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Air Board (Australia)

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Australian Air Board
Air Force Ensign of Australia (1948–1982).svg
Agency overview
Formed 1920
Dissolved 1976
Superseding agency
  • Chief of the Air Staff Advisory Committee
Jurisdiction Royal Australian Air Force
Headquarters Melbourne (1920–61)
Canberra (1961–76)
Parent department Department of Defence (1920–39, 1973–76)
Department of Air (1939–73)
Parent agency Australian Air Council (1920–29)

The Air Board, also known as the Administrative Air Board,[1] or the Air Board of Administration,[2] was the controlling body of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 1921 to 1976. It was composed of senior RAAF officers as well as some civilian members, and chaired by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). The CAS was the operational head of the Air Force, and the other board members were responsible for specific areas of the service such as personnel, supply, engineering, and finance. Initially based in Melbourne, the board relocated to Canberra in 1961.

Formed in 1920, the Air Board's first task was to establish the air force that it was to administer. The board initially came under the control of another body, the Air Council, that included the chiefs of the Army and Navy; after the council's dissolution in 1929 the Air Board had equal status with the Army and Navy boards, reporting directly to the Minister for Defence. According to Air Force Regulations, the Air Board was collectively responsible for administering the RAAF, not the CAS alone. In 1976 the Air Board was dissolved and the CAS was invested with the individual responsibility for commanding the RAAF; the board was succeeded by the Chief of the Air Staff Advisory Committee, but the CAS was not bound by its advice.

Organisation and responsibilities[edit]

The Air Board initially comprised the Director of Intelligence and Organisation, Director of Personnel and Training, Director of Equipment, and Finance Member.[2] The agency's purview included the RAAF's organisation and dispersal, allocation of aircraft to meet Army and Navy requirements, selection of air bases and buildings, development of training programs and schools, and recruitment.[3] Its composition evolved until, in 1954, it included the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Member for Personnel (AMP), Air Member for Technical Services (AMTS), Air Member for Supply and Equipment (AMSE), and Secretary. The board essentially retained this form until its dissolution in 1976.[2][4]

The CAS was responsible for the operational side of the RAAF, from policy and plans to overall combat command. As chairman of the Air Board, he controlled the agency's meetings, agenda, and minutes. According to Air Force Regulations, the Air Board as a body was responsible for running the RAAF; this power was not invested in the CAS alone. In practice, the CAS's operational and administrative responsibilities did allow him to exert a significant influence. Generally though, decisions were arrived at through collective discussion and consensus; each board member had the right to table a dissenting report, but such instances were rare. Despite the efforts of some government ministers and at least one CAS, Air Marshal John McCauley, to prevent members serving more than three to five years consecutively on the board, no arbitrary term limits were enforced. Ellis Wackett, the RAAF's senior engineering officer from 1942, maintained his place on the board for seventeen years, the longest tenure of any member; his experience and intellect made him, according to historian Alan Stephens, "singularly adept at bringing a committee around to his point of view".[5]

As well as being members of the board, AMP, AMTS and AMSE were the heads of their respective branches within the Air Force. Other officers such as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff might attend meetings, but were not members of the board.[6] The Secretary was a senior public servant, the permanent head of the Department of Air from 1939 to 1973 and afterwards a deputy to the permanent head of the Department of Defence, responsible to the board for finance, administration, and direction of civilian support staff.[6][7] The minister of the department could choose to chair meetings, and was expected to approve all decisions made by the board. This sometimes involved the minister in mundane matters, such as the acquisition of furniture and foodstuffs.[6] Alan Stephens observed that the board itself, despite consisting of an air marshal, three air vice-marshals, and a high-level government official, could devote "an inordinate amount of meeting time" to administrative minutiae, rather than concentrating on higher policy, major acquisitions, or operations.[8] Stephens contrasted this situation with the board's achievements in more substantial matters, such as the "educational revolution" it oversaw between 1945 and 1953, when programs such as RAAF College, RAAF Staff College, and the RAAF apprentice scheme were introduced.[8][9]


Early years[edit]

