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Air Vice-Marshal F L Dodd (89766)


Frank Leslie                

b: 5 Mar 1919                    

r: 9 May 1974                    

d: 30 Apr 1993

CBE 8 Jun 1968, DSO xx xxx 1944, DFC 8 Sep 1945, AFC 8 Jun 1944, Bar 9 Jun 1955, Bar 12 Jun 1958, AE - 1945, LRPS - 1987.

Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 28 Dec 1940 [15 Dec 1940], Plt Off: 28 Dec 19411 [15 Dec 1941], Fg Off (WS): 28 Dec 19411 [15 Dec 1941], Flt Lt (WS): 28 Dec 1942 [15 Dec 1942], Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1945, Flt Lt: 26 Mar 1946[1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1954, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, Act A/Cdre: 8 Nov 1965, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1966, Act AVM: 2 Sep 1970, AVM: 1 Jan 1972.  

Photo - Crown Copyright

xx xxx 1938:            NCO Pilot, RAFVR. (741875)

xx xxx 1940:            Attended Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1940:            QFI, No 5 FTS.

xx xxx 1941:            Instructor, No 2 CFS

 3 - 9 Aug 1941:      Attached to No 56 OTU

xx xxx 1944:            Flight Commander, No 544 Sqn.

xx Sep 1945:           Officer Commanding, No 544 Sqn.  (Mosquito PR34)

1945 - 47                ?

26 Mar 1946:          Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

24 Nov 1947:          Officer Commanding, No 45 Sqn.

xx xxx 1948:            Staff, Central Flying School.

xx xxx xxxx:             Staff, HQ Flying Training Command.

xx xxx 1952:            Attended RAPC Finance Course.

xx xxx 1953:            CFI, Central Flying School.

xx Jan 1955:            Attended RAF Staff College.

19 Oct 1955:           Officer Commanding, No 230 OCU.

23 Feb 1959:           Group Captain - Training, HQ Bomber Command.

xx xxx 1961:            Officer Commanding, RAF Coningsby,

xx Jan 1964:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

29 Dec 1964:           Group Captain - Air, HQ Bomber Command.

 8 Nov 1965:            Commandant, Central Flying School.

15 Jul 1968:              Director of Organisation (Establishments).

 2 Sep 1970:             Director-General - Project Linesman Mediator, MoD (PE).

He took command of No 230 OCU shortly after it had changed from being a Lincoln OCU at Upwood to the newly formed Vulcan OCU at Waddington.  On 1 October 1956, he was flying Vulcan XA895 which rendezvoused with XA897 over Sardinia.  XA897 had been conducting a goodwill visit to Australia and New Zealand and included ACM Sir Harry Broadhurst, AOC in C, Bomber Command, as co-pilot.  It was on the homeward leg of it's visit.  However, Wing Commander Dodd left XA897 at the French coast and the aircraft crashed at London Airport with only the pilot and the AOC in C escaping. 

From 1974 until 1985 he was the Administrator of the MacRobert's Trusts.  

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal

"Flight Lieutenant Frank Leslie DODD, A.F.C. (89766), R.A.F.V.R., 544 Sqn.

Distinguished Flying Medal. 

1339737 Flight Sergeant Eric HILL, R.A.F.V.R., 544 Sqn.

As pilot and observer respectively this officer and airman have completed many sorties and have displayed a high standard of skill and devotion to duty. In July, 1944, they completed a reconnaissance of many hours duration in the face of extremely adverse weather. During the operation and, although much anti-aircraft fire was directed at their aircraft, they obtained valuable information. Three days later Flight Lieutenant Dodd and Flight Sergeant Hill successfully completed another notable reconnaissance, again securing valuable information. This officer and airman have displayed courage and fortitude of a high order."

(London Gazette - 8 September1944)

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

DODD, Frank Leslie, F/L (89766, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) - No.2 Flying Instructors School  .

"This officer has been on instructional duties since February 1941.  He has, at all times, shown the greatest keenness and the maximum interest in his work.  An excellent Flight Commander, he has run his flight with efficiency and success."

(Source - Air 2/9004 - citation drafted when he had flown 1,783 instructional hours (243 in previous six months))

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

DODD, Frank Leslie, F/L, AFC (89766, Royal Air Force) - No.544 Squadron. Cited with Flight Sergeant E. Hill (awarded DFM).

