Edward Leonard Ellington

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Edward Leonard Ellington
Marshal of the RAF Sir Edward Ellington.jpg
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Ellington
Born (1877-12-30)30 December 1877
Kensington, London
Died 13 June 1967(1967-06-13) (aged 89)
Wandsworth, London
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army (1897–18)
 Royal Air Force (1918–40)
Years of service 1897–1940
Rank Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Commands held Inspector-General of the RAF
Chief of the Air Staff
Air Member for Personnel
Air Defence of Great Britain
Iraq Command
RAF India
RAF Middle East
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mention in Despatches (4)
Legion of Honour (France)
Order of Saint Stanislaus (Russia)

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Leonard Ellington GCBCMGCBE (30 December 1877 – 13 June 1967) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served in World War I as a staff officer and then as Director-General of Military Aeronautics and subsequently as Controller-General of Equipment. In the inter-war years he held command positions in the Middle East, in India and then in Iraq. He served as Chief of the Air Staff in the mid-1930s and in that role he implemented a plan, known as 'Scheme F', to increase the size of the Royal Air Force to 187 squadrons (five bomber squadrons for every two fighter squadrons reflecting the dominance of the bomber strategy at the time) within three years to counter the threat from Hitler's Germany. He also broke up the command known as "Air Defence of Great Britain" to create RAF Fighter Command, RAF Bomber Command, RAF Coastal Command and RAF Training Command. He then served as Inspector-General of the RAF until his retirement in 1940.

Early career[edit]

Born the son of Edward Bayzand Ellington and Marion Florence (née Leonard), Ellington was educated at Clifton College.[1][2] After attending the Royal Military Academy Woolwich, Ellington was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery on 1 September 1897.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 September 1900[4] and to captain on 27 April 1904.[5] After attending the Royal Naval War College, Portsmouth in 1908, he was posted to the War Office on 24 August 1909[6] and became a staff officer there on 9 August 1910.[7] He learned to fly in 1912 and was awarded Royal Aero Club certificate No. 305 on 1 October 1912.[8] He went on to be Secretary to the Air Committee in November 1912 and a staff officer in the Directorate of Military Aeronautics in May 1913[9] and was then transferred to the Reserve of the Royal Flying Corps on 17 December 1913.[10]

World War I[edit]

When the First World War started, Ellington was under training at the Central Flying School.[11] On 5 October 1914, he was sent, not to a flying post but to be the Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General at the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force in France.[12] On 6 March 1915 he was granted a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel[13] and posted as the Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General of the 2nd Cavalry Division.[11]

Ellington then served as a staff officer, from 22 July 1915 with the 2nd Army,[14] then, from 5 February 1916 with the Department of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff,[11] and finally from 14 January 1917 with the General Staff of the VIII Corps.[15] On 20 November 1917 he was made the Deputy Director-General of Military Aeronautics under John Salmond at the War Office.[16] Ellington succeeded John Salmond as Director-General on 18 January 1918.[17]

Ellington was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George on 3 June 1916[18] and awarded the Russian Order of Saint Stanislaus, 2nd Class on 1 June 1917.[19] He was promoted to the temporary rank of major-general and appointed Acting Controller-General of Equipment in April 1918,[11] becoming substantive in that post in August 1918,[11] before being appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath for services during the War on 1 January 1919.[20]

Inter-war years[edit]

Ellington as the Director-General of Aircraft Production and Research.

Ellington's role was re-designated as Director-General of Supply and Research in April 1919[21] and, having been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 3 June 1919,[22] he was awarded a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force as a major-general in August 1919 (shortly afterwards redesignated as an air vice marshal).[23] Advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1920 Birthday Honours[24] he became Air Officer Commanding RAF Middle East in March 1922.[11] He went on to be Air Officer Commanding RAF India in November 1923[11] and put down a rebellion by Mahsuds on the North West Frontier in what became known as Pink's War.[21] He became Air Officer Commanding RAF Iraq in November 1926,[11] in which role he undertook peace keeping operations following a revolt led by Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji in 1927,[21] and then became Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Air Defence of Great Britain in February 1929[11] with promotion to air marshal on 1 July 1929.[25] He was appointed Principal Air Aide-de-Camp to the King on 27 February 1930[26] and became Air Member for Personnel on 26 September 1931,[27] receiving promotion to air chief marshal on 1 January 1933.[28]

