Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Commodore A J W Geddes (25011)

A J W Geddes - 1931Andrew James Wray       b: 31 Jul 1906            r: 29 Sep 1954                     d: 15 Dec 1988

CBE - 1946 (OBE - 1 Jan 1941), DSO - 11 Jun 1943, MiD 1 Jan 1945, MiD - 14 Jun 1945, LoM (Cdr): 9 Oct 1945.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army):- 2 Lt: 3 Feb 1926, Lt: 3 Feb 1929, Capt: 26 Sep 1937, Maj (L): 19 Apr 1939, Maj: 3 Feb 1943

(RAF):- Fg Off: 2 Oct 1928; 19 Oct 1935 [19 Oct 1931], Flt Lt: 19 Apr 1936 [1 Oct 1935], Sqn Ldr: 19 Apr 1939, Act Wg Cdr: 20 Apr 194 [1 Mar 1940], (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1940, Act Gp Capt: 26 Sep 1942?, Wg Cdr (WS): 26 Mar 1943, Act A/Cdre: 1 Jun 1943, Sqn Ldr: 23 Apr 1946 [1 Aug 1940], Wg Cdr: N/A, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1947, A/Cdre: Retained.

xx xxx xxxx:         Attended, RMA, Woolwich

 3 Feb 1926:          Officer, Royal Artillery. (34432)

 2 Oct 1928:           U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.

 3 Sep 1929:           Pilot, No 4 Sqn.

 2 Oct 1932:           Relinquishes his temporary commission on return to Army duty.

 2 Oct 1932:          Supernumery.

 6 Feb 1933:          Reinstated to the Establishment of the Royal Artillery.

19 Oct 1935:          Granted temporary commission in the rank of Flying Officer on being re-seconded to the RAF

xx xxx xxxx:            Refresher flying course?

20 Nov 1935:         Pilot, No 2 Sqn.

19 Apr 1936:         Flight Commander, No 2 Sqn.

19 Oct 1938:          Reinstated to the Establishment of the Royal Artillery.

19 Apr 1939:          Re-seconded to RAF

29 Apr 1939:          Officer Commanding, No 2 Sqn. (Lysanders)


25 Mar 1942:          Air Staff, HQ Army Co-operation Command.

xx xxx 1942:             Officer Commanding, No 35 Wing.

 1 Jun 1943:             Deputy SASO, Tactical Air Force HQ

20 Sep 1943:           Air Commodore - Operations, HQ 2 TAF.

xx Aug 1945:           Director of Organisation (Establishments).

23 Apr 1946:          Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945 antedated to 1 Aug 1940 on 25 Feb 1947]

22 Nov 1946:          Relinquished his commission in the Army (wef 1 Sep 1945)

xx Jan 1948:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1949:            Officer Commanding, No 4 FTS/RAF Heany.

 1 Oct 1951:            Deputy Director of Organisation (Projects).

xx xxx 1952:            Deputy Director of Administrative Plans and War Organisation.

Air Commodore Geddes possibly holds the record for the oldest person to solo in a hang-glider at 68 years 9 months.  However, he is one of that small group of RAF officers who started their military careers in the Army (excluding those who joined the RFC and RNAS prior to  1 April 1918).  The son of an Indian Army Officer, he graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in 1926 and joined the Royal Artillery.  Seconded to the RAF  in 1928, he trained at RAF Sealand before joining No 4 Squadron at Farnborough flying Bristol F2B's and later Armstrong Whitworth Atlas I's.  Returning to his duties in the Royal Artillery in 1932, he was again seconded to the RAF in 1935, this time as a Flight Commander with No 2 Squadron at Manston eventually becoming squadron commander in 1939.

Having been involved in the planning of the D-Day landings in Normandy, he flew a Mustang over the beaches during the invasion, taking films and broadcasting reports for the BBC.  In 1945, he was responsible for signing the treaty which put into action Operation 'Manna' which permitted Allied units to drop food  to Dutch civilians and Allied POW's before Allied ground forces where able to reach them.   Although he retained his Army commission, he remained with the RAF throughout WW2 eventually transferring officially to the RAF in 1945.

After retiring from the RAF he worked in local government as Assistant County Civil Defence Officer for East Sussex (1957 - 1965) and then Deputy Civil Defence Officer for Brighton (1965 - 66).  He was also an instructor and examiner for the National Cycling Proficiency Scheme and a founder member of the Cuckmore Valley Canoeing Club.  He was made Life-President of the Manna Association in 1986.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

"GEDDES, Andrew James Wray, G/C, OBE (25011, Royal Air Force) - No.35 Wing, Army Co-Operation Command.

Group Captain Geddes is a fearless and exceptionally capable pilot who has raised the standard of the squadrons in his Wing to a high degree.  He has obtained some exceptionally fine photographs which involved flying at low altitude in the most heavily defended areas on the coast of France.  This officer's personal leadership and example have been a source of inspiration, not only to his own, but also to neighbouring wings and has earned the commendation of the Army Commander, South Eastern District."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 10475)

This page was last updated on 04/03/24

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