In December 1919, the remnants of the wartime Australian Flying Corps (AFC) were disbanded, and replaced in January 1920 by the Australian Air Corps (AAC), which was, like the AFC, part of the Australian Army. The AAC was an interim organisation intended to remain in place until the establishment of a permanent Australian air service.[10][11] The Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Sir Percy Grant, objected to the AAC being under Army control, and argued that an air board should be formed to oversee the AAC and any permanent Australian air force.[12] A temporary air board first met on 29 January 1920, the Army being represented by Brigadier General Thomas Blamey and Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams, and the Royal Australian Navy by Captain Wilfred Nunn and Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Goble, a former member of Britain's Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) then seconded to the Navy Office.[12][13] Williams was given responsibility for administering the AAC on behalf of the board.[12]

Portrait of five men, three in military uniforms and the others in business suits
Members of the inaugural Air Board (pictured in 1928). Back row: P.E. Coleman, Secretary; A.C. Joyce, Finance Member. Front row: Group Captain S.J. Goble, Director of Personnel and Training; Air Commodore R. Williams, Director of Intelligence and Organisation; Wing Commander R.A. Mcbain, Director of Equipment

The permanent Air Board was instituted on 9 November 1920 to oversee the day-to-day running of the proposed Australian Air Force that would succeed the extant AAC.[14] The board's members consisted of Williams as Director of Intelligence and Organisation, Goble as Director of Personnel and Training, Captain Percy McBain as Director of Equipment, and Mr A.C. Joyce as Finance Member.[15] A superior policy-making body, the Air Council, was formed the same day and consisted of the Minister for Defence, the Chief of the General Staff, the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Controller of Civil Aviation, and two members of the Air Board (Williams and Goble). This arrangement ensured that the new Air Force would be, in the words of historian Chris Coulthard-Clark, "anything but an independent and co-equal third service".[16] The selection of Williams and Goble was a compromise between the competing interests of the Army and Navy for control of Australia's air arm: Williams, formerly of the AFC and Australia's senior airman, was the Army's choice, and Goble, the RNAS veteran, was the Navy's.[17][10] The Air Board and Air Council were made responsible for administering the AAC from 22 November.[18]

The Air Board's first official meeting, which took place on 22 December 1920, laid the groundwork for the new air service. Williams proposed among other things an organisation consisting of seven squadrons for air defence, army cooperation, and naval cooperation, as well as a flying training school, a stores depot, and an overarching headquarters. The Air Council approved these plans in principle the next day.[19] By 15 February 1921, the Air Board had chosen a date for the formation of the Australian Air Force (AAF): 31 March that year.[20] Williams carefully selected this date rather than 1 April, the birthday of the Royal Air Force (RAF), "to prevent nasty people referring to us as 'April Fools'".[21] In accordance with a proposal by Goble at the first board meeting, held over at the time but subsequently approved, upon its formation the Air Force adopted the RAF's rank structure.[22] The board's three officers, along with their staff of ten, were based at the newly raised Air Force Headquarters co-located with the Department of Defence at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.[23]

In July 1921, the Air Board selected Richmond, near Sydney, as the AAF's first air base in New South Wales, to augment its extant base at Point Cook in Victoria.[24] Soon after, Williams proposed—and the Air Board approved—an ensign similar to the RAF's but displaying the Southern Cross over the RAF roundel. After the Air Council requested the opinion of the British Air Ministry, the RAF's Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard, expressed a desire to see all Dominion air forces employ the RAF ensign. The Air Council concurred, and the RAAF did not adopt a uniquely Australian ensign that included the Southern Cross until 1948.[22][25] The "Royal" prefix was added to "Australian Air Force" in August 1921.[26] The same month, the Air Board approved the "A series" of aircraft numbering: "A" (for Australia), then a figure designating the model, and then the individual aircraft's three-digit identifier.[27] The following year Williams chose a unique shade of dark blue for the RAAF uniform, in contrast to the blue-grey of the RAF.[22]

As senior officer on the Air Board, from April 1921 Williams was known as First Air Member, the fledgling Air Force initially not being deemed suitable for a chief of staff appointment equivalent to the Army and Navy. Often referred to as the "Father of the RAAF", Williams became the first Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in October 1922.[28] At the same time, as a cost-cutting measure, the Air Board was reduced to three members: the CAS, the Chief of the Administrative Staff, and the Finance Member.[2][20] The position of CAS continued to be known alternatively as First Air Member, and that of the Chief of the Administrative Staff (Air Member for Personnel after 1927) as Second Air Member, for most of the decade.[29] Goble took over as CAS from Williams in December 1922, and for the next seventeen years the pair alternated in the position, an arrangement that "almost inevitably fostered an unproductive rivalry" according to Alan Stephens.[28] Under Air Force Regulations, the CAS role was intended to be "first among equals", decisions being arrived at collectively and members able to submit dissenting opinions to the Minister for Defence, but Williams dominated the board in the 1920s and '30s to such an extent that in 1939 Goble complained that his colleague appeared to consider the Air Force his personal command. Nor did the Air Council exercise any control over the board from 1925, when it ceased meeting.[30] The council was formally dissolved in 1929, making the Air Board equivalent to the Military and Naval Boards under the Minister for Defence.[2][30] The same year, a new position on the Air Board, Air Member for Supply (AMS), was created.[2] Also in 1929, the Air Board requested permission from the British Government to use the RAF motto Per ardua ad astra for the RAAF, and this was granted.[22]

