Alec Coryton

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Sir William Alec Coryton
Air Cdre W A Coryton.jpg
Born (1895-02-16)16 February 1895
Pentillie, Cornwall
Died 20 October 1981(1981-10-20) (aged 86)
Langton Matravers, Dorset
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
 Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914 - 1951
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Third Tactical Air Force
No. 5 Group
No. 16 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Chief Marshal Sir William Alec Coryton KCB KBE MVO DFC RAF (16 February 1895 – 20 October 1981), known as Alec Coryton, was a senior Royal Air Force commander in the Second World War.


Originally commissioned as an officer into the British Army's Rifle Brigade (Special Reserve), Coryton transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as a Lieutenant in 1918. When the RFC became the Royal Air Force, he resigned his Army commission and became a Royal Air Force officer.

From 1925 to 1928, he was Officer Commanding 16 Squadron, based at Old Sarum, Wiltshire, operating the Bristol F.2 Fighter in the tactical reconnaissance role.

On 25 April 1942 he became AOC, No. 5 Group RAF Bomber Command. It has been claimed[who?] that the then Air Commodore Coryton was sacked by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris for refusing to send a small force of Lancasters from his group on a sneak raid to Berlin in poor weather conditions.

In February 1943 Coryton moved to the Air Staff at the Air Ministry and was appointed Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in 1944.

On 25 August 1944 he became Commander, RAF Third Tactical Air Force.

  • 1944 4 December Commander, RAF in Bengal & Burma.
  • 1944 14 December – May 1945 Assistant Air Commander, Eastern Air Command.
  • 1945 27 February Air Marshal Commanding HQ RAF Burma

Honours and awards[edit]



External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
J C Slessor
Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group
Succeeded by
The Hon. R A Cochrane
Preceded by
J E A Baldwin
Air Officer Commanding Third Tactical Air Force
Post downgraded to AOC HQ RAF Bengal and Burma on 4 December 1944
Post renamed AOC HQ RAF Burma on 1 June 1945

Post disestablished

Probert,Henry, Bomber Harris His Life and Times,Stoddart,2001 p207