Old 23rd Aug 2013, 08:59
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Forres
Age: 63
Posts: 158
Senior female ranks

Congratulations to AVM West, reading the other post it is well deserved. She is not the first senior female officer in the Air Force to reach this rank though. I know some will say I am splitting hairs but females in the RAF were previously in the WRAF before it was absorbed and before that in the WAAF. before that it was the air branch of the ATS and originally the WRAF in WW1. Here is a little history of female air force ranks through the period:

Initially, the WAAF used the ATS ranking system, although the director held the rank of "Senior Controller" (equivalent to Brigadier in the British Army, Air Commodore in the RAF) instead of "Chief Controller" (equivalent to Major-General, Air Vice-Marshal) as in the ATS. However, in December 1939 the name was changed to Air Commandant, when the ranks were renamed and reorganized, other ranks now held identical ranks to male RAF personnel, but officers continued to have a separate rank system, although now different from that of the ATS. From February 1940 it was no longer possible to enter directly as an officer; from that time all officers were appointed from the other ranks. From July 1941 WAAF officers held full commissions. On January 1, 1943, the rank of Air Chief Commandant (equivalent to Major-General, Air Vice-Marshal) was created with the director's appointment to that rank.

On July 1, 1939, Jane Trefusis Forbes was made Director of WAAF, with the rank of Senior Controller, later, Air Commandant. On January 1, 1943 she was appointed to the rank of Air Chief Commandant with its creation. On October 4, 1943, while Forbes toured Canada, assessing the Women's Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force, she was relieved by HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, who had been head of the WAAF since 1939, again with the rank of Senior Controller, then, Air Commandant, being gazetted to Air Chief Commandant on March 22, 1943. Forbes retired in August 1944, and the post of director was given to Mary Welsh, who was appointed Air Chief Commandant. After the war, the rank of Air Chief Commandant was suspended and in December 1946, the final director of WAAF, Felicity Hanbury, was appointed.

Just thought it might be of interest. The BBC news (and the RAF publicity machine) got it slightly wrong - again.

Anyway, well done Ma'am!
tomdocherty72 is offline