Charles Medhurst

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Sir Charles Medhurst
Smuts with Air Council WWII IWM CH 7798.jpg
Air Vice Marshal Medhurst, standing far right, as Vice Chief of the Air Staff, with the Air Council, World War II
Born (1896-12-12)12 December 1896
Kings Norton, England
Died 18 October 1954(1954-10-18) (aged 57)
New Forest, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army (1915–18)
Royal Air Force (1918–50)
Years of service 1915–50
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Mediterranean and Middle East Command (1945–48)
Middle East Command (1945)
RAF Staff College (1943–45)
Vice-Chief of the Air Staff (1942–43)
No. 4 Squadron (1930–31)
No. 111 Squadron (1919–20)
No. 14 Squadron (1917–19)
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire[1]
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)[2]
Order of the White Lion, Second Class (Czechoslovakia)[3]
Grand Commander of the Order of George I (Greece)[3]
Commander of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)[4]

Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Edward Hastings Medhurst, KCB, OBE, MC (12 December 1896 – 18 October 1954) was a First World War Royal Flying Corps pilot on the Western Front and later a senior officer in the Royal Air Force.

RAF career[edit]

Medhurst was awarded Royal Aero Club pilot certificate No. 1437 on 13 July 1913.[5] He was commissioned into The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 16 June 1915 and in a few months was training to be a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps.[5] He was soon operational on the Western Front flying the Nieuport Scout with No. 13 Squadron.[5] In 1917 he became the officer commanding No. 14 Squadron operating in Palestine.[5] On 1 August 1919 he was awarded a permanent commission as a Captain in the Royal Air Force and by 1925 had attended the RAF Staff College.[5] He became Officer Commanding No. 4 Squadron in 1930 and he joined the Directing Staff at the RAF Staff College in 1931 before becoming Deputy Director of Intelligence at the Air Ministry in 1935.[5] He then went to Rome as Air Attaché in 1937.[5]

Medhurst held a number of staff appointments during the Second World War including RAF Secretary of the Supreme War Council from 1940, Director of Allied Air Co-Operation and then Director of Plans all during 1940.[5] He became Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) in 1941 and after a spell as Temporary Vice-Chief of the Air Staff later in 1942 he became Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy) in February 1943.[5] In March 1943 he was appointed commandant of the RAF Staff College later moving on in February 1945 to be Air Officer in Command of RAF Middle East Command.[5]

After the war he was made Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, RAF Mediterranean and Middle East Command (which had absorbed his previous command when it was disbanded in August 1945).[5] His last appointment was as Chairman of the British Joint Services Mission to Washington, D.C. in the rank of air chief marshal.[5] Medhurst retired on 19 April 1950 and he died a few years later aged 58 on 18 October 1954.[5]

Family[edit]

He married Christabell Guy in 1919 in York.[5] His son Pilot Officer R. E. H. "Dickie" Medhurst was killed on 19 September 1944 when the Douglas Dakota Mk. III he was co-piloting exploded after taking Anti-Aircraft Artillery fire during an air drop mission during Operation Market Garden. His daughter Rozanne was an Italian speaker and code breaker at Bletchley Park, the Government Code and Cipher School.

References[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
New post
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence)
1941–1942
Succeeded by
Frank Inglis
Preceded by
Sir Wilfrid Freeman
Vice-Chief of the Air Staff (acting)
1942–1943
Succeeded by
Sir Douglas Evill
Preceded by
Sir Keith Park
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Middle East Command
February – August 1945
Succeeded by
Disbanded
Preceded by
Sir Guy Garrod
Commander-in-Chief RAF Mediterranean and Middle East
1945–1948
Succeeded by
Sir William Dickson
Preceded by
Lord Wilson
Chief of the British Joint Staff Mission to Washington
1948–1950
Succeeded by
Lord Tedder