In February 1939, Williams was dismissed from his position as CAS and posted to the UK following publication of the Ellington Report, which criticised air safety in the RAAF.[31][32] According to a statement by the Prime Minister, "the Air Board cannot be absolved from blame for these conditions and ... the main responsibility rests on the Chief of the Air Staff".[33] In what became a public slanging match with the government, the Air Board questioned Ellington's use of statistics to compare the safety record of the RAAF with the RAF's. Goble, who as Air Member for Personnel (AMP) since January 1938 might have been considered responsible for safety standards, maintained that Williams had personally overseen the service's air training since 1934.[32] On Williams' departure, Goble was appointed acting CAS.[31]

World War II[edit]

On the eve of World War II, the RAAF comprised twelve flying squadrons, two aircraft depots and a flying school, situated at five air bases in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia, all directly administered and controlled through Air Force Headquarters in Melbourne.[34][35] The Air Board consisted of the CAS, AMP, AMS, and Finance Member. Each of these members was responsible for their own branches within the RAAF, and each branch consisted of several directorates.[35][36] Staff of the board members' branches at Air Force Headquarters numbered thirty-eight.[36]

In November 1939, following the outbreak of war, the Australian government reorganised the Department of Defence into four ministries: the Department of Defence Coordination, headed by Prime Minister Robert Menzies, and the Departments of Air, Army and Navy, each with their own minister; the Air Board became responsible to the Minister for Air.[37] The board's Finance Member, M.C. Langslow, was appointed Secretary of the Department of Air.[35] In anticipation of a significant increase in manpower and units, the Air Board decided to decentralise command and control of the RAAF.[34][38] Goble proposed in January 1940 to organise the Air Force along functional lines with Home Defence, Training, and Maintenance Commands, as well as an Overseas Command. The Air Board supported the plan but the Federal government chose not to implement it.[39][40]

Goble was replaced in February 1940 by Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Burnett, RAF, who focussed on rapidly expanding the RAAF to meet the needs of the Empire Air Training Scheme and believed that Australia's huge land mass would make a functional command system unwieldy. He proceeded to reorganise the Air Force into a geographically based "area" system.[41] The air officer commanding (AOC) of each area was delegated operational and administrative authority within their spheres of responsibility, while the members of the Air Board determined high-level policy.[42] At the same time, the Air Board was reorganised to comprise the CAS, AMP, Air Member for Organisation and Equipment (AMOE), Director-General of Supply and Production (DGSP), and Finance Member (FM); a Business Member (BM) was added in December. DGSP, FM and BM were civilian positions.[43] Williams, promoted to acting air marshal, was recalled from Britain to take up the position of AMOE.[44] According to Williams, Burnett acted "as though he were a Commander in Chief", ignoring the Air Board's role in controlling the RAAF.[45] In early 1942, Burnett recommended the board's abolition but the Federal government rejected the idea.[46]

Eight men seated at a table, three in military uniforms and the others in business suits
The Air Board meeting c. 1941. From left: C.V. Kellway, Finance Member; R. Lawson, Director General of Supply and Production; Air Vice-Marshal H.N. Wrigley, Air Member for Personnel; Air Chief-Marshal Sir Charles Burnett, Chief of the Air Staff; F.J. Mulrooney, Secretary to the Air Board; Air Marshal R. Williams, Air Member for Organisation and Equipment; W.S. Jones, Business Member; and M.C. Langslow, Secretary of the Department of Air.

