Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
27 Jul 1917
r: 27 Oct 1970
d: 6 Oct 2001
– 10 Jun 1967, CBE – 2 Jun 1962, DSO – 9 Jul 1943, DFC
– 22 Aug 1941, BA.
(RAFO): Plt Off (P): 29 Dec 1936, Plt Off: 10 Sep 1939, Fg Off: xx xxx 1940, Flt Lt: 15 Sep 1940, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Dec 1941, Act Wg Cdr: 28 Jan 1943?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 28 Jul 1943,
26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep 1945],
Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1951,
Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1958,
Act A/Cdre: 6 Oct 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1963,
AVM: 1 Jul 1965.
Granted a Commission in the RAFO (Class AA)
5 Feb 1940: Attended (Conversion) Course, RAF Cottesmore
5 Feb 1940: Pilot (Operational Training), No 98 Sqn
11 May 1940: Pilot, No 150 Sqn (Battles, Wellingtons)
Flight Commander, No 150 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: Flight Commander, 'C' Flight, No 15 OTU
8 Sep 1941: Operations Room Duties, RAF Snaith
Flight Commander?, No 460 Squadron.
RAF Liaison Officer to BAFTP – Georgia, USA.
xx xxx 1942: Flight Commander, No 10 Sqn (Halifax)
7 Feb 1943: Attended Bomber Command Tactics Course
xx Apr 1943: Officer Commanding, No 51 Sqn. (Halifax BII)
Nov 1943: Chief
Flying Instructor, No 1652 HCU
xx Nov 1943: Chief Flying Instructor, No 1652 HCU
Attended RAF Staff College.
Air Staff, ‘Tiger Force’
Staff, Air Staff Policy.
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]
Officer Commanding, Aden Communications Flight
Officer Commanding, No 83 Sqn.
Officer Commanding, RAF Honington.
Group Captain - Operations, HQ Bomber Command.
Director of Operational Requirement (C).
Air Attaché/Commander, RAF Staff, British Joint Services Mission,
SASO, HQ Air Support Command.
Born in Cheshire, he attended Eton and joined the RAFO whilst a undergraduate at Magdalen College Oxford and learnt to fly with the University Air Squadron. He was mobilised in 1939 and posted to No 150 Squadron, with whom he flew Battles as part of the AASF in France. On 19 May 1940 he was flying L5583, when he was made a forced landing on Sommesousse airfield, where he had to leave the aircraft and made his way back to his unit. The Battle was totally outclassed against the German fighters and losses amongst Battle crews were extremely heavy, but Alan Frank survived and was still with 150 when it returned to the UK after the Dunkirk evacuation, where it began converting to Wellingtons.
After a year with No 150, he moved to No 460 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force as a flight commander. Taken off operations in 1942, he travelled to the USA to act as a Liaison Officer, but was back in the UK, later that year, where he assumed command of No 10 Squadron, equipped with Halifaxes. He took command of another Halifax unit, No 51 Squadron, in April 1943, taking part in numerous raids over Germany, including Operation 'Gomorrah', the attack against Hamburg in July 1943 as well as operations against Italian targets.
He now had the opportunity to attend the RAF Staff College, following which he was assigned to the Air Staff of 'Tiger Force', which was due to take control of much of Bomber Command, once Germany had been defeated and join the fighting in the Pacific and against the Japanese home islands. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs brought the war to an end and with 'Tiger Force' no longer required it was disbanded. Frank transferred to the Air Ministry, with the disbandment of 'Tiger Force'.
Returning to flying, he was given command of the Aden Communications Flight, where he organised famine relief operations on the Hadhramaut plateau of southern Arabia.
1957, having completed the Vulcan
conversion course at No 230 OCU he was tasked with forming the first operational
Vulcan squadron, No 83, although the unit's first aircraft did not arrive until
July 1957. In the meantime the
squadron used aircraft from the OCU and in June two of the squadron's crews took
part in the Bomber Command Bombing Competition, one of which was Wing Commander
Frank's. They won the competition
collecting four of the six prizes. In October, Wing Commander Frank was again captaining a
crew in a competition, this time, the SAC Bombing Competition in the USA,
although the Vulcans only achieved 44th place.
After command of No 83, he took command of the Victor
base at Honington, before moving the HQ Bomber Command in 1960. In 1962 he
returned to the Air Ministry as Director of Operational Requirements (C) and
three years later returned to the USA as Air Attaché and Commander of the RAF
Staff of the British Joint Services Mission. His final appointment was as
Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ Air Support Command. From 1970 to 1974, he was Bursar of St Antony's
This page was last updated on 13/04/21
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J G Franks
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