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Disgusting wartime treatment of Sir Hugh Dowding
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January 11th, 2012, 04:29 AM
Hiding behind the sofa
Joined: Nov 2010
From: Stockport UK
Originally Posted by Ancient Geezer
Churchill had qualified as a pilot with the Royal Naval Air Service in WW1 while First Lord of the Admiralty but the wings on later photographs are RAF wings awarded to him by the Air Council in 1943.
He had flying lessions in 1913, but he never qualified as a pilot, he wasn't very good at it, and his wife pressured him to give it up before he got himself killed ( she had been spooked by the fact that his instructor was killed in an unrelated flying accident).
Last edited by redcoat; January 11th, 2012 at 04:36 AM.
January 11th, 2012, 09:25 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Originally Posted by CuriousHistorian
Thank you for your very interesting reply.
It is not quite right to say a Marshal of the RAF (and his equivalents in the other two Services) remains on full pay. An MRAF does not retire, but on leaving active service he goes on "half-pay". This was, literally, half the pay a serving MRAF received. For most of the period of Dowding's retirement, this would have been a bit more than an Air Chief Marshal's pension.
With the index-linking of pensions, and inflation in the 1970sleaping ahead of military salaries, Field Marshals, Admirals of the Fleet and MRAFs were worse off than if they had retired as Generals, Admirals or Air Chf Mshls. When MRAF Sir Neil Cameron, as Chief of Defence Staff in the late '70s, realised this, he led a successful campaign to get the system adjusted, so that those on "half-pay" were given parity with their juniors. As he was about to leave post himself, it wasn't entirely altruistic!
Dowding, of course, had hoped to be Chief of Air Staff when Ellington stood down. This would have led in the course of time to MRAF rank. AS he was the senior serving Air Chf Mshl, and up to that point, the senior man had always been appointed, he felt cheated by Newall's preferment (although Newall, although three years younger, was only three months junior in rank).
Collier does touch on Dowding's money concerns. Sadly, these were common to all officers of his rank and generation. Being an MRAF wouldn't have made much difference - his expenses for the Lords probably helped while he could still attend.
Ray examines the issues around Dowding's departure in some depth and comes to much the same conclusions as Collier and Frankland before him, and Professor Orange since. It is a very balanced account.
By the way, have you published on this topic yourself?
Richard Holmes made the Battle of Arras the subject of one of his "War Walks" broadcasts, and that is a good account. It is also in the companion book.
I will try to find relevant on-line material and post the links.
I am afraid I am a bit of a pedant on Arras. Almost all accounts are written by tank men or tank enthusiasts and consider it as a a tank battle.
In fact, it was an infantry attack by 50 Div, supported by 1st Army Tank Brigade. Unfortunately, the infantry and the tanks separated early on and fought effectively separate battles.
Most of the tank engagements were fought by 50 Div's anti-tank regiment and the French armoured division on the flank, rather than by 4th and 7th RTR.
It was an extremely gallant action by all involved, and had an impact greater than the relatively small forces involved might have hoped to achieve.
[SIZE=3][FONT=Arial]Many thanks for the information on pensions. I was going from an ageing memory of a comment I think Wing Commander Derek Dowding made (or perhaps wrote – I must one day make time to sort out the mass of press cuttings and other papers). Much appreciate your help on the Arras battle. Speaking with Hugh Dowding’s nephew a couple of days ago, it was thought that 2nd Lieutenant Dowding would have survived had he been taken to a medical centre, but he was left wounded during the turmoil and it then became too late to save him. I shall make a call to Hugh’s niece who is the only person still alive who remembers firsthand the earlier Dowding family events – mine only date from 1946.
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