RAF Australians - Air Vice Marshal, WILFRED ASHTON McCLOUGHRY (1894-1943)

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  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Air Vice Marshal , WILFRED ASHTON McCLOUGHRY (1894-1943) and EDGAR JAMES (1896-1972), airmen, were the first and second sons of James Kingston McCloughry, draper, from Larne, Northern Ireland, and his Australian-born wife Charlotte Rebecca, née Ashton. Wilfred was born on 26 November 1894 at Knightsbridge, Adelaide, and Edgar on 10 September 1896 at Hindmarsh. Wilfred later changed his surname to McClaughry and Edgar became Kingston-McCloughry.

    Wilfred was educated at Queen's School, North Adelaide, University of Adelaide and the Adelaide School of Mines. Commissioned into the Australian Military Forces in 1913, he transferred to the Australian Imperial Force in 1914 and went overseas with the 9th Light Horse Regiment. On Gallipoli from May to August 1915 he was wounded twice. Seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in March 1916, after flying training he served in a home defence squadron operating against German airships. He joined No.100 Squadron, the R.F.C.'s first night bomber unit, on its formation and in March 1917 accompanied it to France as a flight commander. He was awarded the Military Cross in July.

    One of the experienced Australians in the R.F.C. selected to strengthen the expanding Australian Flying Corps, Wilfred joined the Second Squadron and accompanied it to France as a flight commander in September 1917. In October he was recalled to England to command the Fourth Squadron and took that overseas in December. Quiet but firm, he led one of the most efficient Sopwith Camel squadrons on the Western Front in 1918. He flew frequent daylight missions and undertook several risky night sorties against enemy heavy bombers in Camels not equipped for night flying. Credited with three victories, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches three times.

    On General Birdwood's recommendation Wilfred obtained a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force in August 1919 as squadron leader. In 1922 he attended the first R.A.F. Staff College course and graduated from the Imperial Defence College in 1931. Promoted group captain in July 1934, he was posted to Egypt and in July 1936, as acting air commodore, he was appointed air officer commanding Aden Command. On 27 April 1940 he married Angela Grace Maria Segalir; this was his second marriage, the first having been dissolved.

    During the battle of Britain Wilfred commanded No.9 Fighter Group and in 1942, appointed C.B. and air vice marshal, became Air Officer Commanding, Egypt. On 4 January 1943 he died in an aircraft crash near Heliopolis and was buried in Cairo war cemetery. Electric chimes in the Congregational Church, Brougham Place, Adelaide, were later dedicated to his memory and his portrait by Cuthbert Orde is in his widow's possession.

    Edgar was educated at Adelaide University and the South Australian School of Mines. Commissioned into the A.M.F. in May 1915, he transferred in December to the A.I.F. After service in Egypt and France with the Australian Engineers he was seconded to the R.F.C. in December 1916 for training as a pilot, graduated in August 1917 and was posted to No.23 Squadron, R.F.C., in France. He was soon invalided to hospital in England after a serious crash. He was a flying instructor in the Sixth Training Squadron, A.F.C., then was posted in June 1918 as a flight commander and temporary captain to Wilfred's Fourth Squadron in France. Within four months Edgar was credited with shooting down nineteen enemy aeroplanes and four balloons and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar and mentioned in dispatches. A few fellow airmen, however, considered that some of his claims were over-enthusiastic. He was twice wounded. On leaving the A.F.C. in August 1919, Edgar, now known as Kingston, graduated M.A. at Cambridge in mechanical science, worked in the engineering industry, then joined the R.A.F. with a short service commission in December 1922, obtaining a permanent commission on 1 January 1926. His later postings included staff courses at Andover and Camberley.

    Good-looking and ambitious, Kingston was reserved but at times outspoken. His closeness to leading political figures caused some displeasure to his service chiefs. In 1940, while an air commodore, he drew the attention of various prominent people to what he considered false information about Britain's effective aircraft strength presented to Cabinet by the R.A.F. This unconventional action was damaging to his career; he later attributed to it his failure to achieve the rank of air marshal and a knighthood. Of his several responsible positions, the most important was chairman of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force Bombing Committee which produced the tactical and strategic bombing plans for the invasion of Europe. He retired, as air vice marshal, in 1953, his last posting being chief air defence officer, Ministry of Defence. He had been appointed C.B.E. in 1943 and C.B. in 1950.

    Kingston was the author of Winged Warfare (1937) and five books on air and defence strategy in 1947-64. He was an associate fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. On 16 January 1924 in London he had married Freda Elizabeth Lewis. They had two daughters, and were later divorced. Kingston-McCloughry died on 15 November 1972 in Edinburgh. He willed his body to medical research and his papers and manuscripts to the Imperial War Museum.
    Select Bibliography

    E. J. Richards, Australian Airmen. History of the 4th Squadron, A.F.C. (Melb, nd); F. M. Cutlack, The Australian Flying Corps: In the Western and Eastern Theatres of War, 1914-1918 (Syd, 1923); I. Jones, Tiger Squadron (Lond, 1954); A. Morris, Bloody April (Lond, 1967); K. Isaacs, Military Aircraft of Australia 1909-1918 (Canb, 1971); S. Zuckerman, From Apes to Warlords (Lond, 1978); A. H. Cobby, High Adventure (Melb, 1981); written records section 1914-18 (Australian War Memorial); Air History Branch papers (National Archives of the United Kingdom); Kingston-McCloughry papers (Imperial War Museum, London); family papers (privately held). More on the resources

    Author: Alan Fraser

    Print Publication Details: Alan Fraser, 'McCloughry, Wilfred Ashton (1894 - 1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, Melbourne University Press, 1986, pp 229-230.

