1941.

As well as working on the air defence radar system he was also later involved in the calibration of the GEE navigation system and OBOE blind bombing system.  Moving to India towards the end of the war, he established a GEE network around the sub-continent, after which he became ADC to the AOC-in-C.

During his time at Fort Halstead, he helped produce the electrical arming system for Britain’s first atomic weapon, which tested in 1952 at Monte Bello Island.

After retiring from the RAF he took a post as technical adviser to the managing director of Plessey Telecoms as well as sitting as a non-executive director on the board of several companies.  In 1980 he became president of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, the first air marshal to do so.  A proud Lancastrian he was president of the Association of Lancastrians in London from 1988 to 1990.

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