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Air Commodore P D Thorne (125469)

Peter Donald               b:   3 Jun 1923                        r:  3 Jun 1978              d: 5 Apr 2014

OBE – 1 Jan 1961, AFC – 1 Jan 1947, Bar – 7 Jun 1951, Bar – 2 Jan 1956, MRAeS.

Plt Off:  7 Jul 1942, Fg Off (WS):  3 Jan 1941, Flt Lt (WS):  3 Jul 1944, Flt Lt:  16 Aug 1947 [3 Jan 1946], Sqn Ldr:  1 Jan 1953, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1959, Act Gp Capt:  26 Mar 1965, Gp Capt:  1 Jan 1966, Act A/Cdre:  1 Jan 1966?, A/Cdre:  1 Jul 1974.

xx xxx 1940:              U/T Pilot

xx xxx 1942:              Pilot, No 193 Sqn (Typhoons – Harrowbeer)

xx Sep 1943:             Pilot, No ? Sqn (Mustangs)

xx xxx 1944:              Instructor, No ? OTU

xx xxx 1945:              Attended Pilot Attack Instructors' Course, Central Gunnery School

xx xxx 1945:              Pilot Attack Instructor/Flight Commander, Central Gunnery School

xx Aug 1948:            Chief Instructor, APC RAF Nicosia

xx xxx 1951:             Attended Empire Test Pilots' School

xx xxx 1951:             Test Pilot, Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment.

10 Oct 1955:             Staff Officer, Directorate of Operational Requirements (A)

xx xxx 1957:             Wing Commander – Operations, RAF Oldenburg.

1 Jan 1961:               'B' Syndicate Leader, Air Warfare Course, RAF Flying College.

 8 Jul 1963:               Staff, Directorate of Intelligence (A).

26 Mar 1965:           Officer Commanding, RAF Unit (MoA), Farnborough

15 Mar 1968:           Staff, Dept of CAS.

 8 Jun 1970:             Air Attaché, Kabul and Tehran.

29 Nov 1974:          Air Attaché, Moscow.

In 1954 he was appointed the chief service test pilot for the Supermarine Swift, which was ultimately found unsuitable as a fighter but following further work by Thorne and his colleagues eventually proved successful as a low level fighter reconnaissance type.

After retiring from the RAF he became an air defence systems consultant with Hunting Engineering.

Recommendation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"THORNE, Peter Donald, F/L (125469) - Central Gunnery School.

Flight Lieutenant Thorne is a flight commander at this unit.  He has qualified as an A.2 flying instructor and a category A pilot attack instructor within the space of 18 months.  As flight commander of a fighter combat flight since November, 1945, he has been responsible for training experienced fighter pilots in the most advanced forms of air fighting exercises.  In addition, he is responsible for the conduct of various Air Ministry trials connected with air firing, rocketry and dive-bombing problems.  By his energy and marked intelligence, Flight Lieutenant Thorne has raised the standard of training in his flight as well as the efficiency of the numerous students, many senior to himself, who have passed through his courses.  Although hampered by manpower shortages, he has contrived to maintain both the tempo and quality of training.  He flies on every possible occasion.  Prior to joining this unit, he was engaged on giving flying instruction to Allied and neutral personnel."

(Recommended when he had flown 1,582 hours, 124 on current duties, 85 in past six months.)

This page was last updated on 08/09/23©

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