Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Inspirational Leaders

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Inspirational Leaders

Old 13th Aug 2008, 22:33
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,641
Received 17 Likes on 8 Posts
Inspirational Leaders

Air Chief Marshal the Earl of Bandon would be my choice of an inspirational leader.

First visit to Gan - 1958

When he made his first visit to Gan in 1958 we servicemen had a grievance in that although we met all the requirements we wern't being allowed access to the official R&R flights to Singapore as laid down in QR's or AMO's for personnel stuck at Gan. However we had the opportunity to rectify this when the C-in-C FEAF ACM The Earl of Bandon made his first visit to the island.

A good listener and never one for 'officialdom' he insisted on talking to us over a beer without other officers being present and asked what complaints we had. The main one raised was "why were Gan personnel were not being permitted to take advantage of the R & R indulgence flights to Singapore as laid down in Air Ministry or FEAF Orders?"

He said he'd look into the matter on his return. He was PDQ because about two weeks later our complaints were answered and indulgence flights to Singapore were available and I was one of the many who took advantage of them.

With this sort of attitude he was regarded with a great deal of affection by his men. He was commonly known to those under his command as "The Abandoned Earl", or if you really knew him well as "Paddy".

He was outspoken and got himself 'into hot water' on a number of occasions, one such being in 1957 when as C in C, 2nd Tactical Air Force, he received a reprimand from George Ward, Secretary of State for Air, for stating to the press, without MOD approval that tactical nuclear weapons would soon be issued to forces in Europe.

Yet another reprimand occurred when he omitted to inform Whitehall that he was taking unilateral action to quell an uprising of Maldivians who were against the setting up of the RAF staging post at Gan. Although his action had saved the situation, feelings in the MOD and Whitehall were hurt and he received an enormous reprimand from the CDS, