Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Air Commodore H J F Hunter
Henry John Francis b: 28/29 Dec 1893 r: 15 Jun 1939 d: 12 Sep 1966
CBE - 24 Sep 1941, MC - 20 Oct 1916, MiD - 11 Jul 1919, MiD - 2 Jun 1943, MiD - 14 Jan 1944.
(Army):- 2 Lt: 5 Feb 1913, Lt: 27 Nov 1914, Capt: 8 Dec 1915, (T) Maj: 1 Jun 1917.
(RAF):- (T) Maj [Capt]: 1 Apr 1918, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1926, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1933, Act A/Cdre: 30 Jan 1942?, A/Cdre: Retained.
xx xxx xxxx: Gentleman Cadet, RMC Sandhurst
5 Feb 1913: Officer, The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own)
xx xxx xxxx: U/T Pilot
24 May 1916: Appointed Flying Officer, RFC.
xx xxx 1916: Pilot, No 34 Sqn RFC.
17 Oct 1916: Flight Commander, No 34 Sqn RFC.
25 May 1917: Posted to No 9 Sqn RFC. (RE8)
1 Jun 1917: Officer Commanding, No 9 Sqn RFC. (RE8)
17 Apr 1918: Officer Commanding, No 42 Sqn. (RE8)
18-30 Jun 1918: Temporary Officer Commanding, 1st Wing
19 Nov 1918: Admitted to 39 Static Hospital (suspected dysentary)
2 Dec 1918: Returned to Home Establishment on 'Pieter de Cornick'
15 Jan 1919: Officer Commanding, No 105 Sqn. (Bristol F2B)*
25 Jul 1919: Officer Commanding, School of Army Co-operation.
1 Aug 1919: Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major (gazetted 22 Aug 1919)
1 Mar 1921: Officer Commanding, No 12 Sqn. (Bristol F2B)
25 May 1922: Supernumerary, RAF Depot.
19 Sep 1922: Personnel Staff Officer, HQ No 10 Group.
8 Nov 1925: Staff, RAF Training Base, Leuchars.
14 Mar 1927: Attended RN War College.
3 Jan 1928: OC Flying, HMS Hermes.
10 Nov 1928: Supernumerary, RAF Depot.
21 Jan 1929: Attended RAF Staff College.
14 Dec 1929: Officer Commanding, No 1 (Apprentices) Wing, No 1 SoTT (Apprentices).
6 Feb 1933: SASO, HQ Fighting Area.
10 Oct 1934: Officer Commanding, Aircraft Depot, Iraq.
18 Jan 1937: Officer Commanding, RAF Finningley.
15 Jun 1939: Placed on the Retired List at his own request
30 Sep 1939: Officer Commanding, RAF Driffield
5 Sep 1940: Officer Commanding, RAF Topcliffe
xx xxx xxxx
30 Jan 1942: AOC, No 225 (Bomber) Group.
1 Apr 1942: AOC (Designate?), No 221 Group
24 Apr 1942: AOC, No 221 (Bomber)/(Tactical) Group.
1 May 1943: AOC, No 223 (Fighter) Group.
xx xxx 1944: Served in Ceylon.
18 Jan 1946: Reverted to retired List
Educated at Eton, he joined the Rifle Brigade from Sandhurst in 1913, and was wounded in 1915. Following recuperation he was seconded to the RFC in the Autumn of that year. He was awarded RAeC Certificate No 2872 on 9 May 1916. He married the Hon Mrs Pearson, the widow of the Hon Geoffrey Pearson on 11 April 1918.Retiring at his own request in June 1939, he was recalled to active service from 26 September, serving for two years in Bomber Command, before going to the Far East arriving in Sumatra just after the RAF evacuation of Singapore. Here he was given the of forming a bomber group (No 225) from the remnants of the RAF in the area. Operating from a secret airfield near Palembang, P2, he attempted to stem the Japanese advance as best he could. At one point he received news that the other airfield in the area was near to capture he ordered P2 to be evacuated and destroyed, only then to find that the Japanese still did not know of P2ís existence. He immediately ordered the evacuation to stop but by then serious damage had been inflicted on P2.
Citation for the award of the Military Cross
"Capt. Henry John Francis Hunter, Rif. Brig, and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and skill. He has done fine work for the artillery, and has accounted for many enemy guns. On one occasion, when a heavy storm drove all other machines back to their aerodromes, and the enemy guns took the opportunity to become active, he remained up and did fine work."
(London Gazette - 20 October 1916)
Citation for the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire
"HUNTER, Henry John Francis, Air Commodore, MC.
This officer has commanded an operational station with two heavy bomber squadrons since September 1939, when he took over command of the RAF Station, Driffield. After severe bombing and successive attacks which necessitated the transfer of the two squadrons, he opened up RAF Topcliffe and has continued operations under most difficult conditions. He has shown unfailing loyalty, keenness and devotion to duty and does not spare himself in directing, guiding and encouraging his crews. The fact that the station and squadrons are full of fight is due a great deal to the example of steady courage and calm control of Group Captain Hunter during bombing attacks, one of which was more severe than on any other station in England."
(Source - Hugh Halliday)
This page was last updated on 19/08/23©
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