Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Vice-Marshal The Rt. Hon. Sir
b: 23 Jul 1877
r: 1 Apr 1919
d: 30 Sep 1954
PC - 20 Nov 1928, GCSI - 2 Feb 1934, GCIE - 3 Nov 1928, GBE -26 Aug 1919, KCB - 1 Jan 1919, CMG - 14 Mar 1916, MiD - 19 Oct 1914, MiD - 14 Mar 1916, K.J.St.J - 19 Jun 1936, SV4 - 12 Apr 1916, Leo Cdr - 15 Jul 1919, DSM (US) - 15 Jul 1919, LoH Cdr - 18 Nov 1919, RS2 - 4 Jan 1921.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
(Army): - (L) Lt: xx xxx 1900, 2 Lt: 2 Oct 1901, (L) Lt: 7 Mar 1903, Lt (15th H): 29 Jul 1903, Capt: 1 Oct 1908, (T) Maj: 13 May 1912, (B) Maj: 3 Jun 1913, (T) Lt Col: 9 Jul 1913, (T) Col (RFC): 22 Nov 1914, (B) Lt Col: 18 Feb 1915, (T) Col (RM): 24 Jul 1915 - 14 Mar 1916, Wg Capt (RNAS):24 Jul 1915 - 14 Mar 1916, (T) Brig-Gen: 8 Feb 1917, (B) Col: 3 Jun 1918.
- Maj-Gen: 12 Apr 1918 [1 Apr 1918], AVM: 1 Aug 1919,
2 Oct 1901:
7 Mar 1903:
Officer, West African
22 Sep 1904: Supernumerary Lieutenant reinstated to establishment of 15th Hussars.
Intelligence Staff -
1 Oct 1908:
Staff College, Quetta.
Staff Officer 3rd Class,
Directorate of Military Operations.
May 1912: Officer Commanding and Officer in charge of Records, Military Wing RFC
9 Jul 1913: Commandant, Military Wing, RFC.
5 Aug 1914:
Chief of Staff (GSO
1), HQ RFC in the Field.
Nov 1914: Commander, RFC in the
10-12 Dec 1914: Temporary duty in England
Dec 1914: Chief of Staff
HQ RFC in the Field.
26 Jan - 2 Feb 1915: Temporary duty in England
May 1915: Placed at the disposal of
Commanding, RNAS Eastern Mediterranean Station
Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster-General, 4th Mounted Division.
Jun 1916: Assistant
of Adjutant-General to the Forces.
8 Feb 1917: Director-General of
Deputy to General Wilson, Allied War Council
Apr 1918: Chief of the Air
19 May - 3 Jun 1918: Temporary duty in France
of Civil Aviation
Having worked as a clerk and on a tea plantation in Ceylon he enlisted the Army on the outbreak of the Boar War. He was captured and after being forced marched across South Africa, was abandoned and returned to the British. Commissioned he returned, only to be severely wounded in the chest, invalided back to the UK but later returning to his unit, once again. In 1904, he was attached to Balloon units training on Salisbury Plain, following which he obtained his ballooning certificate. Whilst working at the War Office, he learnt to fly, eventually gaining RAeC Certificate No 95 on 20 June 1911. He served on the Sub-Committee of the Committee for Imperial Defence, which was tasked, with looking into the use of aircraft, together with Brig-Gen Henderson and Maj. McInness. Their plans (devised by Sykes) were accepted by the CID resulting in the formation of the RFC. On it's formation in May 1912, Capt Sykes was appointed to command the Military Wing of the RFC. When Henderson was appointed to command the First Division, Sykes was appointed his replacement, but on hearing of this Lord Kitchener ordered a reversal of the decision and Henderson's absence only lasted from 22 Nov 1914 to 20 Dec 1914. In 1915 he was loaned to the RNAS to put into action the findings of a report he had already written following a visit to the Dardanelles to look into the confused air situation there.
However, in 1916 he found himself surplus to RFC
requirements and was posted to the HQ of a Territorial Cyclist Division at
Colchester in his substantive rank of Captain.
Following Trenchard's resignation from the post of CAS in April 1918,
Sykes found himself appointed in his place, on more or less a part-time basis,
as he did not relinquish his post
in France. With the cessation of
hostilities and a General Election, Lloyd George reshuffled his Government
bringing in Winston Churchill as Secretary of State for Air.
Churchill published his appointments on 1 January 1919 bringing back
Trenchard as CAS but with the new post of Controller-General of Civil Aviation
going to Sykes. Sykes eventually
retired from the RAF as such on 1 April 1919 as a Major General being granted
the equivalent rank of Air Vice Marshal on the introduction of the RAF's rank
structure in August 1919.
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