Arthur McDonald

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For the Canadian physicist, see Arthur B. McDonald. For the Australian general, see Arthur MacDonald.
Sir Arthur McDonald
Born 14 June 1903
South Africa or Antigua
Died 26 July 1996(1996-07-26) (aged 93)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1924–1962
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held No. 79 Squadron
No. 32 Squadron
No. 106 Group
RAF Staff College, Andover
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment
Royal Pakistan Air Force
Technical Training Command
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Air Force Cross

Air Marshal Sir Arthur William Baynes McDonald, KCB, AFC, FRAeS (14 June 1903 – 26 July 1996) was a senior Royal Air Force officer. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Air Force between 1955 and 1957.

Early life[edit]

McDonald was born on 14 June 1903 in either South Africa[1] or Antigua.[2] His father was a British Army doctor who had served in the Second Boer War.[3] He grew up on the Caribbean islands of Saint Kitts and Antigua, then members of the British West Indies.[1] He was educated at Antigua Grammar School, before joining Epsom College, a public school in Surrey, England.[4]

Military career[edit]

On 15 March 1924, McDonald was commissioned into the General Duties Branch of the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer on probation.[5] His commission and rank were confirmed on 15 September 1924.[6] He was promoted to flying officer on 15 October 1925.[7] On 1 September 1928, he was granted a permanent commission.[8] He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 13 October 1929.[9]

He was appointed Officer Commanding No. 79 Squadron and then Officer Commanding No. 32 Squadron in 1937.[4] He served in World War II as Assistant Director of Repair and Servicing at the Air Ministry and then on the staff at Headquarters Fighter Command before becoming Air Defence Commander in Ceylon in 1942, Air Officer Training at Headquarters Air Command of South East Asia Command in 1943 and Air Officer Commanding No. 106 Group in April 1945.[4]

After the War he was appointed Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Andover and then Commandant of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment before becoming Director-General of Manning in the rank of Air Vice Marshal at the Air Ministry in 1952.[4]

In June 1955 McDonald became the fourth and last commander-in-chief of the Royal Pakistan Air Force. At the time of his retirement the Royal Pakistan Air Force became the Pakistan Air Force, and McDonald was succeeded in the command of the renamed force by Air Marshal Asghar Khan.[10]

His last appointments were as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at Technical Training Command in 1958 and as Air Member for Personnel in 1959 before retiring in 1962.[4]

Later life[edit]

Following retirement, McDonald continued sailing.[1] He won his last race at the age of 92.[11] He died on 26 July 1996, aged 93.[2]

Personal life[edit]

A keen sailor, McDonald competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics.[2] He represented Great Britain in the Firefly event. He came ninth out of 21 competitors.[12] He later became Admiral of the RAF Sailing Association.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Foxley-Norris, Christopher (9 September 1996). "Obituary: Air Marshal Sir Arthur McDonald". The Independent. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "McDONALD, Air Marshal Sir Arthur (William Baynes)". Who Was Who. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sir Arthur McDonald, 93; Set Up Radar to Thwart Blitz". The New York Times. 2 August 1996. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e M B Barrass (17 June 2007). "Air Marshal Sir Arthur McDonald". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32921. pp. 2534–2535. 25 March 1924. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32984. p. 7594. 21 October 1924. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33114. p. 8282. 15 December 1925. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33422. p. 6097. 18 September 1928. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33551. p. 7308. 12 November 1929. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  10. ^ PAF s' Chief of the Air Staffs, PAF
  11. ^ "Arthur Mcdonald, Created Radar Grid To Defend Britain". Chicago Tribune. 4 August 1996. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Arthur McDonald". SR Olympic Sports. Sports Reference. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Leslie William Cannon
Commander-in-Chief, Royal Pakistan Air Force
Succeeded by
Asghar Khan
Preceded by
Sir George Beamish
Commander-in-Chief Technical Training Command
Succeeded by
Sir Wallace Kyle
Preceded by
Sir Hubert Patch
Air Member for Personnel
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Cheshire