Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Air Vice-Marshal J F Hobler (34060)


John Forde                   b: 26 Sep 1907                     r: 11 Sep 1963                     d: 13 Jan 1996

CB 1 Jan 1958, CBE - 1 Jan 1945, MiD - 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 2 Jun 1943, MiD - 14 Jan 1944, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, FRGS.

Plt Off: 21 Feb 1933, Fg Off: 21 Sep 1934, Flt Lt: 1 Oct 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Apr 1939, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941, Act Gp Capt: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1947, Act A/Cdre: 12 Nov 1953?, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1954, Act AVM: 23 Jul 1956, AVM: 1 Jan 1957.

21 Feb 1933:           Appointed to a Short Service Commission. 

18 Apr 1933:           Pilot, No 32 Sqn.

 4 Sep 1933:             Pilot, No 100 Sqn.

20 Oct 1937:            Embarked on HT Dunera on posting to Home Establishment

29 Nov 1937:           Attended Instructor's Course, Central Flying School.

19 Mar 1938:           QFI, No 9 FTS.

 8 Mar 1939:            Staff, No 2 School of Technical Training (Apprentices)

 8 Aug 1939:             Supernumerary, No 142 Sqn (Battles)

14 Aug 1939:            Flight Commander, No 142 Sqn (Battles)

14 May 1940:           Admitted to hospital with burns

 5 Jul 1940:               Staff, HQ No 61 Group

16 Jul 1940:              Officer i/c, Operations Section, RAF Binbrook

11 Aug 1940:           Attached, RAF Eastchurch  

26 May 1941:           Air Staff, HQ No 1 Group (Attached 26 May to 1 June).

20 Nov 1942:           Supernumerary, No 20 OTU

27 Nov 1942:          Officer Commanding, No 20 OTU/RAF Lossiemouth.

 7 Jul 1945               Leave and in transit to Haifa

9 Aug 1945:             Attended Course No 15, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.

4 Apr 1946:             Directing Staff, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.

xx Oct 1946:

xx xxx 1948:            Deputy Director of Plans.

xx xxx 1950:            Officer Commanding, RAF Habbaniya.

19 May 1952:          Admin Staff - Personnel, HQ Flying Training Command.

12 Nov 1953:          Director of Personal Services.

23 Jul 1956:            AOA, HQ Middle East Air Force.

13 Oct 1958:           AOC, No 25 Group.

 1 May 1961:           AOA, HQ Far East Air Force.

Born in Australia, he was a founder member of the Central Queensland Aero Club in 1929. On 14 May 1940, he was flying Battle I, P2246 against targets around Sedan, when he hit by flak making a forced landing behind enemy lines, however, he and his crew managed to evade capture.   Having been seriously burned during this encounter, he was evacuated back to Britain.

Citation for the award of Commander, Order of the British Empire

(Downgraded to a Mention in Despatches)

HOBLER, John Forde, A/G/C ( Royal Air Force) - No.20 Operational Training Unit.

This officer has been in command of the Operational Training Unit since December 1942.  He took over control when the training and maintenance wings were on the downward grade; the accident rate was steadily increasing and the general efficiency of the unit left much to be desired.  His command consists of a parent and two satellite stations and, during the past nine months, they have been, and still are, some of the most disciplined, best organised, most efficient and happiest units in the Group.  This remarkable change has been largely due to the personal efforts and example of Group Captain Hobler who has shown unbounded enthusiasm and energy.  He has set a fine example to all ranks and his loyalty and devotion to duty are unsurpassed."

(Source - Air 2/9003)

Citation for the award of Commander, Order of the British Empire

"HOBLER, J.F., G/C  - No.20 Operational Training Unit

This officer took over the command of No.20 Operational Training Unit in December 1942 at a time when the efficiency of the station left much to be desired.  He has made it into one of the most efficient Operational Training Units in No.91 Group. This (?) Operational Training Unit has an additional satellite and completes the training of nearly 30 ... bomber crews every fortnight.  It also has the added responsibility for the ... of a large number of French air crews.  The high standard of efficiency now ... has undoubtedly been largely due to Group Captain Hobler's ability and skill..."

(Source - Air 2/9017) The sheet available to this transcriber is corrupt and some words are obscure (denoted by "?") or missing altogether (denoted by "...").

This page was last updated on 19/08/23

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