David Craig, Baron Craig of Radley

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The Lord Craig of Radley
Born (1929-09-17) 17 September 1929 (age 85)
Dublin, Irish Free State
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1951–1991
Rank Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Commands held Chief of the Defence Staff
Chief of the Air Staff
RAF Strike Command
No. 1 Group
RAF Akrotiri
No. 35 Squadron
Battles/wars Gulf War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Other work Convenor of the Crossbench Peers

Marshal of the Royal Air Force David Brownrigg Craig, Baron Craig of Radley GCBOBE (born 17 September 1929) is a retired Royal Air Force officer and member of the House of Lords. He was a fast jet pilot in the 1950s, a squadron commander in the 1960s and a station commander in the 1970s. He served as Chief of the Air Staff during the late 1980s, when the Boeing Airborne early warning and control system was ordered and the European Fighter programme was being developed. He then served as Chief of the Defence Staff during the Gulf War.

Early life[edit]

The son of Major Francis Brownrigg Craig and his wife Olive Craig, Craig grew up in what later became the Republic of Ireland, was largely unaffected by the events of World War II.[1] In 1943 he came to Britain and started at Radley College where, in addition to his studies, he rowed, captained the school's first team at rugby and later became Head of School.[1] He gained a place at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree in Mathematics, and joined the Oxford University Air Squadron.[1]

RAF career[edit]

Craig was commissioned as a pilot officer on 19 September 1951 (with seniority from 19 December 1949).[2] He was initially put through the pilot's course at No. 7 Flying Training School at RAF Cottesmore where he was promoted to flying officer on 19 March 1952[3] before earning his "wings" in April 1952.[1] He went on to the Advanced Flying School at RAF Driffield where he was promoted to flight lieutenant on 19 December 1952[4] and then to 209 Advanced Flying School at RAF Weston Zoyland where he was a jet conversion instructor.[1] In 1955 he joined No. 247 squadron at RAF Odiham which was converting from Meteors to Hunters.[1] After attending the guided weapons course at the RAF Technical College at Henlow, he was posted to a missile evaluation site at North Coates.[1] He was promoted to squadron leader on 1 January 1959[5] and posted to the Air Ministry later that year.[6] He attended RAF Staff College in 1961 before joining No. 35 Squadron at RAF Coningsby in January 1963 initially as a flight commander and then as Officer Commanding the Squadron flying Vulcan B2 aircraft.[6]

Promoted to wing commander on 1 January 1964,[7] Craig was appointed Military Assistant to the then Chief of the Defence Staff, Field Marshal Sir Richard Hull in June 1965.[6] He was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in the 1965 Birthday Honours.[8]

Vulcan B2, a type flown by Craig in the early 1960s

Craig was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1967 Birthday Honours[9] and, having been promoted to group captain on 1 January 1968,[10] he became Station Commander at RAF Cranwell later that year.[11] He became Aide-de-Camp to the Queen in 1969.[11] He was made Director (Plans and Operations) and Headquarters Far East Command in 1970,[11] and having been promoted to air commodore on 1 January 1972,[12] he became Station Commander at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus later that year.[11] He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1974.[13] Promoted to air vice-marshal on 1 January 1975,[14] he became Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) on 25 March 1975.[15]

Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1978 Birthday Honours,[16] Craig became Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group later that year.[11] He went on to be Vice-Chief of the Air Staff in 1980 and advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1981 New Year Honours.[17] He was promoted to air marshal on 1 January 1981,[18] and appointed to the post of Commander-in-Chief RAF Strike Command on 20 September 1982 with the acting rank of air chief marshal on 21 September 1982.[19] He was promoted to the substantive rank of air chief marshal on 1 July 1983[20] and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1984 Birthday Honours.[21]

Craig became Chief of the Air Staff on 15 October 1985 and appointed Air Aide-de-Camp to the Queen on the same date.[22] As Chief of the Air Staff he advised the British Government on the ordering of the Boeing Airborne early warning and control system and the development of the European Fighter programme.[23] Having been promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force on 14 November 1988,[24] he became Chief of the Defence Staff on 9 December 1988.[25] As Chief of the Defence Staff he advised the British Government on the deployment of 45,000 servicemen and women during the Gulf War.[26] He retired from service in 1991.[11]

Later work[edit]

On 30 July 1991, following his retirement from the RAF, Craig was made a life peer as Baron Craig of Radley, of Helhoughton in the County of Norfolk.[27] In retirement he was a Director of ML Holdings plc from 1991 to 1992.[11] He was the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers in the House of Lords from December 1999 until July 2004 and Chairman of the Council of King Edward VII's Hospital from 1998 to 2004.[11] Since 1996 he has been Deputy Chairman of the Council of the RAF Benevolent Fund and President of the Not Forgotten Association.[11] He was awarded an honorary DSc. from Cranfield University in 1988.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Craig married Elisabeth June Derenburg in 1955: they have two children: The Hon. Christopher Craig (born 1957) and The Hon. Susan Craig (born 1960).[28] His interests include fishing and shooting.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Probert, p. 95
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39358. p. 5363. 12 October 1951. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39499. p. 1677. 25 March 1952. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39758. p. 482. 23 January 1953. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41586. p. 7950. 30 December 1958. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Probert, p.96
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43210. p. 77. 31 December 1963. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43667. p. 5505. 12 June 1965. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44326. p. 6276. 10 June 1967. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44493. p. 82. 2 January 1968. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45564. p. 92. 4 January 1972. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  13. ^ Probert, p.97
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46469. p. 871. 20 January 1975. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46526. p. 3973. 25 March 1975. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47549. p. 6231. 3 June 1978. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48467. p. 3. 31 December 1980. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48498. p. 821. 20 January 1981. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49122. p. 12552. 28 September 1982. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49406. p. 8832. 5 July 1983. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49768. p. 2. 16 June 1984. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50279. p. 13878. 7 October 1985. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  23. ^ Probert, p.98
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51530. p. 12790. 15 November 1988. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51550. p. 13684. 5 December 1988. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52589. p. 37. 28 June 1991. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52588. p. 1. 28 June 1991. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  28. ^ "David Craig, Baron Craig of Radley". The Peerage.com. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 

Sources[edit]

  • Probert, Henry (1991). High Commanders of the Royal Air Force. HMSO. ISBN 0-11-772635-4. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
B A Primavesl
Station Commander RAF Cranwell
1968–1970
Succeeded by
G L Pendred
Preceded by
P J Lagesen
Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group
1978–1980
Succeeded by
M W P Knight
Preceded by
Sir John Nicholls
Vice-Chief of the Air Staff
1980–1982
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Harding
Preceded by
Sir Keith Williamson
Commander-in-Chief RAF Strike Command
1982–1985
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Harding
Preceded by
Sir Keith Williamson
Chief of the Air Staff
1985–1988
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Harding
Preceded by
The Lord Fieldhouse
Chief of the Defence Staff
1988–1991
Succeeded by
The Lord Vincent
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Weatherill
Convenor of the Crossbench Peers
1999–2004
Succeeded by
The Lord Williamson