Robert Marsland Groves

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Robert Marsland Groves
Brigadier-General R M Groves.jpg
Groves as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
Born (1880-01-03)3 January 1880
Stretford, Lancashire, England
Died 27 May 1920(1920-05-27) (aged 40)
Heliopolis, Egypt[1]
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy (1899–1918)
Royal Air Force (1918–20)
Years of service 1899–1920
Rank Air Commodore
Commands held Egyptian Group (1920)
No. 1 Squadron RNAS (1916)
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Air Force Cross
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)[2]

Air Commodore Robert Marsland Groves, CB, DSO, AFC (3 January 1880 – 27 May 1920) was a Royal Navy officer involved with naval aviation during the First World War. He was awarded his Aviator's Certificate no. 969 on 15 November 1914. After transferring to the Royal Air Force in 1918, he served as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and held high command in the Middle East. He was killed in a flying accident in 1920 aged 40 whilst serving in Egypt.

Early life[edit]

Robert Marsland Groves was born on 3 January 1880 at Stretford in Lancashire, England, the son of James Grimble Groves, a brewer and Conservative MP.[3] Robert Groves was educated at Rossall School.

Naval service[edit]

He joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in the 1890s, rising to sub-lieutenant by the summer of 1899 and then Lieutenant 15 February 1900.[4] In the early years of the 20th century Groves was an officer on HMS Vernon.[5]

Groves was promoted to commander on 22 June 1911 and the following year on 26 November 1912, he was appointed Flag Commander to the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean on HMS Inflexible.[5] He served in the First World War as Assistant Director of the Air Department at the Admiralty and then as Officer Commanding No. 1 Squadron RNAS before returning to the Admiralty to be Assistant Secretary of the Air Board.[5] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1919, the citation for which was published in a supplement to the London Gazette on 22 June, reading:

Commander Robert Marsland Groves,. R.N. (Wing Commander, R.N.A.S.). In recognition of his services in command of a Wing of the Royal Naval Air Service at Dunkirk. Commander Groves has by his personal skill as a pilot, and also by his untiring zeal, effected a marked advancement in the general standard of flying on active service. He has on several occasions carried out successful reconnaissances to Ostend under fire, and by his own example has proved the utility and great importance of night flying."[6]

Royal Air Force[edit]

After the War he became Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and Director of Operations and Intelligence.[5] He went on to be Acting Air Officer Commanding RAF Middle East Area in 1919 and Air Officer Commanding Egyptian Group in 1920.[5]

Grove died aged 40 on 27 May 1920 in Egypt from injuries received in an aircraft crash, he was buried at the Cairo New British Protestant Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ In memoriam Flight International, 10 June 1920
  2. ^ "No. 31691". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 December 1919. p. 15614. 
  3. ^ Items Flight International, 3 March 1921
  4. ^ "No. 27308". The London Gazette. 26 April 1901. p. 2858. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Commodore R M Groves
  6. ^ "No. 29635". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 June 1916. p. 6211. 
  7. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Robert Marsland Groves

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Mark Kerr
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
Oliver Swann
Preceded by
Oliver Swann
Only as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
and Director of Operations and Intelligence

February 1919 – 8 September 1919
Succeeded by
John Steel
New title
Formed by renaming Training Brigade (Middle East)
Air Officer Commanding Egyptian Group
16 March – 27 May 1920
Succeeded by
Oliver Swann