RAAF forces in the Middle East and Europe were fully integrated into the RAF chain of command.[47] The Air Board established RAAF Overseas Headquarters, London, in December 1941, to look after the interests of aircrew stationed in these theatres, but the headquarters had little influence on the deployment of Australian personnel, who were subject to RAF policy and strategy even when they belonged to ostensibly RAAF squadrons.[48][49] According to the official history of Australia in the war, air officers commanding the headquarters could only attempt to "retard the centrifugal forces affecting Australian disposition, and repair the worst administrative difficulties arising from wide dispersion".[50] In contrast to the Canadians, who attempted to gain a place on Britain's Air Council and established No. 6 Group RCAF as part of RAF Bomber Command, the Australian government did not press for control of its own assets in the air war against Germany.[49]

Allied Air Forces Headquarters was formed in April 1942 and assumed the operational responsibilities of the CAS in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). The Air Board was again reorganised: the offices of AMOE and DGSP were dissolved and replaced by those of the Air Member for Supply and Equipment (AMSE) and Air Member for Engineering and Maintenance (AMEM) to focus on the two key logistical functions of supply and engineering, respectively.[51][52] In June, Air Commodore George Mackinolty became the inaugural AMSE and Air Commodore Ellis Wackett the inaugural AMEM. Author Norman Ashworth observed that splitting the logistical functions of the Air Board in this manner appeared to be a "uniquely Australian" experiment, and it was not inconceivable that the organisation had been "tailored" to suit the talents of the highly regarded Mackinolty and Wackett.[53]

In September 1942 the Allied Air Forces commander, Major General George Kenney, formed the majority of his US flying units into Fifth Air Force, and most of their Australian counterparts into RAAF Command, led by Air Vice-Marshal Bill Bostock.[54][55] This effectively made Bostock the RAAF's operational commander, but overarching administrative authority was still in the hands of the Air Board and the CAS, Air Vice-Marshal George Jones, who had taken over from Burnett in May 1942. The division of operational and administrative command was the source of acute personal tension between Jones, who though de jure head of the RAAF had no say in its operational tasking, and Bostock, who was responsible for directing the RAAF's operations yet was wholly dependent on Jones and the Air Board for the supplies and equipment necessary to fight the war.[56][57] The in-fighting adversely affected command and morale in the RAAF, and hurt the service's reputation with its American allies.[58] In early 1943, the government considered dissolving the Air Board and unifying control of the RAAF under a single commander senior to both Jones and Bostock, a move supported by the Commander-in-Chief Australian Military Forces, General Blamey, who noted that a similar arrangement was already in place for the Army, but this never eventuated.[59]

The Air Board reviewed the findings of the inquiry by Justice John Vincent Barry into the "Morotai Mutiny" of April 1945, when senior pilots of the Australian First Tactical Air Force (No. 1 TAF) attempted to resign their commissions to protest the relegation of RAAF fighter squadrons to strategically unimportant ground attack missions in the South West Pacific. Air Commodore Joe Hewitt, the AMP, recommended that the AOC No. 1 TAF, Air Commodore Harry Cobby, be removed from command, along with his two senior staff officers. The majority of the board saw no reason to take such action, leaving Hewitt to append a dissenting note to its decision. The Minister for Air, Arthur Drakeford, supported Hewitt's position, and the three senior No. 1 TAF officers were later dismissed from their posts.[60]

During the war, the Air Board had overseen the RAAF's expansion from a complement in 1939 of 246 obsolescent machines such as CAC Wirraways, Avro Ansons and Lockheed Hudsons, to a strength in 1945 of 5,620 sophisticated aircraft including Supermarine Spitfires, P-51 Mustangs, de Havilland Mosquitoes and B-24 Liberators; to support this force, the Air Force had provided all-through training for 18,000 technical staff, and further education for 35,000 more schooled initially outside the service.[61]

Post-war years[edit]

Following the end of the Pacific War in August 1945, SWPA was dissolved and the Air Board regained full control of all its operational formations.[62] The board was once more the final authority for RAAF matters, exercising control through Air Force Headquarters.[63]

The Air Board's major task in the immediate post-war period was reducing what was by some accounts the world's fourth-largest air force, numbering approximately 173,000 personnel, into a peacetime organisation one-tenth the size. Much of the responsibility devolved to Hewitt as AMP.[64] Hewitt considered that the RAAF was in danger of losing some of its best staff through rapid, unplanned demobilisation, and recommended that its workforce be stabilised for two years at a strength of 20,000 while it reviewed its post-war requirements. Although the Air Board supported Hewitt's proposal, government cost-cutting resulted in the strength of the so-called Interim Air Force remaining lower than planned, being reduced to some 13,000 by October 1946 and under 8,000 by the end of 1948.[65] Many senior officers were summarily dismissed despite being well below the mandatory retirement age, including Williams, Goble and Bostock; Alan Stephens considered that they were susceptible to such treatment in part because they were not on the Air Board.[66]

