Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Overseas Commands - Europe

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HQ Royal Air Force

St Andre-aux-bois; Cologne. (from 7 May 1919); Rear HQ - Wimereux (from 7 Jul 1919)

Formed 1 Apr 1918 from HQ RFC. Renamed RAF Rhine xx xxx 1918?

1 Apr 1918             Maj-Gen Sir John Salmond

Independent Force

Formed 6 Jun 1918 by renaming 41st Wing. Renamed Inter-Allied Independent Force, 26 Oct 1918. Disbanded, xx xxx 1918?.

6 Jun 1918             Maj-Gen Sir Hugh Trenchard

20 Nov 1918?        Brig-Gen C L Courtney

HQ RAF in France and Flanders

Wimereux, France

Formed xx xxx 1919 by renaming Rear HQ RAF. Disbanded xx May 1920

xx xxx 1919            Lt Col/Wg Cdr G B Hynes

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Command available in the Member Areas

RAF Rhine

Bickendorf, Germany

Formed xx xxx 1918 by renaming HQ Royal Air Force. Disbanded 2 Oct 1919. Continued to be listed in AFL until at least Jul 1922.

4 Jan 1919             Maj-Gen Sir John Higgins

7 May 1919           Maj-Gen Sir John Salmond

19 Aug 1919

xx xxx xxxx             OC, No 12 Sqn?

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Command available in the Member Areas

Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force

Formed xx Aug 1939 from a nucleus of No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.  By 10 May 1940 it had been divided into two HQs - RAF Component HQ (Administration) was based at Maroeuil, whilst RAF Component HQ (Operational) was based at Arras.

Following the German breakout from the Ardennes on 13 May, they had reached Abbeville on 19/20th, trapping the BEF, including the two RAF HQs, in a constantly shrinking pocket, thereby forcing the HQs to remain on the move, as follows: -

RAF Component HQ (Administration)
18 May - Boulogne
20 May - Wimereux
21 May - Dunkirk (en route to UK)
23 May - Uxbridge/Hawkinge
27 May - Hendon
20 June - Disbanded

RAF Component HQ (Operational)
19 May - Hazebrouk
23 May - Premesques
26 May - Disbanded

While this sector was in retreat a new unit RAF Component HQ (South), was forming close to Rouen Boos

20 May - Rouen Boos (it changed location almost daily, but always close to Rouen)
8 Jun - Dreux
12 Jun - Laigne
15 Jun - Vitre
16 Jun - Redon
16/17 Jun - Dinard
17 Jun - Jersey
19 Jun - UK

xx Aug 1939             AVM C H B Blount

Advanced Air Striking Force

Formed 24 Aug 1939 from No 1 (Bomber) Group. Disbanded 26 Jun 1940.

24 Aug 1939             AVM P H L Playfair

British Air Forces in France

Formed 15 Jan 1940 to control both the AASF and the Air Component. Disbanded 24 Jun 1940.

15 Jan 1940             AM Sir Arthur Barratt

RAF Iceland

Formed 2 Jul 1941 by raising No 30 Wing to Command status within Coastal Command.  Disbanded xx Jul 1945.

xx xxx xxxx:              A/Cdre W H Primrose 

20 Sep 1943:            A/Cdre C G Wigglesworth

 4 Jan 1945:              A/Cdre G H Boyce

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Command available in the Member Areas

Allied Expeditionary Air Force

Formed 15 Nov 1943 to control all Allied air operations in connection with Operation 'Overlord'. Disbanded 15 Oct 1944.

15 Nov 1943             ACM Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Command available in the Member Areas

2nd Tactical Air Force

Formed 1 Jun 1943 as HQ Tactical Air Force from Army Co-operation Command to control all tactical air assets in connection with Operation 'Overlord'. Subordinated to HQ AEAF, 15 Nov 1943. Renamed British Air Forces of Occupation, 15 Jul 1945.  Reformed 1 Sep 1951 by renaming BAFO, redesignated RAF Germany, 1 Jan 1959.

1 Jun 1943               AM Sir John D'Albiac

21 Jan 1944             AM Sir Arthur Coningham

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Command available in the Member Areas


British Air Forces of Occupation

Formed 15 Jul 1945 by renaming 2nd Tactical Air Force. Renamed 2nd Tactical Air Force, 1 Sep 1951.

15 Jul 1945             ACM Sir Sholto Douglas

1 Feb 1946             AM Sir Philip Wigglesworth

30 Oct 1948            AM Sir Thomas Williams

RAF Germany

Formed 1 Jan 1959 by renaming 2nd Tactical Air Force. The C-in-C also held the NATO post of Commander, 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force.  It was redesignated as No 2 Group within Strike Command, 1 Apr 1993.

 1 Jan 1959                AM Sir John Edwardes-Jones

 7 Jan 1961                AM Sir John Grandy

25 Jun 1963               AM Sir Ronald Lees

 6 Dec 1965               AM Sir Denis Spotswood

16 Jul 1968                AM Christopher Foxley-Norris

10 Nov 1970             AM Harold Martin

 4 Apr 1973               AM Nigel Maynard

19 Jan 1976               AM Sir Michael Beetham

25 Jul 1977                AM Sir John Stacey

30 Apr 1979              AM Sir Peter Terry

 2 Feb 1981               AM Sir Jock Kennedy

 9 Apr 1983               AM Sir Patrick Hine

 1 Jul 1985                 AM Sir David Parry-Evans

13 Apr 1987              AM Sir Anthony Skingsley

14 Apr 1989              AM Sir Roger Palin

22 Apr 1991              AM Sir Andrew Wilson

This page was last updated on 26/03/21

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