Ellington was appointed Chief of the Air Staff on 22 May 1933.[29] He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir John Salmond, who was acting in the role following the sudden death of his brother Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond, who had only become Chief of the Air Staff in April.[11] In that role he implemented a plan, known as 'Scheme F', to increase the size of the Royal Air Force to 187 squadrons (five bomber squadrons for every two fighter squadrons reflecting the dominance of the bomber strategy at the time) within three years to counter the threat from Hitler's Germany.[30] He also broke up the command known as "Air Defence of Great Britain" to create RAF Fighter Command, RAF Bomber Command, RAF Coastal Command and RAF Training Command.[31] He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1935 Birthday Honours.[32] He attended the funeral of King George V in January 1936[33] and, having been promoted to marshal of the Royal Air Force on 1 January 1937,[34] he attended the coronation on King George VI in May 1937.[35]

Following completion of his term as Chief of the Air Staff, Ellington became Inspector-General of the RAF on 1 September 1937.[36] It was in his capacity as Inspector-General that in 1938 Ellington visited Australia to investigate standards in the Royal Australian Air Force. His report strongly criticised the RAAF's operational capability and safety standards.[37] Following the publication of the report in July 1938, the Australian Government dismissed Air Vice Marshal Richard Williams from his post as RAAF Chief of the Air Staff.[38] In July 1939 Ellington was augmented in his post as Inspector-General by Air Marshal Sir Charles Burnett, who would become the RAAF's Chief of the Air Staff in 1940.[38][39]

Ellington retired on 4 April 1940, shortly after the start of World War II.[11] He attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953[40] and died on 13 June 1967 from coronary thrombosis at Scio House Hospital in London.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Edward Leonard Ellington". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Air Ministry Announcements – January 7, 1937". Flight Global. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 26887. p. 4876. 31 August 1897. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27235. p. 6121. 5 October 1900. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27684. p. 3710. 10 June 1904. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28283. p. 6530. 27 August 1909. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28407. p. 5947. 16 August 1910. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Aviators' Certificates". Flight International. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28721. p. 3669. 23 May 1913. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28793. p. 417. 16 January 1914. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Ellington". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28976. p. 9375. 13 November 1914. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29113. p. 2984. 26 March 1915. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29267. p. 8244. 17 August 1915. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30022. p. 3601. 17 April 1917. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30411. p. 12645. 26 February 1918. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30549. p. 2592. 26 February 1918. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29608. p. 5561. 2 June 1916. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30108. p. 5434. 1 June 1917. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31098. p. 91. 31 December 1918. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  21. ^ a b c Probert, p. 12
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31378. p. 7026. 30 May 1919. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31486. p. 9864. 1 August 1919. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31931. p. 6316. 4 June 1920. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 33513. p. 4365. 2 July 1929. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 33587. p. 1579. 11 March 1930. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 33757. p. 6239. 29 September 1931. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 33898. p. 16. 30 December 1932. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  29. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33942. p. 3457. 23 May 1933. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  30. ^ Probert, p. 13
  31. ^ Probert, p. 14
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34166. p. 3595. 31 May 1935. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34279. p. 2770. 29 April 1936. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34356. p. 17. 1 January 1937. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34453. p. 7035. 10 November 1937. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  36. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34432. p. 5561. 3 September 1937. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  37. ^ "2003 History Conference – Air War Europe: The Empire Air Training Scheme". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  38. ^ a b Weston, pp. 11–12
  39. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34641. p. 4452. 30 June 1939. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  40. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40020. p. 6229. 17 November 1953. Retrieved 1 August 2012.

Sources[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
W S Brancker
Deputy Director-General of Military Aeronautics
November 1917 – January 1918
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
J M Salmond
Director-General of Military Aeronautics
18 January 1918 – c. April 1918
Post disestablished
Preceded by
W S Brancker
RAF Controller-General of Equipment
Acting Controller-General of Equipment from 10 April 1918
Post renamed Director-General of Aircraft Production and Research in February 1919
Post renamed Director-General of Supply and Research on 1 April 1919

22 August 1918 – 23 February 1922
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Air Officer Commanding Middle East Area
AOC Middle East Command from 1 April 1922

1922–1923
Succeeded by
Oliver Swann
Preceded by
P W Game
Air Officer Commanding RAF India
1923–1926
Succeeded by
W G H Salmond
Preceded by
Sir John Higgins
Air Officer Commanding Iraq Command
1926–1928
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
Preceded by
Francis Rowland Scarlett
Commander-in-Chief Air Defence of Great Britain
1929–1931
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Preceded by
Sir Tom Webb-Bowen
Air Member for Personnel
1931–1933
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Bowhill
Preceded by
Sir John Salmond
Chief of the Air Staff
1933–1937
Succeeded by
The Lord Newall
Preceded by
Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
Inspector-General of the RAF
1937–1939
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Burnett