Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal I D N Lawson (86354)

Ian Douglas Napier              b: 11 Nov 1917                    r: 8 Sep 1969                     d: 22 Jan 1998

CB 1 Jan 1965, CBE 10 Jun 1961, DFC 30 Jan 1942, Bar 25 May 1943, AE xx xxx 1945, MiD - 14 Jan 1944, MiD 1 Jan 1945, MiD 1 Jan 1946, LoM (Off) - 9 Oct 1945, FIMgt - 1974.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(RAFVR): Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 22 Sep 1940, Fg Off (WS): 22 Sep 1941, Flt Lt (WS): 22 Sep 1942, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, Act Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1943?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 1 Apr 1944, Act Gp Capt: 26 Jul 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 26 Jan 1945 1 Nov 1947,  

(RAF): Sqn Ldr: 2 Apr 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1952, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1958, Act A/Cdre: 3 Dec 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1963, Act AVM: 1 Apr 1965, AVM: 1 Jul 1965.

xx xxx 1938:            U/T Sergeant pilot RAFVR, RAF Cranwell

xx xxx 1940:            Advanced Training, No 11 OTU.

xx Nov 1940:           Pilot, No 214 Sqn.

16 Mar 1941:          Pilot, No 148 Sqn.

30 Nov 1941:          PA to AOC, No 205 Group

xx Sep 1942:           Pilot, No 70 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:             Flight Commander, No 70 Sqn.

18 Mar 1943:          Group Training Inspector, HQ No 205 Group.

xx Aug 1943:           Attached to Bomber Command

 1 Jan 1944:             Air Staff, HQ Mediterranean Allied Air Forces.

26 Jul 1944:             ?

 5 Jun 1945:            Administrative Staff, HQ Bomber Command.

2 Apr 1946:            Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time). [wef 1 Sep 1945],

xx xxx 1946:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1946:            Staff, Directorate of Control and Staff Training.

xx xxx 1947:            Staff, Directorate-General of Personnel (II).

xx xxx 1948:            Attended School of Air Support.

xx Sep 1949:           Officer Commanding, No 10 Sqn. (Dakota C3/4)

 1 Nov 1950:          Officer Commanding, No 683 Sqn. (Lancaster PR3)

xx xxx xxxx:             Officer Commanding, No 216 Sqn.

xx Jan 1953:            Attended Joint Services Staff College.

xx xxx 1953:            ?, Air Ministry

xx xxx 1956:            Attended RAF Flying College.

xx Jul 1957:             Officer Commanding, Flying Wing, RAF Lyneham.

28 Jul 1958:            Group Captain - Plans, HQ Transport Command.

 3 Apr 1961:           Officer Commanding, RAF Lyneham.

 3 Dec 1961:           AOA, Air Forces Middle East.

28 Dec 1964:          Commandant, RAF College.

 1 Feb 1967:            Assistant Chief Adviser (Personnel and Logistics)

Graduating from London Polytechnic in 1934, he joined De Havilland until 1939.  In 1938 he joined the RAFVR as a Sergeant but by the time he was called up in 1939, he had only completed 40 hours training.  Posted to RAF Cranwell to continue his training he was commissioned on completion and then posted to fly Wellingtons with No 214 Squadron via No 11 OTU.  However, after 12 missions with 214 he was sent out to the Middle East where he joined No 148 Squadron.  With 148 he took part in operations against targets in North Africa, Greece, Crete, Sicily and Yugoslavia.  Taken off operations he became training officer at Group HQ, but was soon on the move back to Britain in order to familiarise himself with the latest developments in techniques then being used by Bomber Command.  Having experienced operations in Europe, he returned to the Middle East tasked with adapting these techniques for use in the theatre as Group Captain Operations at HQ MEAF.

Awarded a permanent commission at the end of WW2, he attended the RAF Staff College and proceeded on the normal round of operational commands interspersed with staff postings.  At the end of 1964 he returned to where he had begun his RAF career as a Sergeant in 1939, Cranwell, as Commandant of the RAF College.

On retirement from the RAF he went back into the aircraft industry, joining BAC in 1969.  From 1974 until the formation of British Aerospace in 1979 he was Chief Sales Executive of the Bristol Division at Weybridge.  In 1979 he was appointed General Marketing Manager  (Civil) of British Aerospace retiring in 1981 to become a non-executive Director of Gloster (Air Holdings) Ltd until the following year.

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"LAWSON, Ian Douglas Napier, P/O (86354, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) - No.148 Squadron.

This officer has been engaged on operational flying since November 1940.  Whilst serving in England, Pilot Officer Lawson participated in sorties over Germany and German-occupied territory.  Since joining his present unit, Pilot Officer Lawson has been operating at high pressure against enemy targets in the Middle East, including 21 flight over Benghazi, often with new and inexperienced crews.  Throughout, this officer has shown the greatest determination to bomb his target accurately, while his skill nit only as a pilot but as an engineer has been outstanding."

(Source - RAF Quarterly, June 1942)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"LAWSON, Ian Douglas Napier, A/S/L, DFC (86354, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) - No.70 Squadron

 During the recent operations in the Middle East, Squadron Leader Lawson has set an exceptionally high standard of courage and determination.  In sorties directed against enemy transport during the advance in November, he completed a number of very successful attacks causing much destruction, in the face of intense opposition, while lately in attacks on the strongly defended airfield of Castel Benito, and on the barracks at Mareth, he started fires and caused extensive damage to buildings.  During these operations, Squadron Leader Lawson has led his flight with distinction and complete disregard for personal danger, and by his example has been responsible for much of the success achieved."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin) 

This page was last updated on 07/06/23

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