Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
(Beresford) Peter Torrington
26 Mar 1921
r: 2 Aug 1975
d: 20 Dec 2001
– 15 Jun 1974, CBE – 13 Jun 1964, LVO – 2 Jan 1956 (As MVO
– 1 Jan 1946, MiD - 1 Jan 1945, C de G (F) - xx xxx 1944, OC
- xx xxx xxxx,
ONS - xx xxx xxxx, OM (E) - xx xxx xxxx.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
Off: 8 Apr
1941, Fg Off: 8
Oct 1941?, Flt Lt (WS): 8 Apr 1943,
Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1949, Wg Cdr: 1
Jul 1955, Act Gp Capt: 7 Dec 1959,
Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1960,
A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1965, AVM: 1 Jan
1968, Act AM: 10 Mar 1973, AM:
1 Jul 1973.
U/T Pilot, ?
QFI, No 12 SFTS, RAF Cranwell
xx xxx xxxx:
QFI, No ? FTS,
Attended Mosquito Conversion Unit
Pilot, No 21 Squadron (Mosquito – Hunsdon, Thorney Island)
Pilot, No ? Squadron (Communications)
xx xxx xxxx: QFI?, Central Flying School.
xx Sep 1944: Pilot, 2nd TAF Communication Wing
Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining
rank current at the time).
Adjutant, Oxford University Air Squadron.
Appointed Extra Equerry to Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of
30 Jun 1952: Officer Commanding, No 29 Sqn
Appointed Equerry (Temporary) to
11 May 1953:
Equerry to Prince Philip
Officer Commanding, No 9 Sqn.
Feb 1958: Attended
RAF Staff College?
Attended RAF Staff College?
7 Dec 1959: Officer Commanding, RAF Wattisham.
25 Mar 1962: Group Captain - Operations, HQ NEAF.
Officer Commanding, RAF Akrotiri.
Deputy Commandant, Joint Warfare Establishment.
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations).
AOC, No 1 Group.
Deputy AOC in C, Strike Command.
Joining the RAF in 1940 after attending Wellington
College and a period in the Merchant Navy, he was commissioned in 1941.
Retained as an instructor, first at Cranwell and later in Canada, it was 1943
before he was able to begin operations. Having converted to the Mosquito,
he joined No 21 Squadron and began intruder operations operations with Fighter
Command and later 2nd TAF.
Operating over the Normandy beach-head, his Mosquito was hit , forcing
him to ditch in the sea off Cherbourg. He
spent three days and night adrift until rescued by an ASR launch, unfortunately
his navigator failed to bail out and was killed.
Having recovered, he tried to get back to operations, but his request was denied and he joined a communications unit in France, remaining on these duties until the end of the war. He then returned to instructional duties, this time training instructors at the Central Flying School. He was also awarded a permanent commission at this time. His next appointment kept him in the training field, with him becoming the adjutant of the Oxford University Air Squadron. In 1949, he was appointed Equerry to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip and with the Princess became Queen Elizabeth II, he became her Equerry for a year before becoming the Duke of Edinburgh's a year later.
He returned to normal duties in 1957 and was given command of No 9 Squadron, a Canberra bomber unit based at Binbrook. He later commanded the RAF Stations at Wattisham and Akrotiri before becoming Commandant of the Joint Warfare Establishment at Old Sarum. In 1968, he went to work in Whitehall for the first time, as ACAS (Operations) and three years later he became AOC, No 1 Group. His final appointment was as Deputy AOC-in-C, Strike Command
After retiring from the RAF he held a number of directorships including Chairman, National Printing Inks Ltd (1987 - ), Horsley Holdings (1985 - ) and Osprey Aviation Ltd ( 1991- ). A keen philatelist, he was chairman of the stamp auction house Robson Lowe, and also managing director of Stanley Gibbons.
Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross
"HORSLEY, Beresford Peter Torrington, F/L (63462, RAFVR) - Second Tactical Air Force Communications Wing.
This officer joined the wing in September 1944. Since then he has completed over 300 hours flying. He served for a short time as a general communication pilot until, on account of his outstanding skill, he was selected as personal pilot to the Major General in charge of Administration, 21 Army Group. In this capacity, Flight Lieutenant Horsley has consistently displayed his skill in conveying personal passengers or other very important persons on important missions. He has shown great persistence in completing his flights, often in most adverse weather conditions. His skill and devotion to duty have been outstanding."
(Source - Air 2/9144, drafted when he had flown 1,851 hours, 300 on current duties, 211 in previous six months.)
This page was last updated on 19/08/23
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