No. 1 Group RAF

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No. 1 Group
1 Group badge.jpg
No. 1 Group badge
Active 1918–1926
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Part of RAF Air Command
Garrison/HQ RAF High Wycombe
Motto "Swift to attack"
Air Officer Commanding Air Vice-Marshal Gary M. Waterfall CBE

No. 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two operations groups in Air Command, the other being the No. 2 Group. Today, the group is referred to as the Air Combat Group, as it controls the RAF's combat fast-jet aircraft and has airfields in the UK plus RAF Support Unit Goose Bay in Canada, which is used extensively as an operational training station. The group is located alongside Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The current Air officer commanding No 1 Group is Air vice-marshal Gary Waterfall.

Subordinate stations

The following stations and squadrons are under the command of No 1 Group:[1]


No 1 Group was originally formed on Saturday 1 April 1918 in No 1 Area, which was renamed the South-Eastern Area on 8 May 1918, Southern Area on 20 September 1919 and Inland Area on 1 April 1920.

The Group was renumbered as No. 6 Group on 19 May 1924 at RAF Kenley, and was reformed on the same day at RAF Kidbrooke. Two years later on 12 April 1926 the Group disappeared from the order of battle by being renumbered as No. 21 Group.

The next year the Group was reformed on 25 August 1927 by the renaming of Air Defence Group. This designation lasted until 1936 when it became No. 6 Group again. As in 1924 the Group was reformed the same day, this time as a bomber formation.

By this time the Group had shrunk to ten squadrons, all equipped with Fairey Battle aircraft and located in pairs at RAF Abingdon, RAF Harwell, RAF Benson, RAF Boscombe Down and RAF Bicester. On receipt of orders to move to France in 1939, Headquarters No. 1 Group became Headquarters Advanced Air Striking Force and the station headquarters and associated squadrons became Nos. 71, 72, 74, 75 and 76 Wings respectively.[2] The Group re-emerged a few days later within Bomber Command on 12 September, but only lasted just over three months, being dropped on 22 December 1939.

It was reformed at RAF Bawtry on 22 June 1940 where No. 1 Group was based for 44 years and has been continuously active in the RAF ever since inception. During the Second World War, 1 Group was primarily based at airfields in north Lincolnshire, like RAF Swinderby.[3] Among others, No. 1 Group included No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron and No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron. During Bomber Command's Second World War campaign, No. 1 Group dropped a higher tonnage of bombs per aircraft than any other group, this was mainly due to Air Commodore Edward Rice who was determined to maximise bomb loads, though it was a policy which contributed in no small measure to No. 1 Group having higher than average losses.[4] After the war, No. 1 Group also operated the Thor ballistic missile between 1958 and August 1963, with ten squadrons each with three missiles being equipped with the weapon.[5] When Bomber Command was subsumed into the new Strike Command on 1 April 1968, No. 1 Group took on the old role of the command, holding the bomber and strike aircraft of Strike Command. In around 1984, Headquarters No. 1 Group moved from RAF Bawtry in South Yorkshire to RAF Upavon in Wiltshire.

On 1 April 1996 No. 2 Group RAF was disbanded by being absorbed into No. 1 Group.

In January 2000 the RAF was restructured and the Group took on its present role. The Group is responsible for UK air defence operations through QRA North at RAF Leuchars and QRA South at RAF Coningsby. However since the disestablishment of Combined Air Operations Centre 9 at RAF High Wycombe, actual control of the fighters is now carried out from a NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Denmark, CAOC 1 at Finderup. However, High Wycombe retains an air defence direction capability, and the UK Representative there could take back control over QRA South if it was necessary to respond to a terrorist threat from the air.[6]

Air Officer Commanding

Air Officers Commanding have included:[7]

