Augustus Walker

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Sir George Augustus Walker
Nickname(s) Gus, One-armed bandit
Born (1912-08-24)24 August 1912
West Garforth, Leeds
Died 11 December 1986(1986-12-11) (aged 74)
King's Lynn, Norfolk
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1931–70
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Inspector-General of the RAF (1964–67)
Flying Training Command (1961–64)
No. 1 Group (1956–59)
RAF Coningsby (1951–52)
RAF Pocklington (1943)
RAF Syerston (1942–43)
No. 50 Squadron (1940–42)
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Force Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de guerre (France)

Air Chief Marshal Sir George Augustus "Gus" Walker, GCB, CBE, DSO, DFC, AFC (24 August 1912 – 11 December 1986) was a Second World War bomber pilot and jet aircraft pioneer, and a senior Royal Air Force officer in the post-war era.

Early life[edit]

Walker was born on 24 August 1912 in West Garforth, Leeds and studied at St. Bees School in Cumberland, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge.[1] He played rugby for Yorkshire & England twice in 1939.[1]

RAF career[edit]

He joined the Royal Air Force from university in 1934.[2] In November 1940 during the Second World War he was appointed Officer Commanding No. 50 Squadron in which role he earned the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross before moving on to become Station Commander at RAF Syerston in April 1942.[2] While working as Station Commander at RAF Syerston he rushed in a fire truck from the control tower to a taxiing Lancaster bomber when he saw it was on fire. He then tried to remove incendiary bombs from under the bomb bay in the hope that he could prevent a 4,000Ib bomb from exploding, but it detonated and he lost his right arm as a result.[3] Returning to active service with an artificial arm, he was referred to by personnel as the one-armed bandit.[4] In February 1945 he was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters No. 4 Group and went on to receive the Croix de Guerre and Légion d'honneur.[1]

After the War he was appointed Deputy Director of Operational Training at the Air Ministry before taking up the role of Senior Air Staff Officer for the Rhodesian Air Training Group in 1948.[2] In 1951 he became Officer Commanding RAF Coningsby and in 1954 he was made Commandant of the RAF Flying College at Manby where he developed flying techniques for jet aircraft: he received the Air Force Cross in 1956 for his work in this and the techniques for flights over the North Pole.[4]

He became Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group in October 1956, Chief Information Officer at the Air Ministry in 1959 and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at Flying Training Command in 1961.[2] He held the post of Inspector-General of the RAF from 1964 to 1966 when he became Deputy Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe.[2] He continued his interest in rugby, acting as a referee and being President of the Rugby Union in 1965-6.[1] He retired in 1970.[2]

Following his retirement he carried out various voluntary activities, notably for the Royal Air Forces Association, including the role of President.[4]


On 5 September 1942 he married Dorothy Brenda Wilcox (who survived him) and they had a son and daughter.[1] He died 11 December 1986 in King's Lynn, Norfolk.[1] He had one brother called John James Rolph Walker, born in 1909.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed 27 May 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e f Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Chief Marshal Sir Augustus Walker
  3. ^ Falconer, Jonathon (1998). The Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-1819-5. 
  4. ^ a b c Proc. RAF Historical Society Archived 6 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine. August 1987 pages 68–74
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Constantine
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Flying Training Command
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Dunn
Preceded by
Sir Paterson Fraser
Inspector-General of the RAF
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Emson
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Hudleston
As Commander Allied Air Forces Central Europe
Deputy C-in-C Allied Forces Central Europe
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Rosier