John Allison (RAF officer)

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Sir John Allison
Born (1943-03-24) 24 March 1943 (age 74)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1961–99
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Strike Command (1997–99)
Logistics Command (1996–97)
No. 11 Group (1991–94)
RAF Wildenrath
Battles/wars Gulf War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Relations James Allison (son)
Other work Jaguar Racing (Director of Strategy and Operations Director)

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Shakespeare Allison, KCB, CBE (born 24 March 1943) is a retired senior Royal Air Force commander. He is currently the Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State.

RAF career[edit]

Educated at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford,[1] Allison entered the Royal Air Force College Cranwell as a flight cadet in 1961.[2] On graduation, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in July 1964.[3] He went on to be Station Commander at RAF Wildenrath and Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee at the Ministry of Defence.[1]

He returned to the Ministry of Defence as Director of Air Force Plans and Programmes in 1987 and then became Assistant Chief of Defence Staff, Operational Requirements (Air) in 1989.[1] Allison was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 11 Group in 1991.[1] He went to become Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RAF Strike Command in 1994[1] and then Commander-in-Chief of RAF Logistics Command in 1996.[4] He served as Air Officer Commanding RAF Strike Command from 25 July 1997 to 28 March 1999 when he retired from the Royal Air Force.[4]

Allison was piloting the last airworthy Second World War German Messerschmitt Bf 109 when it crashed at an air show in Duxford in October 1997. The Messerschmitt, known as difficult to land because of its narrow undercarriage and poor visibility, had overshot the runway. The proximity of the M11 motorway was almost a serious factor as the machine came to rest upside down in a field nearby.[5]

Later career[edit]

He is still a keen pilot, flying his own light aircraft as well as the Shuttleworth Collection of vintage and historic aircraft at Old Warden (UK). He flies the Spitfire and other similar aircraft at air displays. He is a keen restorer of vintage cars and old airplanes, and is president of the Light Aircraft Association.[6]

He was Director of Strategy, and subsequently, Operations Director at Jaguar Racing from May 2001 to October 2004.[7] He left as a result of restructuring following the sale of the company to Red Bull Racing and went to Rolls-Royce plc as Project Director for the redevelopment of the Bristol Site in February 2005.[7] Sir John was elected President of Europe Air Sports in April 2004 and took up the position in November 2004, following the retirement of Oliver Burghelle (France).[8] On 1 December 2005, he was appointed Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State.[9]

One of his sons is a glider pilot, while another, James, is a Technical Director of a Formula One team.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sir John Allison Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Royal Grammar School, Guildford
  2. ^ "Sir John Allison - President". Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "No. 43429". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 September 1964. p. 7601. 
  4. ^ a b Air of Authority: History of RAF Organisation – RAF Home Commands formed between 1958 – 2002 Archived 5 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "History of airfield crashes". BBC News. 12 July 2003. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Light Aircraft Association (n.d.). "Who's Who At the LAA". Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Sir John Allison Archived 20 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. School of Coaching
  8. ^ General Organization of Europe Air Sports
  9. ^ Appendix to Court Circular, 5 December 2005
  10. ^ "James Allison". Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Wratten
Air Officer Commanding No. 11 Group
Succeeded by
Anthony Bagnall
Preceded by
Sir Richard Johns
Deputy Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
Succeeded by
Graeme Robertson
Preceded by
Sir Michael Alcock
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Logistics Command
Succeeded by
Sir Colin Terry
Preceded by
Sir William Wratten
Air Officer Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Squire
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir William Wratten
Air Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Squire
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Layard
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State