Norman Bottomley

Norman Bottomley
Sir Norman Bottomley
Born 18 September 1891
Died 13 August 1970(1970-08-13) (aged 78)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914 - 1948
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Inspector-General of the RAF
Bomber Command
No. 5 Group
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Air Force Cross
Mention in Despatches (5)
Other work Director of Administration at the BBC 1948-1956

Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Howard Bottomley KCB CIE DSO AFC RAF (18 September 1891 – 13 August 1970) was the Yorkshire-born successor to Arthur 'Bomber' Harris as Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command in 1945.

RAF career

Born in Yorkshire, Bottomley was educated at Halifax School and the University of Rennes in Brittany before being commissioned into the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1914 during World War I.[1] He served with his Regiment until transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915 and becoming a pilot with No. 47 Squadron.[1]

Between the wars Bottomley's appointments included service in the Middle East and the command of No. 4 (AC) Squadron RAF from 1928 and No. 1 (Indian) Group from 1934.[1] Bottomley was Senior Air Staff Officer at Bomber Command headquarters between 1938 and 1940, continuing in that role at the start of World War II, and was then appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group in November 1940.[1] He was moved to Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in 1941 and then Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in 1942 before reverting to Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in 1943.[1] On the 15 September 1945, he followed Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris as Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command, retaining command until 16 January 1947.[1]

Bottomley became Inspector-General of the RAF in 1947 and retired on 1 January 1948.[1]

From 1948 until 1956, he held the post of Director of Administration at the BBC, acting as Director General when Sir Ian Jacob was away.[2]

Honours and awards

  • Air Force Cross - 2 November 1918[3]
  • Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire - 11 May 1937[4]
  • Distinguished Service Order - 21 December 1937[5]
  • Companion of the Order of the Bath - 17 March 1941[6]
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath - 8 June 1944[1]
  • Mention in Despatches - 12 November 1937, 18 February 1938, 14 June 1938, 1 January 1941[1]
  • Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States) - 9 Oct 1945[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Air of Authority "Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Bottomley". A History of RAF Organisation. Air of Authority. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Low Conspiracy? – Government interference in the BBC1
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30989. p. 12957. 1 November 1918. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34396. p. 3083. 11 May 1937. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 34465. p. 8001. 21 December 1937. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35107. p. 1571. 17 March 1941. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
Military offices
Preceded by
A T Harris
Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group
Succeeded by
J C Slessor
Preceded by
A T Harris
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
From 3 May 1942 to 30 Jul 1943 the post was titled Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations)

1 June 1941 – 15 September 1945
Succeeded by
Sir Albert Durston
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Harris
Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Saunders
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Barratt
Inspector-General of the RAF
Succeeded by
Sir George Pirie

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