"As pilot and observer respectively, this officer and airman have completed many sorties and have displayed a high standard of skill and devotion to duty.  In July 1944 they completed a reconnaissance of many hours duration in the face of extremely adverse weather.  During the operation, although much anti-aircraft fire was directed at their aircraft, they obtained valuable information.  Three days later, Flight Lieutenant Dodd and Flight Sergeant Hill successfully completed another notable reconnaissance, again securing valuable information.  This officer and airman have displayed courage and fortitude of a high order."

Public Record Office Air 2/9159 has recommendation drafted 13 July 1944 when he had flown 14 sorties (85 hours).

"On July 12th, Flight Lieutenant Dodd and Flight Sergeant Hill were pilot and observer of a Mosquito detailed to search for major German naval units along the Norwegian coast to the Prudent Limit of Endurance of the aircraft, and including if possible Alten and Kaa Fiord.

The aircraft refuelled at Sunburgh and course was set on a great circle track for Alten Fiord.  10/10th cloud was encountered and consequently no pin-points obtained until the aircraft was north of Bodo - that is, after a flight of approximately 750 miles.  From Narvik northwards 10/10 multilayer cloud was again experienced and the aircraft descended to 9,000 feet below cloud.  During this descent the top hatch of the Mosquito blew away, but course was continued to Alten Fiord below cloud base.  Two photographic runs were then made over both Alten and Kaa Fiord from 8,000 feet and several major German naval units, including Tirpitz were located.  Heavy flak was experienced from the naval units during the second photographic run.  Course was then set for base and a landing was eventually made at Wick, after the aircraft had been airborne seven hours 40 minutes, having covered an air distance of approximately 2,300 miles.

Throughout the return flight both members of the crew suffered intensely from the cold, as the loss of the top hatch completely destroyed the effectiveness of the aircraft heater system.  On landing at Wick, the aircraft was immediately refuelled and flown down to make a night landing at Leuchars, after a total flying time for the whole sortie of nine hours 25 minutes.

This outstanding sortie was carried out under extremely difficult weather conditions to the absolute maximum range of the aircraft, and in the face of considerable anti-aircraft fire in the target area.  Throughout this time Flight Lieutenant Dodd displayed skill and courage of the highest order, whilst the navigation of Flight Sergeant Hill contributed very largely to the success of the sortie.

On July 9th, Flight Lieutenant Dodd and Flight Sergeant Hill carried out a similar light under even worse weather conditions, when a search was made between 6- and 24,000 feet of the Norwegian shipping lanes, from Stetlandet to the Lofoten Isles, including Narvik.  On this occasion the aircraft was hit by flak in the starboard wing whilst photographing Bodo at 15,000 feet.  Valuable negative information was obtained from this sortie.  The aircraft was airborne seven hours 44 minutes before landing back at Leuchars, with less than ten gallons of petrol remaining.  On this occasion before take-off, Flight Lieutenant Dodd realized that all aerodromes north of Leuchars would be unfit because of weather on his return.

Both of these sorties, which are the longest, both for range and endurance, that have been carried out by any Photo Reconnaissance aircraft in this country, called for great skill, courage and judgement from both Flight Lieutenant Dodd and Flight Sergeant Hill, and illustrate clearly a high standard of crew efficiency."

This was endorsed by the Officer Commanding, Station Benson and by the Air Officer Commanding, No.106 Wing, but it was the remarks on 23 July 1944 by the Air Officer Commanding, No.18 Group, that were most striking:

"With reference to the attached recommendations for the award of the DSO and DFM to Flight Lieutenant F.L. Dodd and Flight Sergeant E. Hill respectively, I would like to associate myself with the remarks and recommendations of the Squadron and Station Commanders.  Since this crew has been attached to this Group for operations they have shown great skill and determination in carrying out these very long photographic sorties.  The flights of 9th and 12th July were both of outsaying merit; weather conditions were very bad, despite which both sorties were brought to a successful conclusion, in particular the sortie on 12th July was completed although the escape hatch had been lost and the crew were suffering intensely from the cold.

I consider that the work they have carried out in this area is well deserving of an award."

The awards were approved by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Coastal Command, on 1 August 1944.

This page was last updated on 12/02/23

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