Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
John Herbert Thomas b: 26 Mar 1907 r: 1 Jun 1959 d: 26 Aug 1967
DSO - 7 Jul 1942, AFC – 12 Jun 1947, MiD - 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, LoM (O) - 30 Jan 1945.
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations,
For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here
Plt Off (P): 30 Dec 1927, Plt Off: 30 Dec 1928, Fg Off: 30 Jun 1929, Flt Lt: 1 Apr 1933, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1940, Act Gp Capt: 22 May 1942, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jun 1942, Wg Cdr (WS): 22 Nov 1942, Act A/Cdre: 10 Jul 1943 - xx Nov 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1943, Gp Capt (WS): 10 Dec 1943, Gp Capt: 1 Oct 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1951.
Photo courtesy - Clare Cockrell (nee Simpson), his grand-daughter
30 Dec 1927: Induction Training, RAF Depot?.
14 Jan 1928: U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS
15 Dec 1928: Pilot, No 101 Sqn.
4 Feb 1930 Attended No 31 Flying Instructors' Course, Central Flying School
19 Apr 1930: Instructor, , RAF Training Base, Leuchars:-
No 16 Naval Officers Course (commencing May 1930)
No 17 Naval Officers Course (commencing Sep 1930)
No 18 Naval Officers Course (commencing Jan 1931)
No 19 Naval Officers Course (commencing May 1931)
xx Dec 1930: Attended Instrument Flying Course, CFS Wittering
xx Jan 1931: Attended RAF Gosport for carrier landing practice
xx Apr 1932: Attended RAF Gosport for carrier landing practice
3 Aug 1932: Attended Aircraft Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.
1 Sep 1933: Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
8 Aug 1934: Staff, RAF College.
17 Oct 1935: Chief Technical Officer, RAF Depot, India.
8 Oct 1937: Supernumerary, No 60 Sqn.
20 Oct 1937: Officer Commanding, No 60 Sqn
15 Apr 1938: Returned to UK
12 Jul 1938: Officer Commanding, No 5 (Workshop) Sqn, No 3 FTS
xx May 1940: Senior Technical Officer No 3 SFTS
xx Sep 1941: Attached to No 15 Operational Training Unit for ferry duties
5 Nov 1941: Supernumerary, HQ No 205 (Bomber) Group.
xx Nov 1941: Attached to 37(B) Sqn Shallufa
20 Dec 1941: Officer Commanding, No 70 Sqn
23 May 1942: Officer Commanding, No 236 Wing
28 Dec 1942:
Attended Course No 8, Middle East Staff School, Haifa.
xx Apr 1943:
SASO, HQ No 205 Group
10 Jul 1943:
Officer Commanding, No 205 (Bomber) Group.
xx Jul 1944: Returned to UK
xx Nov 1944: Officer Commanding, No 1669 Heavy Conversion Unit, Langar
xx Dec 1944: Officer Commanding, RAF Marston Moor
xx Jul 1945: Officer Commanding, No 1668 HCU/Bottesford
15 Sep 1945: Officer Commanding, No 1668 HCU/RAF Cottesmore
xx Dec 1945: Officer
Commanding, Bomber Development Wing, Central Bomber Establishment
xx Feb 1948: Deputy Director of Operations.
xx Oct 1950: SOA, HQ No 63 (Western & Welsh) Group
16 Apr 1951: SOA/AOA, HQ No 61 (Eastern) Group.
2 Jul 1951: SASO, HQ No 22 (Training) Group.29 Mar 1954: Commandant, Royal Observer Corps.
In December 1931, he sat the first exam taken by Short Service Commission holders to undertake specialisation training, successful completion of which would lead to the award of a Permanent Commission.
On 26 April 1942, he was flying a Wellington IC (Z1045) of No 70 Squadron, which was lost as a result of enemy action.
On 18 Jun 1947, he was flying Spitfire SL563 of the CBE on a practice flight, however on landing he found he could not select the undercarriage down and was forced to carry out a wheels up landing at Marham, which he managed successfully.
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order
"SIMPSON, John Herbert, W/C (24216, s Royal Air Force) - No.70 Squadron.
This officer has commanded the squadron since December 1941. Although operating from a desert aerodrome, aircraft serviceability of the squadron has been amongst the highest in the Group. Wing Commander Simpson has displayed great efficiency both in the air and on the ground. He has always undertaken his full share of operational flying and, by his skill and leadership, has contributed in a large measure to the outstanding successes obtained. The Air Officer Commanding has, on two occasions, congratulated Wing Commander Simpson and the squadron on the marked successes of their operations.
This officer's example and bearing are reflected in the excellent morale of the ground crews who, despite many air attacks by the enemy on the landing ground, have remained undaunted. Wing Commander Simpson's resource, initiative and drive are worthy of the highest praise. On the night of the 30th March, 1942, he led the squadron in an attack on Derna airfield which was a conspicuous success."
(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 7490)
May thanks go to his son, Martin Simpson for providing some missing details.
This page was last updated on 27/08/23
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R C Simpson
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