Alfred Warrington-Morris

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Alfred Drummond Warrington-Morris
Nickname(s) Known as Drummond in the family and as WM in the RAF.
Born 18 December 1883
Died 24 March 1962 (aged 78)
Chelsea, London, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Years of service 1899–1934
Rank Air Commodore
Unit  Royal Navy
 Royal Air Force
Commands held Commandant, RAF Electrical and Wireless School 1921–1925
Commandant RAF Signals Branch 1928 -1934
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Air Force Cross
Other work Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps March 1936 – June 1942
Deputy Director Air Training Corps Dec 1942 - Nov 1944.

Air Commodore Alfred Drummond Warrington-Morris CB CMG OBE AFC RAF (18 December 1883 – 24 March 1962) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the first half of the 20th century.

Following his regular military service he became the second Commandant of the Observer Corps and commanded the Corps through its adoption by the Royal Air Force Fighter Command, the crucial operations during the Battle of Britain and the change to the Royal Observer Corps.


Royal Navy[edit]

Warrington-Morris joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 in 1899 as a Midshipman. He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on 18 December 1902 then to Lieutenant two years later in December 1904 and in 1912 he was recorded as being a Lieutenant Commander studying at the Royal Navy Torpedo School HMS Vernon.[1]

Following his training Warrington-Morris was posted as Torpedo Officer to HMS Swiftsure, the RN Flagship East Indies Station with the rank of Acting Commander. In 1916 he transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service and was promoted Commander on 30 June 1917 as a Senior Wireless Officer.[1]

Royal Flying Corps[edit]

In 1918 he was posted to the Royal Flying Corps as Staff Officer i/c 1st Class Equipment – Wireless Telegraphy and promoted to Acting Lieutenant Colonel just before the Royal Flying Corps was amalgamated with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the new Royal Air Force in April of that year. His commission as a Lieutenant Colonel was made permanent and gazetted on 22 August 1919 when he was appointed Deputy Director of Flying Instrumentation.[1]

Royal Air Force[edit]

When RAF rank structure was reorganised in late 1919 Warrington-Morris became a Wing Commander and his name was removed from the Royal Navy list. He was appointed Commandant, RAF Electrical and Wireless School on 1 August 1921 and was promoted to Group Captain in January 1922.[1]

On the 1 January 1925 Warrington-Morris was promoted to Air Commodore and appointed Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at RAF HQ Iraq Command. In March 1927 he became the RAF’s representative the Ordnance Committee at Woolwich but by September 1928 he was declared as a supernumerary Air Commodore at the RAF Central Depot. Between 1928 and 1934 he was Commandant RAF Signals Branch until retirement as a regular officer.[1]

Royal Observer Corps[edit]

In 1934 on leaving the Royal Air Force he was employed as the Deputy Commandant of the Observer Corps under Air Commodore Edward Masterman CB CBE AFC RAF (Rtd) at RAF Uxbridge. Between 1935 and 1936 he was appointed Commandant of Southern Area of the Observer Corps during the massive and crucial expansion and development of the Corps during the inter war years.

When Air Commodore Masterman stood down as Commandant ROC in April 1936 Warrington-Morris replaced him and took control of the Observer Corps during the important period immediately prior to the Second World War.[2] He oversaw the move of HQ Observer Corps to RAF Bentley Priory and the Corps’ adoption by RAF Fighter Command. He also controlled the Corps during the memorable events of the Battle of Britain and was still at the helm when the Observer Corps was granted the title Royal to become the Royal Observer Corps and became a uniformed branch of the RAF. He was Mentioned in Despatches in July 1940.

Later Appointments[edit]

On leaving the Royal Observer Corps at the age of 59 in June 1942 Warrington-Morris was recommissioned as an Air Commodore in Class CC and served in the Admin and Special Duties Branch RAF RAFO. From 26 Dec 1942 until 8 Nov 1944 he was Deputy Director of the Air Training Corps by then holding a reserve nominal rank of Wing Commander.

Sporting Achievements[edit]

Warrington-Morris played international rugby union for England in 1909 at the age of 17 and later represented the RAF playing hockey in 1919. He was still playing rugby for RAF Flowerdown, of which he was at the time Station Commander, in 1922 at the age of 39.[3]

He was a founder member of the RAF Rugby Union, which was formed at a meeting on 15 January 1920. He became the sole selector and Honorary Treasurer and was to hold the financial appointment, or others on the Committee, until his death 42 years later, making him the longest-serving member of the Union.[4]

He was the Treasurer from the 1919-20 year until 1924-25, then again from 1933-34 until 1956-57 and finally from 1958-59 until 1961-62. He was also the Chairman from 1923-24 to 24-25, then from 1927-28 until 1932-33. During this time he rose in rank from Wing Commander to Air Commodore; "an extremely faithful servant of the RAFRU by anyone's standards".[5]

On the day of his death, against doctors' orders, he went to Twickenham and watched the RAF achieve a 19-14 victory over the Army in an outstanding game of rugby. He collapsed and died on the way home from the match.[6]

To mark his outstanding service, the RAFRU Committee named a new Inter-Station Shield competition trophy in his honour (The Warrington Morris Shield), and it is still played for to this day.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Air Commodore A D Warrington-Morris". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Units directly responsible to Ministry level". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "RAF Rugby Union - History". RAF Rugby Union. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "RAF Rugby Union - News". RAF Rugby Union. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Mace, John Russell (2000). The History of Royal Air Force Rugby, 1919-1999. Royal Air Force Rugby Union. ISBN 0-9538-4360-2. 
  6. ^ a b "08/09 5th Newsletter - View - Royal Air Force". RAF Rugby Union. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
E A D Masterman
Commandant Observer Corps
Royal Observer Corps from 1941

1936 – 1942
Succeeded by
G H Ambler