John Day (RAF officer)

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John Romney Day
Born 1947
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service c.1966–2003
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held No. 72 Squadron
No. 1 Group
Personnel and Training Command
Strike Command
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Romney Day KCBOBEADC (born 1947) is a retired senior Royal Air Force commander and a military advisor to BAE Systems.

Early life and education[edit]

John Day was born in England in 1947, however during the first nine years of his life, he spent a considerable amount of time in north east India where his father worked as a Tea Planter. He was educated at The King's School, Canterbury and at Imperial College London from where he graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.[1] During his time at Imperial, Day received an RAF sponsorship and he was a member of the London University Air Squadron.

RAF career[edit]

Following initial officer training and flying training, Day was posted to RAF Odiham flying the Wessex helicopter.[1] He went on to command No. 72 Squadron, flying Wessex helicopters, in Northern Ireland in 1983[1] and returned to Odiham as Station Commander.[1]

Day attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1990 and then took up the post of Director of Air Force Plans and Programmes at the Ministry of Defence.[1] On promotion to air vice-marshal in 1994, Day was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group.[1] In 1997 he was made Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) and Director of Operations for all the United Kingdom's operations (including the Kosovo campaign and operations over Iraq).[1] In 2000, Day was appointed Air Member for Personnel and Commander-in-Chief Personnel and Training Command.[1] In 2001, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief Strike Command.[1]

He retired from the Royal Air Force in 2003 and joined BAE Systems as their Senior Military Adviser.[2]

BAE controversy[edit]

Day became a senior military adviser to BAE Systems in 2003. The independent watchdog monitoring the movement of officials to companies recommended that he should wait a year before taking up his new BAE job, due to his history as head of RAF Strike Command. The committee warned that Day "had been involved with Air Force Board decisions which would have a direct bearing on the MoD's business with BAE".[3] Controversially Tony Blair then personally overruled the watchdog, saying that it was "in the national interest[4]" to let Day move to the firm.[5]

Chinook helicopter crash Board of Inquiry[edit]

In 1995, following the Chinook Helicopter Crash on the Mull of Kintyre, Day was the Reviewing Officer of the Board of Inquiry which had failed to find a cause of the accident. Despite a lack of Accident Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder, Day concluded that pilot error was the cause of the crash and found the pilots guilty of gross negligence.[6] Following a subsequent Scottish Fatal Accident Inquiry and House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report, a House of Lords Select Committee was appointed to consider all the circumstances surrounding the crash and unanimously concluded "that the reviewing officers were not justified in finding that negligence on the part of the pilots caused the aircraft to crash".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day KCB OBE ADC BSc RAF Military Art
  2. ^ Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day, KCB, OBE Debrett's People of Today
  3. ^ BAE's lobbying
  4. ^ "Business Appointment Rules" (PDF). House of Commons. Retrieved 15 March 2008.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)[dead link]
  5. ^ BAE chief linked to slush fund
  6. ^ Hoon won’t change Chinook decision The Scotsman, 23 July 2002
  7. ^ Report from the Select Committee on Chinook ZD 576 dated 31 Jan 02
Military offices
Preceded by
Director of Air Force Plans and Programmes
Succeeded by
Jock Stirrup
Preceded by
Peter Squire
Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group
Succeeded by
Jock Stirrup
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Harley
Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments)
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Pigott
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Bagnall
Commander-in-Chief Personnel and Training Command
Air Member for Personnel

Succeeded by
Sir Christopher Coville
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Bagnall
Commander-in-Chief RAF Strike Command
Succeeded by
Sir Brian Burridge