Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice Marshal A C H Sharp (19066)

Alfred Charles Henry SharpAlfred Charles Henry            b: 13 Nov 1904             r: 1 Feb 1953                  d: 1 Feb 1956

CBE - 1 Jan 1953, DSO - 10 Nov 1944, AFC - 1 Jan 1947 1947, SS - 3 Dec 1942, LoM (Cdr) - 20 Dec 1946

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off (P): 16 Jul 1924, Plt Off: 16 Jan 1924?, Fg Off: 18 Jan 1926, Flt Lt: 8 Oct 1930, Sqn Ldr: 1 Apr 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1942, Wg Cdr: 20 Nov 1942 [1 Oct 1941], Act A/Cdre: 1 Feb 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 1 Aug 1943, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1944, 1 Dec 1944,  Act AVM: 19 Oct 1944 - 24 Sep 1945, A/Cdre: 1Jul 1947, Act AVM: 17 Jan 1949-25 Jan 1950; 1 Dec 1950, AVM: 1 Jan 1951.

Alfred Charles Henry Sharp

by Lafayette
half-plate nitrate negative, 2 February 1929
NPG x47535

© National Portrait Gallery, London

16 Jul 1924:            U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS.

15 Jun 1925:           Pilot, No 4 Sqn.

11 Oct 1927:          Armament Officer, No 26 Sqn (Atlas - Catterick)

 1 Sep 1929:           Appointed to Permanent Commission in the RAF in the rank of Flying Officer. 

xx xxx xxxx:            Staff, SHQ RAF Biggin Hill

 1 Oct 1934:           Flight Commander, No 23 Sqn (Demon - Biggin Hill)

 1 Aug 1935:           Armament Officer, No 1 Armament Training Camp

19 Jan 1937:           Attended RAF Staff College.

 1 Jan 1938:            Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command.

xx xxx 1940:           Armament Officer, HQ Bomber Command 

14 Oct 1940:          Supernumerary, No 18 Sqn.

25 Oct 1940:          Officer Commanding, No 18 Sqn.

17 Mar 1941:          Deputy Director of Organisation (Planning).

 1 Feb 1943:           Deputy Chief of Staff, HQ 8th USAAF.

26 Aug 1943:          Appointed Air ADC to The King

xx xxx 1943:            ?, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces

 9 Feb 1944:            Base Commander, No 54 Base.

19 Oct 1944:          AOA, ‘Tiger’ Force

xx Dec 1944:           AOA, HQ BAFSEA

30 Sep 1945:           Director of Accidents.

xx Jan 1948:            Attended Imperial Defence College.

17 Jan 1949:            AOC, No 38 Group.

25 Jan 1950: 

 1 Dec 1950:            Director-General of Organisation.

Born in Bangalore, India, where is father was a Civil Servant, he was educated at King's College School, Wimbledon and Selwyn College, Cambridge. 

He eventually retired from the RAF, at his own request and took up the post of Executive Vice-President of Industrial and Management Associates Inc. in Boston, Mass.  He later became Director of Sale for the Glenn L Martin Corporation.  He died in Baltimore at the early age of 51, having suffered a heart attack.

In 1944 he was 'lent' a P-47 by the USAAF for his personal use whilst commanding No 54 Base at Coningsby.  However, when he found this aircraft not to his liking, he managed to have it exchanged for a P-38J.  It was flown on operations and was eventually converted to have a transparent nose and is believed to have been used for marking targets.  When he left No 54 Base, he took the aircraft with him.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

“Acting Air Commodore Alfred Charles Henry SHARP, A.D.C., R.A.F.

This officer has participated in many sorties during which he has attacked such targets as Hamburg, Bremen and heavily defended centres in the Ruhr area.  Throughout these operations he has displayed the highest qualities of skill and leader- ship, and his example has proved most inspiring. In addition to his work in the air, Air Commodore Sharp has shown great organising ability and his excellent work has contributed in a large way to the successes of the squadrons he commands.  This officer has rendered outstanding service.”

(London Gazette  10 November 1944)

Citation for the award of the Silver Star (United States)

"SHARP, Alfred Charles Henry, A/C (19066)

In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war. and for gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States. Air Commodore Sharp, as Chairman of the Operational Planning Committee charged with co-ordinating the bombing efforts of the Eighth Air Force with those of the Royal Air Force Bomber, Fighter and Coastal Commands, realised the necessity for personally observing the operations of high altitude bombing missions and voluntarily served as a crew member on a raid against an important enemy installation, where intense enemy opposition might be expected. On 14 July 1943, while Air Commodore Sharp was flying as an observer and waist gunner on a B-17 airplane on a mission over enemy occupied territory, the aircraft was attacked viciously and persistently by numerous enemy fighter planes. Displaying great courage and gallantry, Air Commodore Sharp manned his guns and assisted in driving off repeated attacks of hostile planes. On this mission, Air Commodore Sharp made many valuable observations and obtained combat information and data vital to successful operational planning. This display of gallantry and personal courage under the intense enemy fire, was a source of inspiration to all members of his combat crew. The courage, coolness and complete disregard of personal danger displayed on this occasion by Air Commodore Sharp reflected the highest credit upon himself and the armed forces of His Majesty's Government."

Citation for the award of the Legion of Merit (United States

"SHARP, Alfred Charles Henry, A/C, DSO (19066).

In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war and for performance of meritorious services from 1 December 1942 to 31 June 1943. As Deputy Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force, Commodore Sharp served on the immediate staff of the Commanding General, Eighth Air Force, and acted as the personal advisor to the Commanding General on all matters connected with the use of the United Kingdom as a base for United States Force operations. Through his extraordinary ability to combine frankness with friendship, and because he considered himself to all intents and purposes as being a member of the United States Air Forces, responsible to them for the ease and efficiency of their growth and operations in a locale with which he was peculiarly familiar, he assisted the United States Air Forces to avoid the fractions of procedural differences, and materially accelerated the application of the United States Air Power upon the common enemy, thereby reflecting great credit upon his nation and upon the Royal Air Force."

Citation for the award of Air Force Cross

"SHARP, Alfred Charles Henry, A/C, DSO - Air Ministry - This officer has been Director of Accident Prevention since the inception of the branch. It is essential that the entire directorate should be completely 'au fait' with the handling and characteristics of all types of Service aircraft and that all members should be capable of lecturing aircrews on their particular type. This desirable state of affairs has been fully realised in the directorate, largely due to the initiative and example of Air Commodore Sharp. He is a fully qualified pilot on all types of aircraft now in service and makes a practice of demonstrating them wherever possible to Home and Overseas Commands. He has recently completed a tour of the USAAF. Stations, where he flew several American aircraft including the latest jets. It is considered that his outstanding contribution to the prevention of accidents, mainly achieved by his personal flying example, well merits recognition."


This page was last updated on 27/08/23

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