Owen Tudor Boyd


Owen Tudor Boyd
Owen Tudor Boyd
Born 30 August 1889
Died 5 August 1944(1944-08-05) (aged 54)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
 Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916 – 1944
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held RAF Balloon Command
No. 1 Group RAF
RAF Khormaksar
No. 24 Squadron RAF
No. 72 Squadron RAF
No. 66 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross
Air Force Cross
Mention in Despatches (2)

Air Marshal Owen Tudor Boyd CB, OBE, MC, AFC (30 August 1889 – 5 August 1944) was an officer in the British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during most of World War I. Boyd was an officer in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during the latter part of World War I, in the interwar period, and during World War II.

Contents

Education and pre-war

Boyd was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. On 20 January 1909, he was appointed to a commission on the unattached list before entering the Indian Army in the same year. Boyd was an officer with the Indian Army's 5th Cavalry.[1]

World War I

From 25 April 1916, Boyd saw service in World War I as a flying officer with the RFC. Later in 1916, he was a pilot on the Western Front with No. 27 Squadron; on 9 July, he was promoted to Flight Commander.[1]

Boyd stayed on the Western Front and continued to earn promotion. On 26 October, he was made Officer Commanding of a squadron and on 19 January 1917, took command of No. 66 Squadron.[1]

In June 1917, he was moved to a staff appointment and on 2 December, he was made a Staff Officer, 2nd Class, RFC (Captain - graded as Brigade Major).[1]

By 7 July 1918, Boyd was in Mesopotamia as Officer Commanding No. 72 Squadron.[1]

Interwar years

From 18 January 1919, Boyd was an Officer Commanding and a Staff Officer (Acting Lieutenant-Colonel). On 1 August, he was awarded a permanent commission as a Major. By 21 January 1920, he was a Staff Officer with the Mesopotamian Wing Headquarters. He was also involved as a Staff Officer with the Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.[1]

On 23 October 1922, Boyd was once again commanding a squadron, this time No. 24 Squadron.[1]

On 26 February 1923, he was made the Commandant of the School of Army Co-operation. Starting 21 January 1926, he attended the Army Staff College, Camberley. By 21 January 1928, he was on the directing staff of the college.[1]

On 4 January 1930, Boyd became the Deputy Director of Staff Duties.[1]

On 7 August 1931, Boyd was the Officer Commanding, RAF Aden. By 16 April 1934, he was Secretary of State for Air for the Headquarters Fighting Area. By 24 October 1935, he was Air Officer Commanding, Central Area.[1]

On 1 May 1936, Boyd was promoted to Air Commodore of No. 1 Group RAF. He was appointed Director of Personal Services at the Air Ministry in December 1936.[1]

World War II

Women's Auxiliary Air Force barrage balloon crews at RAF Cardington.

In 1938, as an Air Vice-Marshal, Boyd became Commander-in-Chief RAF Balloon Command. On 1 December 1940, he was replaced by Air Marshal Sir Leslie Gossage at RAF Balloon Command. Boyd was then promoted to Air Marshal and appointed Deputy to the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) Middle East.[1]

On his way to Egypt, Boyd was to stop in Malta. However, the aircraft in which he and his staff were passengers was forced down over enemy-controlled Sicily by a group of Italian fighters. After destroying his confidential papers by setting his own aircraft on fire, Boyd became a prisoner of war (POW). He spent much of the war in the Castle Vincigliata (Castello di Vincigliata) camp near Florence, Italy.[2]

When Italy capitulated in September 1943, Boyd and two British Army generals (Philip Neame and Richard O'Connor, both captured in North Africa in 1941), made use of the general confusion and escaped from their Italian captors. After some time in the Italian countryside, all three men successfully reached the Allied lines.[3]

Of all of RAF Bomber Command's wartime group commanders, Boyd spent the shortest time in command of his appointed group. His life was cut tragically short at the age of fifty-four, six months into his appointment as Air Officer Commanding of 93 (Operational Training Unit) Group.

Death

Boyd's life took a turn for the worse upon his return to England after captivity in Italy. In late July 1944, he was divorced. Little more than a week later, on 5 August, he was dead from a heart attack.[1]

Promotion Dates

Insignia Rank Date [1] Service
Second Lieutenant 20 January 1909 British Army
Lieutenant 20 April 1911 British Army
Captain 1 September 1915 British Army
Acting Major 26 October 1916 British Army
Acting Major 1 April 1918 Royal Air Force
Acting Lieutenant Colonel 18 January 1918 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF3.svg Squadron Leader 1 August 1919 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF4.svg Wing Commander 1 January 1923 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF5.svg Group Captain 1 July 1930 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF6.svg Air Commodore 1 July 1934 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF7.svg Air Vice-Marshal 1 July 1937 Royal Air Force
UK-Air-OF8.svg Acting Air Marshal 8 November 1940 Royal Air Force

See also

References

External references

Military offices
Preceded by
C T MacLean
As Air Officer Commanding Aden Command
Officer Commanding RAF Aden
1931 – 1934
Succeeded by
C F A Portal
As Officer Commanding Aden Command
Preceded by
H R Nicholl
Air Officer Commanding Central Area
1935 – 1936
Formation renamed as No. 1 Group
Preceded by
J C Quinnell
Quinnel's command was redesignated No. 6 Group in 1936
Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group
1936
Succeeded by
S W Smith
New title
Command established
Air Officer Commanding Balloon Command
1938 – 1940
Succeeded by
Sir Leslie Gossage
Preceded by
A P Ritchie
Air Officer Commanding No. 93 Group
1944
Succeeded by
G S Hodson



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