Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Roger Leslie b: 15 May 1923 r: 31 Mar 1978 d: 6 Mar 2020
AFC – 8 Jun 1950, Bar – 1 Jan 1955, Bar - 1 Jan 1958, tp – xx xxx 1951.
Plt Off: 22 Sep 1944, Fg Off (WS): 22 Mar 1945, Flt Lt: 22 Mar 1948, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1955, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1959, Act Gp Capt: 1 Dec 1963, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1964, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1970.
xx xxx 1939: Aircraft Apprentice, No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton.
xx xxx 1943: U/T Pilot, Canada.
1945 Pilot, 'E' Sqn, Glider Pilot's Regiment.
xx xxx xxxx: Pilot, No 107 Sqn. (Mosquito)
xx Nov 1947: Pilot, No 98 Sqn. (Mosquito)
xx xxx 1951: Attended Empire Test Pilots' School.
xx xxx 1952: Test pilot, RAE Farnborough.
1 Oct 1952: Granted a Permanent commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant
23 Jan 1955: Officer Commanding, No 111 Sqn. (Meteor F8/Hunter 6)
18 Jan 1959: Staff Officer - Atomic Plans and Policy, HQ Allied Air Forces Central Europe.
xx xxx 1959: Controller?, Sector Operations Centre, Brockzetel.
xx xxx 1961: Attended Joint Services Staff College.
1 May 1962: Officer Commanding, Fighter Test Sqn. A. & A.E.E.
1 Dec 1963: Officer Commanding, RAF Coltishall.
xx xxx 1966: Attended National Defence College, Canada.
18 Sep 1967: Deputy Director of Operational Requirements (3).
xx xxx 1969: Attached Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Project, Munich.
20 Mar 1970: Group Captain – Operations, HQ No 38 Group.
15 Sep 1970: Commandant, A. & A.E.E.
16 Sep 1972: Deputy General Manager, NATO, MRCA Development and Production Agency.
He originally entered the RAF as an Apprentice in the 39th Entry at Cranwell, after which he was selected for pilot training which then unusually, took him onto gliders as a pilot in the Glider Pilots' Regiment, with whom he took part in the Rhine crossing, 'Operation Varsity', of 1945.
Whilst CO of No 111, he formed a four Hunter aerobatic team and the following year was named the 'Black Arrows'. In 1958 he led the 'Black Arrows' in their World record setting loop of 22 aircraft, which required aircraft and pilots borrowed from other units. Also in 1958, he made a commemorative flight from London to Edinburgh to mark the 20th Anniversary of the flight made by one of his predecessors, Squadron Leader Gillan, as CO of 111 shortly after the squadron had re-equipped with Hurricanes. His flight of 335 miles took 27 minutes 46 seconds (Average speed 717 mph).
Retiring from the RAF at his own request, he was a Consultant to Ferranti Defence Systems for ten years, after which he became an independent aviation and defence consultant.
Recommendation for the award of the Air Force Cross
"TOPP, Roger Leslie, F/L (166654) - No.98 Squadron, Station Celle, British Air Forces of Occupation.
Flight Lieutenant Topp has been a member of No.98 (Mosquito) Squadron since November 1947, and since August 1949 he has been acting as Officer Commanding the Station Flight. Since November 1947 this officer has flown 640 hours on Mosquito and Oxford aircraft of which nearly 200 hours have been flown in the past six months. While serving in 98 Squadron Flight Lieutenant Topp carried out 36 meteorological ascents, many of which had to be undertaken in extremely arduous weather conditions. Nevertheless, nothing deterred him from carrying out his duty of obtaining vital weather information. As Officer Commanding Station Flight, he has not only built up a very efficient Unit and shown excellent ability and keenness as a pilot, but he has displayed good powers of command and leadership. With the introduction of the Operational Conversion Course from Mosquito Mark 6's to Mosquito Mark 35's, this officer has had to shoulder even more responsibility. In the absence of a Qualified Flying Instructor on this station, Flight Lieutenant Topp has undertaken the task of converting and training new crews. This has necessitated giving dual instruction by day and night throughout the period in command of the Flight. He has been the only Qualified Instrument Rating Examiner on the Station and, as such, has been entirely responsible for the instrument testing and rating of all Squadron pilots. The fact that all pilots on this Station have been rated, reflects great credit on this officer’s ability. He has undertaken all the varying flying tasks, which have called for high moral courage and leadership, together with all the other duties of a Junior Officer, in a most loyal and cheerful manner. By his high example and devotion to duty he has instilled confidence, and gained the respect of all ranks on the Station."
(Source - Air 2/10073 Recommended when he had flown 1,266 hours, 644 on current duties, 196 in previous six months.)
This page was last updated on 08/09/23
J G Topham
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E J D Townesend