  • 1 April 1918 unknown
  • 29 February 1920 Group Captain H C T Dowding
  • 27 February 1922 Group Captain E L Gerrard
  • 1 January 1923 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
  • 21 July 1924 Group Captain R Gordon
  • 31 December 1924 Group Captain P L W Herbert
  • 12 April 1926 – 25 August 1927 Group Disbanded
  • 9 August 1927 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
  • 11 November 1929 Air Commodore W F M Foster
  • 2 January 1934 Air Commodore J E A Baldwin
  • 12 August 1935 Air Commodore J C Quinnell
  • 1 May 1936 Air Commodore O T Boyd
  • 7 January 1937 Air Commodore S W Smith
  • 17 February 1938 Air Vice-Marshal P H L Playfair
  • 24 August 1939 – 12 September 1939 No. 1 Group Renamed Advanced Air Striking Force
  • 3 September 1939 Air Vice-Marshal A C Wright
  • 22 December 1939 – 22 June 1940 Group Disbanded
  • 27 June 1940 Air Commodore J J Breen
  • 27 November 1940 Air Vice-Marshal R. D. Oxland
  • 24 February 1943 Air Vice-Marshal E A B Rice
  • 12 February 1945 Air Vice-Marshal R S Blucke
  • 15 January 1947 Air Vice-Marshal C E N Guest
  • 24 January 1949 Air Vice-Marshal G H Mills
  • 8 August 1950 Air Vice-Marshal E C Hudleston
  • 5 April 1951 Air Vice-Marshal D A Boyle
  • 27 April 1953 Air Vice-Marshal J R Whitley
  • 3 October 1956 Air Vice-Marshal G A Walker
  • 14 June 1959 Air Vice-Marshal J G Davis
  • 1 December 1961 Air Vice-Marshal P H Dunn
  • 1 May 1964 Air Vice-Marshal D C Stapleton
  • 1 June 1966 Air Vice-Marshal M H LeBas
  • 23 December 1968 Air Vice-Marshal R L Wade
  • 8 February 1971 Air Vice-Marshal B P T Horsley
  • 3 March 1973 Air Vice-Marshal D G Evans
  • 29 November 1975 Air Vice-Marshal P J Lagesen
  • 5 July 1978 Air Vice-Marshal D B Craig
  • 11 April 1980 Air Vice-Marshal M W P Knight
  • 18 December 1982 Air Vice-Marshal D Parry-Evans
  • 17 September 1983 Air Commodore H S Carver
  • 1 April 1984 Air Vice-Marshal M G Simmons
  • 19 February 1987 Air Vice-Marshal C J Thomson
  • 24 February 1989 Air Vice-Marshal R A F Wilson
  • 1991–1993 Air Vice-Marshal R E Johns
  • 1993–1994 Air Vice-Marshal P T Squire
  • 1994–1997 Air Vice-Marshal J R Day
  • 1997–1998 Air Vice-Marshal G E Stirrup
  • 1998–2000 Air Vice-Marshal J H Thompson
  • 2000–2001 Air Vice-Marshal P V Harris
  • 2001–2003 Air Vice-Marshal G L Torpy
  • 2003–2005 Air Vice-Marshal C H Moran
  • 2005–2007 Air Vice-Marshal D Walker
  • 2007–2009 Air Vice-Marshal C N Harper
  • 2009-2011 Air Vice-Marshal G J Bagwell
  • 2011-2014 Air Vice-Marshal S Atha
  • 2014–Present Air Vice-Marshal G M Waterfall

See also


  1. "RAF Air Command". Armed Forces.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bomber Command, accessed November 2008
  3. Airfields of Lincolnshire - Patrick Otter - p15).
  4. Airfield of Lincolnshire - Patrick Otter- p20/21.
  5. Martin Powell, "The Douglas Thor in Royal Air Force Service", Rossendale Aviation Society – Article, accessed 2 June 2008
  6. Andrew Brooks, UK AIR DEFENCE,Air Forces Monthly – October 2008
  7. "Senior RAF Commanders" (PDF). Retrieved 16 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links