Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore J R Forsythe

James Roy (‘Paddy’)    b: 10 Jul 1920              r: 10 Nov 1975            d: 28 Aug 2009

CBE – 1 Jan 1966, DFC – 21 Sep 1945, MIPR

Plt Off (P): 10 Nov 1942, Fg Off (WS) (P): 10 May 1943, Flt Lt (WS): 10 Nov 1944, Flt Lt: 10 May 1946, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1952, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1958, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1963, Act A/Cdre: 30 Nov 1970, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1971.

xx xxx xxxx:                  Member, Queen’s University Air Squadron.

xx Sep 1941:                U/T Pilot, Arnold Scheme.

xx xxx 1942:                 Flying Instructor, Arnold Scheme.

xx xxx 1944                 Attended No ? OTU.

xx xxx 1944                 Attended No ? HCU

xx Dec 1944:                Pilot, No 625 Sqn.

27 May 1946:              PA to AOC in C, Reserve Command.

15 Jun 1948:                Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant

xx xxx xxxx:                  Pilot, Lancastrian Flt, No 1669 HCU.

xx xxx xxxx:                  Attended Empire Central Flying School.

xx xxx 1952:                 Officer Commanding, Aberdeen University Air Sqn.

xx Jan 1955:                 Attended Army Staff College.

11 Jan 1956:                 Staff Officer to Director-General of Organisation.

xx xxx 1958:                 Officer Commanding, No 16 Sqn. (Canberra B(I)8)

xx xxx xxxx:                  Attended College of Air Warfare.

12 Jun 1961:                Directing Staff, RAF College of Air Warfare.

 1 Jan 1963:                 Head, RAF Aid Mission to India.

10 Jun 1963:                Officer Commanding, No 6 FTS/RAF Acklington.

13 Dec 1965:               Deputy Director of Air Staff Plans and Programmes.

27 May 1968:              Head of Secretariat/Director of PR, HQ Far East Command.

30 Nov 1970:               Director of Recruiting.

17 Feb 1973:               Director of Public Relations (RAF)

Born in Belfast, he was universally known as ‘Paddy’, was educated at Belfast’s Methodist College and Queen’s University, where he was a member of the University Air Squadron before joining the RAF in September 1941.  On completion of his training in the USA he was assessed as ‘Above Average’ and retained in the America as an instructor.

Following his return from the USA he eventually joined No 625 Squadron at Kelstern and was soon operating as part of Bomber Command’s Main Force.  On one occasion his aircraft was hit by flak and his bomb aimer killed and on another, over Hamburg, his formation was attacked by Me 262 jet fighters, which destroyed two of the formation before being chased off by the escorts.  He later took part in ‘Operation Manna’, the supply of food to civilians in Holland and by the end of the war had completed 32 operational bombing sorties and had been awarded the DFC.

After the war he flew mail between England and New Zealand with the Lancastrian Flight of No 1669 HCU. He later qualified as a QFI at the Empire Central Flying School and commanded Aberdeen UAS. Following this he attended the Army Staff College and then worked as a staff officer for two years before assuming command of No 16 Squadron at RAF Laarbruch.  He then joined the first Air Warfare Course at the College of Air Warfare and again at the end of this he was retained as a member of the directing staff.

He headed the RAF’s aid mission to India following the Chinese invasion in early 1963 and on promotion to Group Captain he returned to the UK to take command of No 6 FTS at RAF Acklington in Northumberland, his service here being rewarded with a CBE.  His next move was to MoD as the Deputy Director of Plans and Programmes before joining the Far East Air Force as Director of PR.  On his return to the UK he became Director of recruiting and then in 1973 the Director of PR.

On retiring from the RAF he joined Look Ahead Housing Association Ltd as Director of Development (1976 - 81) and later Joint Chief Executive (1981 - 86).  He was always a keen Rugby player, having played for London Irish, he was Chairman of the RAF Rugby Union (1972 - 74) and the Combined Services Rugby Union (1974, 1988 – 90) as well as being Vice President (1979) and President (1990) of the latter. 

This page was last updated on 08/06/17 using FrontPage 2003©

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