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The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is the professional head of the Royal Air Force and a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Air Force Board. The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Glenn Torpy as Chief of the Air Staff on 31 July 2009.

History

The post was established with the formation of the RAF in 1918, and its first occupant, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard, was key in the establishment of the RAF as a separate service.

After Lord Trenchard retired in 1929 his successors had to fight to keep the RAF separate from the Royal Navy and the British Army, but Trenchard's foundations proved solid.

By the time World War II broke out in 1939, the then occupant of the post, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, had a service that had been undergoing the most rapid of expansions during the British rearmament programs of the late 1930s. Newall gave way in 1940 to Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, who led the service for the rest of the war. Portal was a tireless defender of the RAF and extremely able in administration and strategy.

Postwar the RAF was reoriented to perform the dual roles of defending the shrinking British Empire and possibly fighting against the Soviet Union in a Warsaw Pact verses NATOmarker war over Germany and the United Kingdommarker. The Chiefs of the Air Staff of the day had to fight a constant battle to keep the British aircraft industry alive. In the end only minimal success was achieved, with only a rump aviation industrial base left by the 1970s.

Supporting staff and honours

The Chief of the Air Staff's deputy is the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. From 1918 to around 1968, the Chief of the Air Staff's deputy was the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.

The Chief of the Air Staff is normally appointed an Air Aide de Camp to the British sovereign.

Chiefs of the Air Staff

The following list gives details of the chiefs of the air staff from 1918 to the present:

Image Date of appointment Rank Incumbent References
3 January 1918 Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard
13 April 1918 Major-General Sir Frederick Sykes
31 March 1919 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Hugh Trenchard
1 January 1930 Air Chief Marshal Sir John Salmond
1 April 1933 Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond
28 April 1933 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Salmond
22 May 1933 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Ellington
1 September 1937 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Cyril Newall
25 October 1940 Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Portal
1 January 1946 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Tedder
1 January 1950 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor
1 January 1953 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir William Dickson
1 January 1956 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Dermot Boyle
1 January 1960 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Thomas Pike
1 September 1963 Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Elworthy
1 April 1967 Air Chief Marshal Sir John Grandy
1 April 1971 Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Spotswood
1 April 1974 Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Humphrey
7 August 1976 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Neil Cameron
10 August 1977 Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beetham
15 October 1982 Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Williamson
15 October 1985 Air Chief Marshal Sir David Craig
14 November 1988 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Harding
6 November 1992 Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon
10 April 1997 Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns
21 April 2000 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire
1 August 2003 Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup
13 April 2006 Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy
31 July 2009 Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton


  1. The ranks shown are the highest rank that the officer in question attained during his tour as Chief of the Air Staff. However, in the case where the officer was promoted on the day before he was posted, then the lower rank is shown.


See also

Other service chiefs



Generally relevant



References

  1. Air Marshal Stephen Dalton appointed next Chief of the Air Staff Retrieved 17 October 2008.



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