Hewitt also recommended disbandment of the wartime Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF); this was endorsed by the Air Board and by March 1947 all WAAAF members had been discharged. Subsequent shortages of male personnel forced Jones and the board to reconsider this decision and recommend the establishment of a new women's service, leading to the formation of the Women's Royal Australian Air Force in November 1950. In contrast to the situation regarding the WAAAF, whose members were paid two-thirds of the RAAF rates of pay for the same jobs, the board recommended that recruits to the new women's service receive the same rates of pay as their male counterparts. The Federal government did not concur, and WRAAF members could not expect to earn more than two-thirds the pay of males.[67]

Two men in military uniforms with peaked caps on opposite sides of a military aircraft cockpit with open canopy
Air Vice-Marshal E.C. Wackett (right), the longest-serving member of the Air Board, during a visit to South Korea in April 1953

Wackett sought to establish technical services as a distinct department within the RAAF, rather than forming part of the Supply Branch as in previous years. In March 1946 he gained the Air Board's approval for a Technical Branch, which was formed under his leadership in September 1948. This led to a separate "list" of engineering personnel, as opposed to the earlier Technical List subgroup under the General Duties Branch. Wackett was disappointed by the limits imposed by the Air Board on career advancement for his personnel: the General Duties Branch in the late 1940s was permitted to maintain thirty-seven officer positions of group captain and above, but the Technical Branch was only allowed fourteen such slots, even though both departments had an almost identical overall strength of just under 400 staff; the anomaly led Wackett to submit a dissenting report on the subject to the Air Board. In October 1949, Wackett's title was changed from Air Member for Equipment and Maintenance to Air Member for Technical Services (AMTS).[68]

As AMSE in the immediate post-war period, Mackinolty was solely responsible for disposing of surplus equipment up to an original value of £500, and jointly responsible with the Business and Finance Members for disposing of equipment valued between £500 and £10,000. Equipment worth more than £10,000 required the approval of the full Air Board and the Board of Business Administration in the Department of Defence.[69] The position of Business Member was dropped from the Air Board in January 1948.[2][70] In 1954, the position of Finance Member was supplanted by the Secretary of the Department of Air.[2][6] From September 1950 to January 1961, the board was augmented by a Citizen Air Force Member.[71][72][73]

When No. 78 (Fighter) Wing deployed to Malta to help garrison the Middle East during 1952–1954, it was under the operational control of the RAF rather than the Air Board, although the British Air Council undertook to inform the board of any plans for combat missions except in emergencies.[74] RAAF combat forces deployed in the Malayan Emergency and the Korean War were directed by RAF and United Nations Air Command headquarters, respectively.[75] The Air Board retained full operational control of No. 79 Squadron when it deployed to Ubon, Thailand, under SEATO arrangements in 1962. After United States Air Force (USAF) strike aircraft took up residence at Ubon in 1965 as part of operations in Vietnam, the RAAF fighters became responsible for protection of the American assets, in effect subjecting them to USAF tasking, despite the Air Board's ostensible authority.[76] RAAF Caribou transports based in Vietnam were tasked for pre-agreed roles by the USAF; the Australian commander was to seek permission from the Air Board for any mission outside his normal purview.[77] The RAAF's Canberra bombers operated under the direction of the USAF as part of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing.[78] RAAF UH-1 Iroquois helicopters were controlled by the 1st Australian Task Force. Air Board directives, "framed for peacetime flying" according to David Horner, initially precluded the Iroquois from operating in hostile conditions; the RAAF provided helicopter support for Australian troops during the Battle of Long Tan in August 1966 in spite of these directives.[79][80]

