Wallace Kyle

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Air Chief Marshal
Sir Wallace Kyle
GCBKCVOCBEDSODFC
Wallace Kyle.jpg
24th Governor of Western Australia
In office
24 November 1975 – 30 September 1980
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Sir Charles Court
Preceded by Sir Hughie Edwards
Succeeded by Sir Richard Trowbridge
Personal details
Born 22 January 1910
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Died 31 January 1988(1988-01-31) (aged 78)
Lymington, Hampshire
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross
Venerable Order of Saint John
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1928–1968
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands RAF Strike Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Technical Training Command
RAF Downham Market
RAF Marham
No. 139 Squadron
Battles/wars Second World War
Malayan Emergency

Air Chief Marshal Sir Wallace Hart Kyle GCBKCVOCBEDSODFC (22 January 1910 – 31 January 1988) was an Australian who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a senior commander and later as the Governor of Western Australia. Born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Kyle was commissioned into the RAF in 1929, and, having seen service in World War II and the Malayan Emergency, held a number of senior positions, including Vice-Chief of the Air Staff and commander-in-chief of the RAF's Bomber Command and Strike Command. He was made governor of Western Australia in 1975, a position in which he served until 1980, later returning to England, where he died in 1988.

Career[edit]

Kyle was born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia and educated at Guildford Grammar School. He entered the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in 1928 and was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in December 1929. Whilst at Cranwell, he represented the college at cricket, squash and tennis and he attained the rank of Flight Cadet Corporal.[1]

As a pilot officer, he was posted to No 17 Squadron as a pilot and subsequently, on 2 July 1931, to No 442 (Fleet Spotter Reconnaissance) Flight Fleet Air Arm as a flying officer (promoted 14 June 1931) (until 1939, the Fleet Air Arm was controlled by the RAF). He spent time at the RAF Depot from 12 August 1932 until his next operational posting to No 820 Squadron Fleet Air Arm on 2 May 1933. From 23 July, Kyle attended the Flying Instructor's Course at the Central Flying School, returning to Cranwell as an instructor on 20 October 1934. His promotion to flight lieutenant came on 14 June 1935.[1]

Kyle went to Australia on an exchange posting with the Royal Australian Air Force in April 1936, returning to Britain in 1938. He was appointed as Squadron Commander at No 3 Flying Training School at RAF South Cerney on 25 June 1938 (he was promoted to squadron leader for this appointment). From 17 July 1939, he was appointed to the Air Staff, HQ Training Command and HQ Flying Training Command.[1]

He served in World War II and in 1940, after various posts in Bomber Command, he was appointed Officer Commanding No. 139 Squadron and received the temporary rank of wing commander on 1 December 1940. Kyle was appointed as Station Commander at RAF Marham in 1942 and another temporary promotion, to group captain, on 1 July 1943. He was appointed as Station Commander at RAF Downham Market on 7 March 1944 and then transferred to the Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command on 9 October 1944.[1]

After the war, in 1945, he joined the Directing Staff at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell. The temporary promotions received during the war were subsequently made substantive with permanent promotions to wing commander on 1 October 1946 and to group captain on 1 July 1947. Kyle joined the Air Plans team at Headquarters RAF Mediterranean & Middle East in October 1948. On 26 April 1949, he was appointed Air Aide de Camp to the King and continued as Air Aide de Camp to the Queen until 31 July 1956.[1]

He was appointed Assistant Commandant at Cranwell in 1951 and Director of Operational Requirements (Air) at the Air Ministry on 30 June 1952, with promotion to air commodore on 1 July. He became a temporary air vice-marshal and Air Officer Commanding at Air Headquarters Malaya on 14 January 1955 during the Malayan Emergency (the promotion was made permanent on 1 July 1955), Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operational Requirements) on 1 September 1957 and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Technical Training Command on 29 September 1959. The last appointment came with a temporary promotion to air marshal which was made permanent on 1 January 1961. He became Vice-Chief of the Air Staff on 2 March 1962 and Air Officer Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command on 19 February 1965; he had been promoted to air chief marshal on 1 January 1964. Bomber Command merged with Fighter Command to form Strike Command, and Kyle became Strike Command's first Air Officer Commander-in-Chief on 30 April 1968.[1]

On 12 August 1966, Kyle was again appointed to be Air ADC to The Queen, which he remained until his retirement from the RAF on 9 November 1968.[1]

Retirement[edit]

He served as Governor of Western Australia from 1975 until 1980 and briefly caused excitement when he spoke out in favour of developing a uranium processing plant at Kalgoorlie in 1978.[2]

Sir Wallace Kyle died on 31 January 1988 at Lymington.

In 1995, Lady Kyle renamed the South Wing of the RAF Benevolent Fund's Princess Marina House in Sussex, the "Kyle Wing" in Sir Wallace's honour. Sir Wallace Kyle had been the first chairman of the home.

Honours and awards[edit]

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross:

“Wing Commander Wallace Hart KYLE (26141), No.139 Squadron.

In April, 1941, this officer led an attack against Ijmuiden Iron and Steel Works. In spite of intense anti-aircraft fire and interference from a patrol of Messerschmitt l09's, he dropped his bombs on the target from a height of 50 feet. The enemy fighters followed Wing Commander Kyle out to sea, but, by his skilful flying, he forced them to break off the attack. The operation was an outstanding success. He has now completed a number of successful operational missions and his resolute determination and leadership have been largely responsible for the high standard of efficiency in his squadron.”

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Chief Marshal Sir Wallace Kyle". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Chris, Clark. "Kyle, Sir Wallace Hart (1910–1988)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur McDonald
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Technical Training Command
1959–1962
Succeeded by
Sir Alfred Earle
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Hudleston
Vice-Chief of the Air Staff
1962–1965
Succeeded by
Sir Brian Burnett
Preceded by
Sir John Grandy
Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command
1965–1968
Succeeded by
Title ceased to exist
Preceded by
New title
Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
1968–1968
Succeeded by
Sir Denis Spotswood
Government offices
Preceded by
Air Commodore Sir Hughie Edwards
Governor of Western Australia
1975–1980
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Sir Richard Trowbridge