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Air Chief Marshal Sir Donald Hardman (15155)

Sir (James) Donald Innes HardmanJames Donald Innes            b: 21 Dec 1899                r: 29 Jan 1958                 d: 2 Mar 1982

GBE - 1 Jan 1958 (OBE - 11 Jul 1940), KCB - 5 Jun 1952 (CB - 5 Jul 1945), DFC - 8 Feb 1919, MiD - 1 Jan 1941, DSM (US) - 15 Mar 1946.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army):- (T) 2 Lt (P): 10 May 1917.

(RAF):- Lt: 1 Apr 1918, (T)/Act Capt: 28 Sep 1918, Fg Off: 18 Oct 1921, Flt Lt: 1 Jul 1927, Sqn Ldr:1 Feb 1936, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1939, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1941, Gp Capt (WS): 29 Mar 1942, Act A/Cdre: 29 Sep 1941?, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1944, 1 Dec 1944, Act AVM: 1 Oct 1945,  A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1946, AVM: 1 Jul 1948, Act AM: 1 Oct 1951, AM: 1 Jul 1952, ACM: 1 Apr 1955.

Sir (James) Donald Innes Hardman

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 17 March 1949
NPG x168126

© National Portrait Gallery, London

21 Oct 1917:           Pilot, ? RFC.

14 Feb 1918:          Attached, No 2 ASD

 7 Mar 1918:           Pilot, No 19 Sqn RFC.

6-12 Sep 1918:       Admitted to hospital

28 Sep 1918:          Flight Commander, No 19 Sqn.

18 Nov 1918:          Admitted to hospital

 8 Mar 1919:           Transferred to the Unemployed List.

xx xxx 1919:          Student, Oxford University.

18 Oct 1921:          Appointed to a Short Service Commission

18 Oct 1921:          Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 6 May 1922:          Pilot, No 31 Sqn.

xx xxx 1925:           Granted a Permanent Commission

 8 Oct 1926:            Pilot/Armament Officer, No 16 Sqn.

29 Feb 1928:          Attended Armament & Gunnery School.

27 Aug 1928:          Armament officer, HQ No 22 Group.

17 May - 6 Jun 1929:        Detached for duty at the Royal Tournament, Olympia

3 Nov 1929:          Attended Short Course in Air Pilotage, RAF Base Calshot.

26 Sep 1931:          Armament officer/Pilot, No 216 Sqn.

9 Dec 1932:            Pilot, No 216 Sqn.

21 Jan 1935:           Attended RAF Staff College

 4 Jan 1936:            Armament Officer, No 23 (Training) Group. 

21 Jan 1938:            Attended Army Staff College, Camberley

xx xxx 1939:            Staff, 'Z'

xx xxx 1939:            Admin Staff, HQ Air Component of the BEF.

14 Jun 1940:            Wing Commander - Training, HQ No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.

24 Jun 1940:            Wing Commander - Operations, HQ No 22 (Army Co-operation) Group.

 5 Jul 1940:             Posted to Special Duties List.

xx xxx 1940:           Assistant Director of Military Co-operation

27 Oct 1944:           Director of Overseas Operations (Tactical)

xx Dec 1944:           Deputy Commander, Combat Cargo Task Force, ACSEA.

xx Apr 1945:           AOC, No 232 (Transport) Group.

16 Jan 1946:            AOA, HQ Air Command South East Asia.

30 Sep 1946:            AOA, HQ Air Command Far East.

xx xxx 1947:            Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations)

 1 Jan 1949:            Commandant, RAF Staff College - Bracknell

14 Jan 1952:            Chief of Staff, Royal Australian Air Force

 1 May 1954:           Air Member for Supply and Organisation

Educated at Malvern and then Hertford College, Oxford, he joined the Artistsí Rifles in 1916, transferring to the RFC in early 1917, but was unable to go to France, due to his age, until February 1918.

On 30 October 1918, during a bomber escort mission to No 98 Squadron, the 12 Sopwith Dolphins of No 19 Squadron being led by Hardman and the DH9's of 98, were jumped by 30-40 Fokker DVII's.  In the ensuing combat all 'A' Flight aircraft were lost and Hardman and two other aircraft of 'B' Flight were the only ones to return to their base.  However, in the melee, Donald Hardman accounted for two of the German aircraft and was awarded the DFC for the action.  By the end of the war he had amassed a confirmed total of nine victories.

After WW1, he left the RAF and returned to Oxford but  on completion of his studies, he rejoined the RAF and was almost immediately sent out to 31 Squadron in India.

In 1939, he was selected by Group Capt Victor Goddard to join the Admin staff of the Air Component and accompanied Goddard to France in order to organise the movement of the various elements from the ports of entry on the Atlantic coast to their operating airfields in the North East of France.  Without their own 'works' staff, Hardman managed to commandeer a Sapper officer, who was able to mobilize local French contractors to carry out much of the  simple tasks required by the air force.  It was largely as a result of his efforts that the RAF arrived at their destinations ready for operations if and when they should be needed.

In 1956 he was appointed the President of the Board of Inquiry into the loss of Vulcan XA897 which crashed at Heathrow Airport followed a Round-the-World flight from which only the pilot an Air Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst escaped.

Citation for the award of Companion of the Order of the Bath

"HARDMAN, James Donald Innes, A/C, OBE, DFC (Royal Air Force) - Department of Chief of Air Staff, Directorate of Operations (Tactical).

This officer has been at the Air Ministry since October 1940.  He carried out the duties of Assistant Director of Military Co-operation for one year and was Director for two years.  He was appointed Director of Operations (Tactical) on the 1st August 1943.  He has been primarily responsible for building up a close liaison between the Air Ministry and the War Office and between the Air Ministry and the appropriate air force commands.  The need for cooperation between the staffs and the commands in the preparations stages of the Normandy operations called for a high degree of specialized knowledge and Air Commodore Hardman played a large part in these preparations by his outstanding zeal and devotion to duty.  The development of air/ground cooperation technique is primarily the responsibility of this officer and he has been untiring in his efforts in this sphere."

(Source - Air 2/9017)

This page was last updated on 11/08/23

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