Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Overseas Named Groups - Africa, Middle East & Mediterranean 

Middle East Brigade

This was formed in Cairo on 1 July 1916 to control all RFC units in Egypt, Salonika, Mesopotamia and East Africa and was redesignated HQ RFC Middle East on 5 October 1917.

 1 Jul 1916:               Brig-Gen W G H Salmond

HQ RFC Middle East

This was formed in Cairo on 5 October 1917 by renaming Middle East Brigade and was redesignated HQ RAF Middle East on 1 April 1918.

 5 Oct 1917:              Brig-Gen W G H Salmond

 5 Nov 1917:             Brig-Gen W S Brancker

Palestine Brigade

This was formed at Umm el Kaleh on 5 October 1917 to control all RFC operational units 5th and 40th Wings) east of Suez for the forthcoming offensive against the Turks with an Advanced HQ operated at Deir el Balah.  By April 1919 it was located at Ismailia and in June, as a cadre, was amalgamated with HQ 5th Wing (cadre) and HQ 40th Wing (cadre) to form the Arbitive Amagamated HQ, which in turn was redesignated Palestine Group on 18 March 1920.

Officers Commanding: - 

5 Oct 1917              Brig-Gen W G H Salmond (retained command of HQ RFC Middle East)

 5 Nov 1917             Brig-Gen W S Brancker (retained command of HQ RFC Middle East)

14 Dec 1917            Brig-Gen A E Borton

xx Nov 1918            Lt Col R Williams

xx Jan 1919

Arbitive Amagamated HQ

26 Jun 1919            Maj W J Y Guilfoyle

16 Aug 1919           Lt Col S Grant-Dalton

23 Aug 1919           Sqn Ldr W L Welsh

 7 Oct 1919            Wg Cdr S Grant-Dalton

 6 Jan 1920            Wg Cdr C S Burnett

Training Brigade (Middle East)

This was formed at Heliopolis on 14 December 1917 from training Group to control all RFC training units west of Suez and was redesignated Egyptian Group on 18 March 1920.

14 Dec 1917              Brig-Gen P L W Herbert

 8 Sep 1919                A/Cdre R M Groves

Egyptian Group

This was formed at Heliopolis on 18 March 1920 by redesignating HQ Training Brigade and disbanded on 17 December 1924.

18 Mar 1920            ?

1 Jun 1920             A/Cdre O Swann

1 Jan 1922             A/Cdre B C H Drew

2 May 1924           A/Cdre R H Clark-Hall

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Member Areas

Egypt Group 

This was formed on 18 April 1939, being redesignated No 202 Group on 21 September 1939.

18 Apr 1939                     A/Cdre R Collishaw

Palestine Group

This was formed at Ismailia on 18 March 1920 by redesignating Palestine Brigade, by which time it controlled Nos 14, 55, 208 and 216 Squadrons.  On 1 April 1921 it assumed control of No 45 Squadron but was reduced to Palestine Wing on 1 April 1922.

18 Mar 1920             Wg Cdr C S Burnett

20 Mar 1920             Wg Cdr S Grant-Dalton

26 Nov 1920             Gp Capt U J D Bourke

 1 Jan 1922                Gp Capt P F M Fellowes

Listings of units and personnel controlled by this Group available in the Member Areas

Malta Group

This was formed at Valetta on 27 September 1918 by redesignating Malta Command but was redesignated Mediterranean District on 12 December 1918.

Mediterranean District

This was formed at Valetta on 12 December 1918 by redesignating Malta Group. It was subordinate to HQ RAF Middle East and tasked with the control of RAF units based in the Mediterranean, including those on board the RNs aircraft carriers. It was redesignated Mediterranean Group on 18 March 1920.

2 Apr 1919               A/Cdre O Swann

RAF Trans-Jordania

This was formed at Amman on 1 April 1922  to control RAF units operating in the mandated territories under the control of HQ RAF Middle East.  On 1 April 1924 it was transferred to the control of the newly formed Palestine Command and was renamed RAF Transjordan in March/April 1925.

1 Apr 1922                Gp Capt R Gordon

16 Apr 1923              Gp Capt N D K MacEwen

RAF Transjordan

This was formed at Amman by renaming RAF Trans-Jordania in March/April 1925 and was absorbed into HQ Transjordan & Palestine on 1 October 1926.

xx xxx 1925             Gp Capt N D K MacEwen

6 May 1926             Gp Capt L W B Rees VC

HQ RAF Transjordan & Palestine/HQ Palestine & Transjordan

This was formed at Amman from Palestine Command and RAF Transjordan as HQ RAF Transjordan & Palestine on 1 October 1926.  It moved to Azrak on 13 April 1927, back to Amman on 2 June and then to Government Offices, Jerusalem on 29 September 1929.  On 13 January 1930 it moved to Customs House in Jerusalem and from 10 April set up an Advanced HQ at Amman.  Its final move was to the Old Fast Hotel Building in Jerusalem, where it was redesignated HQ RAF Palestine & Transjordan in April 1933.  It was raised to Command status as HQ RAF in Palestine and Transjordan to control the RAF element of British Forces in Palestine & Transjordan on 15 September 1936.

 1 Oct 1926               Gp Capt L W B Rees VC

15 Nov 1928            Gp Capt P H L Playfair

xx Aug 1929             Brig Dobbie

7 Sep 1929               AVM H C T Dowding

1 Dec 1929               A/Cdre P H L Playfair

20 Nov 1930            A/Cdre W R Freeman

30 Sep 1933             A/Cdre-AVM R E C Peirse (also AOC, British Forces in Palestine & Transjordan)

15 Sep 1936             A/Cdre R M Hill

General Reconnaissance Group, Gibraltar 

This was formed at Gibraltar in about September 1939 but was redesignated No 200 (General Reconnaissance) Group on 21 September 1939.

General Reconnaissance Group, Alexandria

This was formed on 8 September 1939 at Alexandria but was redesignated No 201 (General Reconnaissance) Group, on 18 September 1939.

Maintenance Group 

This was formed 17 June 1941 in RAF Middle East and was redesignated No 206 Group on 1 September 1941.

xx xxx 1941                         Gp Capt C B Cooke

Rhodesian Air Training Group

This was formed 28 June 1940 from HQ Southern Rhodesian Air Force to control all air training units in the country.  With the end of hostilities there was a reduction in the training effort but it never actually ceased and on 1 December 1946 the RATG was redesignated Air Training Wing, Southern Rhodesia.  As the result of training increasing, it reverted to the title Rhodesian Air Training Group on 10 May 1948 at Kumalo, finally disbanding on 31 March 1954.

21 Mar 1940                   AVM C W Meredith

xx xxx xxxx                      A/Cdre J W B Grigson (Acting)

30 Oct 1946                    A/Cdre G G Banting

19 Feb 1949                    A/Cdre N S Allinson

 4 May 1951                    A/Cdre H H Brookes

16 Jan 1952/3                  A/Cdre G Bearne

This page was last updated on 30/10/20

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