Chief of the Air Staff (United Kingdom)


Chief of the Air Staff (United Kingdom)
The Chief of the Air Staff's command flag, the Royal Air Force Ensign

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is the professional head of the Royal Air Force and a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Air Force Board. The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Glenn Torpy as Chief of the Air Staff on 31 July 2009.[1]

Contents

History

The post was established in January 1918, just prior to the official formation of the RAF, and its first occupant was Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard. Following Trenchard's resignation in March 1918 after disagreements with the first air minister, his rival Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes was appointed. With Churchill's post-War appointment as Secretary of State for War and Air, Sykes was moved sideways to head up the nascent Civil Aviation ministry and Trenchard returned as Chief of the Air Staff. In the early 1920s Trenchard had to fight to keep the RAF from being divided and being absorbed back into the Royal Navy and the British Army. After Lord Trenchard retired in 1930 there were still suggestions that the RAF should be broken up, but Trenchard's foundations proved solid.

By the time World War II broke out in 1939, the then occupant of the post, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, had a service that had been undergoing the most rapid of expansions during the British rearmament programs of the late 1930s. Newall gave way in 1940 to Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, who led the service for the rest of the war. Portal was a tireless defender of the RAF and extremely able in administration and strategy.

Postwar the RAF was reoriented to perform the dual roles of defending the shrinking British Empire and possibly fighting against the Soviet Union in a Warsaw Pact verses NATO war over Germany and the United Kingdom. The Chiefs of the Air Staff of the day had to fight a constant battle to keep the British aircraft industry alive. In the end only minimal success was achieved, with only a rump aviation industrial base left by the 1970s.

Supporting staff and honours

The Chief of the Air Staff's deputy is the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. From 1918 to around 1968, the Chief of the Air Staff's deputy was the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff. They also appoint the Chief of the Air Staff's Warrant Officer who is the most senior Other Ranks member of the RAF.

The Chief of the Air Staff is normally appointed an Air Aide de Camp to the British sovereign.

Chiefs of the Air Staff

The following list gives details of the chiefs of the air staff from 1918 to the present:[1]

Image Date of appointment Rank Incumbent References
Major General Sir Hugh Trenchard.jpg 3 January 1918 Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard [2]
Maj Gen Frederick Sykes.jpg 13 April 1918 Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes
Sir Hugh Trenchard (cropped).jpg 31 March 1919 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard [3]
Sir John Salmond in 1925.jpg 1 January 1930 Air Chief Marshal Sir John Salmond [4]
Sir Geoffrey Salmond.jpg 1 April 1933 Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Sir John Salmond in 1925.jpg 28 April 1933 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Salmond
Marshal of the RAF Sir Edward Ellington.jpg 22 May 1933 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Ellington
Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall (close-up).jpg 1 September 1937 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Cyril Newall
MRAF Sir Charles Portal.jpg 25 October 1940 Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Portal
Air Chf Mshl Tedder.gif 1 January 1946 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Tedder
Air Marshal Sir John Slessor.jpg 1 January 1950 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor
Air Vice-Marshal Dickson near Venafro, Italy.jpg 1 January 1953 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir William Dickson
Dermot Boyle.jpg 1 January 1956 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Dermot Boyle
Air Marshal Sir Thomas Pike.jpg 1 January 1960 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Thomas Pike
Celworthy.jpg 1 September 1963 Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Elworthy
Jgrandy.jpg 1 April 1967 Air Chief Marshal Sir John Grandy
Dspotswood.jpg 1 April 1971 Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Spotswood
Ahumphrey.jpg 1 April 1974 Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Humphrey
Ncameron.jpg 7 August 1976 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Neil Cameron
Flt Lt M Beetham.jpg 10 August 1977 Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beetham
Kwilliamson.jpg 15 October 1982 Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Williamson
15 October 1985 Air Chief Marshal Sir David Craig
14 November 1988 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Harding
Mgraydon2.jpg 6 November 1992 Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon
Sir Richard Johns (cropped).jpg 10 April 1997 Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns
Psquire.jpg 21 April 2000 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire
Stirrup in Istanbul.jpg 1 August 2003 Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup
Sir Glen Torpy at the Global Air Chiefs Conference (crop).jpg 13 April 2006 Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy
Stephendalton.png 31 July 2009 Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton
  1. ^ The ranks shown are the highest rank that the officer in question attained during his tour as Chief of the Air Staff. However, in the case where the officer was promoted on the day before he was posted or retired, then the lower rank is shown.

See also

Other service chiefs

Generally relevant

  • CAS Air Power Workshop

References

  1. ^ Air Marshal Stephen Dalton appointed next Chief of the Air Staff Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  2. ^ Barrass, Malcolm (9 October 2007). "Marshal of the RAF The Viscount Trenchard of Wolfeton". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Trenchard.htm. Retrieved 25 May 2009. 
  3. ^ London Gazette: no. 31348. p. 6249. 20 May 1919. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 33565. p. 8506. 31 December 1929. Retrieved 2009-05-25.

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