The RAAF underwent major organisational change under Jones' replacement as CAS, Air Marshal Sir Donald Hardman, between October 1953 and February 1954, when it transitioned from the wartime area command structure to a functional control system. This resulted in the establishment of Home (operational), Training, and Maintenance Commands. Some on the Air Board were unsure of the efficacy of a functional command system given the breadth of the country and the relatively small size of the RAAF, but Hardman had the support of the Minister for Air, William McMahon, and the board eventually ratified the structural changes.[81] Hardman had also observed that the terms "Air Board" and "Air Force Headquarters" (whose staff by this time numbered over 1,300) were used synonymously to describe the RAAF's highest authority.[81][82] Finding the roles of the board, the headquarters and the department to be blurred, he directed that Air Force Headquarters be absorbed by the Department of Air, through which the Air Board would now control its assets.[81] The Air Board and its support staff relocated from Melbourne to Russell Offices in Canberra between 1959 and 1961.[3][81] In 1971 the board presided over celebrations for the RAAF's fiftieth anniversary, which included several air displays, a commemorative book, and the commissioning of an Air Force Memorial in Canberra. The board also decided to do away with the RAAF's dark-blue winter and khaki summer uniforms in favour of an all-purpose blue-grey suit.[83] This proved unpopular and Williams' original winter uniform design was reintroduced in 2000.[84]

The Department of Air, along with the Departments of the Army and the Navy, merged with the Department of Defence in November 1973, part of a rationalisation plan formulated by the Secretary of Defence, Sir Arthur Tange.[85] The position of Secretary on the Air Board, the Secretary of Air, became known as the Special Deputy of the Permanent Head, Defence (Air Office).[3][7] As a further consequence of Tange's plan, the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs were given individual responsibility for command of their respective services, under the direction of the newly inaugurated Chief of the Defence Force Staff, in 1976. This made the service boards redundant. The Air Board held its final meeting on 30 January 1976, and was dissolved on 9 February, along with the Military and Naval Boards.[2][86] The incumbent CAS, Air Marshal James Rowland, became the first officer to personally command the RAAF in a legal sense. A new Chief of the Air Staff Advisory Committee (CASAC) was set up to develop policy and oversee administration, but there was no requirement for the CAS to accept its advice.[86][87] Chaired by the CAS, CASAC comprised the Deputy CAS, the Chief of Air Force Plans, the Chief of Air Force Manpower, the Chief of Technical Services, and the Director-General of Supply.[88] According to Alan Stephens, Rowland considered that the "collective wisdom" engendered by the Air Board had been generally beneficial to the RAAF, and believed the new arrangements led to "'paralysis and arrogation of decision making', and empire building in the Public Service component".[89][90] Conversely Rowland's successor as CAS, Air Marshal Sir Neville McNamara, endorsed the demise of the Air Board, finding that it had, in Stephens' words, "tended to perpetuate Branch enmities and divisions within the Air Force".[90]


