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Air Marshal Sir Patrick Playfair


Air Marshal Sir Patrick Playfair (centre)P H L Playfair - 1912Patrick Henry Lyon           

b: 22 Nov 1889              r: 20 Jul 1942                  d: 23 Nov 1974

KBE - 11 Jul 1940, CB - 1 Jan 1931, CVO - 26 Jul 1935 [6 Jul 1935], MC - 14 Jan 1916, MiD - 1 Jan 1916, MiD - 31 Dec 1918, SS3S - 15 Feb 1917, DSM (US) - 15 Jul 1919, LoH, C - xx xxx 194?.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army): - 2 Lt:  23 Jul 1910, Lt: 23 Jul 1913, (T) Capt: 27 Jan 1915, (T) Maj: 12 Jan 1916, Capt: 23 Jul 1916, (T) Lt Col: 28 Aug 1916.

(RAF): - (T) Lt Col [Maj]: 1 Apr 1918, Wg Cdr: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Act Gp Capt: 22 Nov 1922, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1923, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1930, AVM: 1 Jan 1934,   Act AM: 5 Aug 1940 - 6 Mar 1942, AM: Retained.

Photograph (Left) Crown Copyright

xx xxx xxxx:          Attended RMA Woolwich.

23 Jul 1910:          Officer, Royal Field Artillery. (Ireland/Bordon)

xx xxx 1912:            Pilot, No 2 Sqn RFC. (Various types Farnborough)

28 Nov 1912:          Pilot, No 4 Sqn RFC. (Various types Farnborough/Netheravon/Western Front)

27 Jan 1915:            'B' Flight Commander, No 11 Sqn RFC. (Netheravon/Western Front)

12 Jan 1916:            Officer Commanding, No 8 Sqn RFC. (BE2c Western Front)

28 Aug 1916:          Officer Commanding, 13th (Army) Wing RFC.

xx xxx xxxx :            Sick/Convalescing (Flying accident)

xx Nov 1917:          Officer Commanding, No 13 Wing RFC.

xx xxx 1918:            Sick/Convalescing (Influenza)

17 Jan 1919:            Commandant, Central Flying School.

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Lieutenant Colonel

26 Aug 1919:          Officer Commanding, Netheravon Flying School

23 Dec 1919:          Officer Commanding, No 1 FTS.

15 Nov 1922:          Officer Commanding, RAF Base - Leuchars.

15 Aug 1925:           Supernumerary - Non effective (Sick), RAF Depot.

16 Nov 1925:           Chief Staff Officer, HQ Coastal Area.

17 Nov 1928:           Officer Commanding, RAF Transjordan and Palestine.

26 Aug 1929:            Deputy AOC, RAF Transjordan and Palestine

30 Nov 1929:           Officer Commanding/AOC, HQ Transjordan and Palestine.

17 Dec 1930:            SASO, HQ RAF India.

10 Sep 1932:            Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

31 Oct 1932:            AOC, No 23 Group.

26 Sep 1933:            AOC, Wessex Bombing Area.

 18 Sep 1933:           AOC, Western Area.

 1 May 1936:            AOC, No 3 Group.

17 Feb 1938:            AOC, No 1 Group.

 2 Sep 1939:             AOC, Advanced Air Striking Force.

26 Sep 1940:            AOC in C, Air Forces in India.

Dissatisfied with the drudgery of regimental life, he took leave, learnt to fly at Weybridge, gained his RAeC Certificate (No 283) on 3 September 1912 and transferred to the RFC. 

Posted to Palestine as Officer Commanding, he had been in post just over six months when an incident occurred which led to widespread rioting.  This resulted in his replacement on the 26th August by Brigadier Dobbie.  RAF control was restored with the arrival of AVM Hugh Dowding in September and with it came eventual restoration of peace in the area.  Following completion of an inquiry into the troubles, Playfair was vindicated and remained in command, being promoted to Air Commodore the following year.   Following the formation of Bomber Command he found himself at odds with his C in C, Air Marshal Sir John Steel, who appeared to be completely out of touch with the day-to-day operational requirements of his command.  The result of this was his being passed over for promotion and it was nearly five years and the arrival of a new C in C, before he was promoted.  When war was declared, No 1 Group became the Advanced Air Striking Force.

Further reading: - 'Pip' Playfair,  Playfair, AM Sir Patrick/ Jarvis J - Arthur H Stockwell (1979)  

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