Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Derek Jack b: 14 Nov 1921 r: 31 Jan 1976 d: 1 Jan 2007
CBE – 2 Jun 1973 (OBE - 1 Jan 1963), DFC – 12 Nov 1943, AFC – 10 Jun 1954.
AC: xx xxx xxxx, AC2: xx xxx xxxx, LAC: xx xxx xxxx, Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P) (Emer): 31 Jul 1942, Fg Off (P) (WS): 31 Jan 1943, Flt Lt (WS): 31 Jul 1944, Flt Lt: 31 Jan 1946, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1952, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1957, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1963, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1969, Act AVM: 19 Mar 1973, AVM: 1 Jan 1974.
xx xxx 1941: U/T Navigator, Canada (1444259)
xx xxx 1942: Attended No 11 OTU, Westcott.
xx Mar 1943: Navigator, No 214 Sqn.
xx xx xxxx: ?
xx xxx xxxx: Navigation Leader, No 214 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: Navigator, No 114 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: Navigator, No 96 Sqn.
xx xxx 1945: Navigator, No 48 Sqn.
23 Jan 1946: Appointed to an Extended Service Commission (4 years on active list)
xx xxx 1948: Navigation Instructor,
14 Dec 1948: Commission extended to 8 years (wef 23 Jan 1946)
xx xxx 1950: Attended Specialist Navigation Course.
1 Oct 1950: Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
xx xxx 1951: Flight Observer, A. & A.E.E.
xx xxx 1953: Exchange posting - Flight Observer, Wright-Patterson AFB.
xx xxx 1955: Attended RAF Flying College
7 Jan 1957: Air Staff, Directorate of Operational Requirements (B)
xx xxx 1958: OC Flying, RAF Waddington.
14 Mar 1960: Air Staff – Operations (Plans & Policy), HQ Bomber Command.
18 Nov 1963: Staff Officer, Nuclear Activities Branch, SHAPE.
22 Nov 1965: Deputy Director of Manning.
5 Jan 1968: Officer Commanding, RAF Scampton.
3 Sep 1969: AOC & Commandant, Central Reconnaissance Establishment.
19 Oct 1970: Secretary, NATO HQ Military Committee.
19 Mar 1973: Assistant Air Secretary.
Born at Southend, he was educated at Westcliff High School, excelling in mathematics. Leaving school he worked for the Imperial Bank of India until he was called up. Volunteering for flying duties, he was selected for navigator training, which he completed in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. On returning to the UK he attended No 11 OTU at Westcott after which his crew joined No 214 Squadron, then flying the Stirling. He flew 25 missions with 214 including Operation ‘Gomorrah’, the attack against Hamburg in July 1943 and the Peenemunde rain the following month.
Following a short rest from operations, he requested to rejoin his old squadron and returned as it’s navigation Leader. The unit was now equipped with the B-17, known in the RAF as the Fortress and was now involved in radio countr-measures in support of Bomber Command’s Main Force.
With the war over, he transferred to Transport Command and was posted to India, flying Dakotas and operated around the Far Eas, remaining in the region for two years, eventually operating from Hog Kong and Singapore. Further duties included a tour a Flight Observer at Boscombe Down, where he worked on the development of various navigation and bombing aids, for which he was awarded the AFC. This type of work continued when he was given an exchange posting to the USAF Weapons Guidance Laboratory.
On returning to the UK he attended the RAF Flying College and then moved to the Air Ministry, possibly in preparation for becoming OC Ops at RAF Waddington, which was then the home to the RAF’s first Vulcan Wing. His previous experience proved invaluable in developing the Wing’s operational capability and he even found time to break the Ottawa to London speed record in a Vulcan in 5 hours 45 minutes.
In 1960 he joined the planning staff at HQ Bomber Command, where he was involved in drawing up the plans for the deployment of the V-Force and the Thor IRBMs in the event of war. He then moved to SHAPE where he joined the Nuclear Activities Branch of NATO until returning the Air Ministry as the Deputy Director of Manning. A return to the operational side came in 1968 when he was appointed to command RAF Scampton, which was then home to the Blue Steel equipped Vulcan Wing and became the first navigator to command an operational station in peacetime.
In September 1969 he became AOC and Commandant of the Central Reconnaissance Establishment, before returning to NATO as the Secretary to the Military Committee. When he wa promoted to the rank of AVM, he became one of the first two navigators to be promoted to that rank and as such he took up the post of Air Secretary, which he held for the next two years until his retirement. On retirement he became general manager of his brother’s firm, Harlequin Wallcoverings for five years.
He lived in Eastbourne for many years and was president of Eastbourne Sinfonia as well as chairman of Aries Association for specialist navigators. He was elected to MENSA in 1989 and owned one of the first computers. In 1994 he and his wife moved to Cromer, where he joined the Cromer Society.
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