Position From Member
Director of Intelligence & Organisation
Position superseded by CAS in 1922
1920 Lieutenant Colonel (later Wing Commander) R. Williams[29]
Director of Personnel & Training[29]
Position superseded by Chief of the Administrative Staff in 1922
1920 Wing Commander S.J. Goble
1921 Squadron Leader W.H. Anderson
Director of Equipment
Position abolished in 1922
1920 Captain (later Squadron Leader) P.A. McBain[29]
Finance Member
Position superseded by Secretary of the Department of Air in 1954
1920 A.C. Joyce[29]
1932 T.J. Thomas[29]
1936 M.C. Langslow[29]
1940 C.V. Kellway[91]
1941 H.C. Elvins[92]
1946 W.L. Brown[93][94]
1951 J.N. Andrews (acting)[94]
1952 E.W. Hicks[95]
Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) 1922 Wing Commander R. Williams[29]
1922 Wing Commander S.J. Goble[29]
1925 Wing Commander (later Air Commodore) R. Williams[29]
1932 Air Commodore S.J. Goble[29]
1934 Air Commodore (later Air Vice-Marshal) R. Williams (also AMP 1935)[29]
1939 Air Vice-Marshal S.J. Goble[29]
1940 Air Commodore W.H. Anderson (acting)[29]
1940 Air Chief Marshal Sir C.S. Burnett, RAF[29]
1942 Air Vice-Marshal (later Air Marshal) G. Jones (also AMOE 1942)[91][96]
1952 Air Marshal Sir J.D.I. Hardman, RAF[96]
1954 Air Marshal Sir J.P.J. McCauley[96]
1957 Air Marshal Sir F.R.W. Scherger[96]
1961 Air Marshal Sir V.E. Hancock[96]
1965 Air Marshal Sir A.M. Murdoch[96]
1970 Air Marshal Sir C.T. Hannah[96]
1972 Air Marshal C.F. Read[97]
1975 Air Marshal J.A. Rowland[97]
Chief of the Administrative Staff[29]
1925 Wing Commander S.J. Goble
1925 Wing Commander W.H. Anderson
1926 Wing Commander A.T. Cole
1926 Wing Commander R.S. Brown
Air Member for Personnel (AMP) 1927 Wing Commander (later Group Captain) S.J. Goble[29]
1933 Group Captain W.H. Anderson[29]
1934 Air Commodore S.J. Goble[29]
1935 Air Commodore H.R. Nicholl, RAF[29]
1938 Air Commodore S.J. Goble[29]
1939 Air Commodore J.C. Russell, RAF[91]
1940 Air Commodore W.H. Anderson[91]
1940 Air Vice-Marshal H.N. Wrigley[91]
1942 Air Commodore F.W.F. Lukis[91]
1943 Air Vice-Marshal W.H. Anderson[91]
1944 Air Vice-Marshal A.T. Cole[91]
1945 Air Commodore F.R.W. Scherger[91]
1945 Air Commodore (later Air Vice-Marshal) J.E. Hewitt[91][96]
1948 Air Vice-Marshal F.M. Bladin[96]
1953 Air Vice-Marshal V.E. Hancock[96]
1955 Air Vice-Marshal W.L. Hely[96]
1955 Air Vice-Marshal F.R.W. Scherger[96]
1957 Air Commodore F. Headlam[96]
1957 Air Vice-Marshal A.L. Walters[96]
1959 Air Commodore F. Headlam[96]
1960 Air Vice-Marshal W.L. Hely[96]
1966 Air Vice-Marshal C.D. Candy[96]
1969 Air Vice-Marshal B.A. Eaton[96]
1973 Air Vice-Marshal K.S. Hennock[96]
1975 Air Vice-Marshal J.C. Jordan[98]
Air Member for Supply[29]
Position abolished in 1940
1929 Wing Commander (later Group Captain) W.H. Anderson
1933 Wing Commander (later Group Captain) A.T. Cole
1936 Group Captain (later Air Commodore) W.H. Anderson
Air Member for Organisation & Equipment (AMOE)[91]
Position abolished in 1942
1940 Air Marshal R. Williams
1941 Air Vice-Marshal W.H. Anderson
Director-General of Supply & Production
Position abolished in 1942
1940 R. Lawson[91]
Business Member[91]
Position abolished in 1948
1940 W.S. Jones
1944 R.H. Nesbitt
Air Member for Supply & Equipment 1942 Air Commodore (later Air Vice-Marshal) G.J.W. Mackinolty[91][96]
1951 Air Vice-Marshal J.E. Hewitt[96]
1956 Air Vice-Marshal H.G. Acton[96]
1960 Air Vice-Marshal D.A.J. Creal[96]
1964 Air Vice-Marshal I.D. McLachlan[96]
1968 Air Vice-Marshal C.G. Cleary[96]
1973 Air Vice-Marshal L.J.K. Holten[98]
1975 Air Vice-Marshal S.R. White[99]
Air Member for Engineering & Maintenance 1942 Air Commodore E.C. Wackett[91]
Air Member for Technical Services 1949 Air Vice-Marshal E.C. Wackett[96]
1960 Air Vice-Marshal E. Hey[96]
1972 Air Vice-Marshal J.A. Rowland[96]
1975 Air Vice-Marshal L.S. Compton[100]
Citizen Air Force Member
Position abolished in 1961
1950 Group Captain J.L. Waddy[71]
1954 Group Captain R.M. Rechner[72]
Secretary, Department of Air 1951 E.W. Hicks[95][96]
1956 A.B. McFarlane[96]
1968 F.J. Green[96]
Special Deputy of Permanent Head, Defence (Air Office) 1973 F.J. Green[7]


  1. ^ Coulthard-Clark, The Third Brother, p. 11
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dennis et al., The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, p. 11
  3. ^ a b c "Air Board". National Archives of Australia. CA 90. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  4. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, pp. 76, 463
  5. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, pp. 80–81
  6. ^ a b c d Stephens, Going Solo, p. 76
  7. ^ a b c "33,000 PS jobs reshuffled". The Canberra Times. 1 December 1973. p. 1. Retrieved 20 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b Stephens, Power Plus Attitude, p. 114
  9. ^ Stephens, Going Solo, pp. 118, 120, 142
  10. ^ a b Sutherland, Command and Leadership, pp. 32–34
  11. ^ Coulthard-Clark, The Third Brother, pp. 17–21
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