Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Claude Pelly (16060)

C B R Pelly - 1935Claude Bernard Raymond             b: 19 Aug 1902           r: 13 Nov 1959          d: 12 Aug 1972

GBE - 13 Jun 1959 (CBE - 1 Jan 1943), KCB - 1 Jan 1954 (CB - 2 Jan 1950), MC - 6 Oct 1933, ADC, MiD - 1 Jan 1941, MiD - 11 Jun 1942, MiD - 14 Jan 1944, GC (G) - 3 May 1946.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off: 22 Aug 1922, Fg Off: 16 Feb 1924, Flt Lt: 1 Jul 1928, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1936, Wg Cdr: 1 Apr 1939, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Sep 1941, 7 Mar 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 7 Sep 1943, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1944, 1 Dec 1944, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1947, Act AVM: 17 Aug 1948, AVM: 1 Jul 1949, Act AM: 15 Oct 1953, AM: 1 Jan 1954, ACM: 14 Feb 1957.                         

26 Aug 1920:            Flight Cadet, 'B' Sqn, RAF College.

22 Aug 1922:            

 1 Mar 1923:            Pilot, No 39 Sqn.

12 Sep 1924:           Flight Commander, No 60 Sqn.

 9 Nov 1929:           Flight Commander, No 56 Sqn.

10 Mar 1931:          Air Staff - Intelligence/Training in Arabic, HQ Iraq Command.

xx xxx xxxx:            Air Liaison Officer, Iraq.

14 - 20 Jan 1936:    Placed on half pay list, scale B

16 Jan 1937:            Air Staff , AI 2(c), Deputy Director of Intelligence

xx xxx 1939:            Intelligence Staff, 'Z'

xx Sep 1939:           Head of Intelligence, HQ Air Component of the BEF. 

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

 1 Jul 1940:             Posted to Special Duties List for Intelligence Duties with HQ Home Forces.

 4 Dec 1940:           Group Captain - ?, HQ RAF Middle East.

29 Dec 1941:           Group Captain - ?, Middle East Command.

 7 Mar 1943:           SASO, Western Desert Air Force.

10 Jul 1943:            SASO, Desert Air Force.

xx xxx 1945:            Head, Inter-departmental Bombing Survey.

xx xxx 1946:            Commandant, A. & A. E. E.

17 Aug 1948:           Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Technical/Operational Requirements)

xx Dec 1951:           Directing Staff, Imperial Defence College.

15 Oct 1953:           C in C, Middle East Air Force.

xx xxx 1956:            Controller of Aircraft, Ministry of Supply.

20 Jan 1957:            Appointed Air ADC to The Queen.

Educated at Rugby, in the competitive selection tests for entry into Cranwell, held in 1920, he achieved a score of 7,762, becoming one of the earliest entrants to the newly founded RAF College, which he represented at Rugby and where he attained the rank of Flt Cdt Cpl.

During the evacuation of Crete, he was sent to the HQ ot the C-in-C, Mediterranean to set up and co-ordinate the fighter protection of the ships and other units involved in the evacuation.

At the end of the war in Europe, Portal selected Pelly to head the RAF element of a proposed British Bombing Research Mission to look into the effects and effectiveness of the strategic bombing offensive.  Unfortunately, the government decided not to proceed with the survey thereby depriving Britain of useful data on which to assess it's bombing policy.   However, it was decided to send two small teams into the field to gain what information it could and these proceeded into Germany under Pelly's control in the summer of 1945.

During his tenure as C in C, MEAF he was tasked with devising a redeployment plan for the relocation of his command from Egypt.  It was his decision to move the centre of RAF operations in the Middle East/Mediterranean area to Cyprus, where it still remains today.  He left the Middle East just before the start of Operation 'Musketeer'.

Following retirement, he joined the Atomic Energy Authority as the Member for Weapons Research and Development remaining in the post until 1964.  In 1965 he was appointed the honorary representative for the RAF Benevolent Fund in Suffolk.

This page was last updated on 05/04/22 using FrontPage 2003

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