    Wilfred Ashton b: 26 Nov 1894 d: 4 Jan 1943

    CB - xx xxx 1942, DSO - xx xxx 1919, MC - xx xxx 1917, DFC - 2 Nov 1918, MiD - 11 Jul 1919, MiD - xx xxx xxxx, MiD - xx xxx xxxx 1st Prize, "Gordon-Shephard" Essay Comp - 1929

    (Army): - 2 Lt: 16 Jan 1913, Lt: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Capt: 1 Oct 1916, (T) Maj: xx xxx xxxx

    (RAF): - Capt: 1 Apr 1918, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1929, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1934, Act A/Cdre(unpd): 7 Jul 1936, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1938, (T) AVM: 1 Jul 1940.

    xx xxx 1913: Officer, 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. (Egypt, Gallipoli)

    xx Jun 1916: Flying Officer, RFC.

    xx xxx 1916: Pilot, No 50 Sqn RFC. (BE2c, BE12 – Dover)

    1 Oct 1916: Flight Commander,

    21 Sep 1917: Flight Commander, No 2 Sqn AFC.

    26 Oct 1917: Officer Commanding, No 71 Sqn RFC.

    19 Jan 1918: Officer Commanding, No 4 Sqn AFC.

    xx xxx 1918:

    27 Feb 1919: Officer Commanding, Air Pilotage School.

    1 Aug 1919: Awarded Permanent Commission as a Major (gazetted 22 Aug 1919)

    3 Apr 1922: Attended RAF Staff College.

    4 Apr 1923: Staff, HQ No 5 Wing.

    23 Apr 1923: Air Staff, HQ Inland Area.

    18 Sep 1924: Officer Commanding, No 8 Sqn. (DH9A – Hinaidi/Aden)

    22 Feb 1928: Staff Officer, HQ Wessex Bombing Area.

    12 Jan 1931: Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

    19 Jan 1931: Attended Imperial Defence College.

    xx Dec 1931:

    29 Sep 1934: Officer Commanding, RAF Heliopolis.

    18 Oct 1935: Officer Commanding, Mersa Matruh.

    xx Jun 1936: Supernumerary, HQ RAF Middle East.

    1 Jul 1936: AOC, British Forces in Aden.

    28 Nov 1938: Director of Training.

    16 Sep 1940: AOC, No 9 (Fighter) Group.

    xx May 1942: AOC, AHQ Egypt.

    An Australian originally named Kingston-McClaughry, he was the elder of two brothers, both destined to become AVM’s, he dropped the "Kingston" from his surname in order to avoid confusion with his brother?. He was awarded RAeC Certificate No 2368 on 1 February 1916. However, his career and life was brought to a premature end when he was killed at Cairo in the aircraft accident which also killed Lady Tedder (ACM Sir Arthur Tedder’s first wife).

    Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

    Major Wilfred Ashton McCloughry, M.C. (Australian F.C.).

    The squadron commanded by this officer has been remarkably active and successful in attacks at low altitudes on trains, transports, billets and low-flying machines; this success is largely due to his inspiring personality, fine leadership, and the boldness in attack he invariably displays. One evening he bombed a train, which was compelled to stop; he then attacked it with machine-gun fire at 200 ft. altitude. Afterwards he engaged a two-seater machine, which unfortunately escaped owing to failures in both his machine guns. Having remedied these, he attacked a party of infantry, which he dispersed, several casualties being noted.

    (M.C. gazetted 18th July,1917.)

    (London Gazette – 2 November 1918)

    4 January 1943

    Lodestar EW986
    173 Sqn
    2 miles south of Heliopolis

    The aircraft was returning from a trip by Air Marshal McClaughry, Lady Tedder and their staff to a number of units. During the approach to land, the aircraft crashed but the Accident Card is unclear as to the cause. Lady Tedder was the wife of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, AOCinC Middle East. Their son had died on 3 Aug 1940 whilst a pilot with 139 Sqn and he is buried in Bayeau Cemetery France
    Flying Officer Graham Grant COWLING 22 Pilot
    Flying Officer Eric Ralph Dalton JAMES 25 Pilot
    Sergeant Norman Louis CLARKE
    Squadron Leader Richard George CHESTER 37
    Air Vice Marshal Wilfred Ashton MCCLAUGHRY 48 CB DSO MC DFC
    Lady Rosalinde TEDDER
    Squadron Leader Hugh Wynston CLELAND 34
    Pilot Officer William Alfred HAWKINS 32
    Wing Commander Gerard Basil NICHOLAS 42 DFC
    Flight Lieutenant James Ronal RITCHIE
    Leading Aircraftman Albert John William HURDLE 20

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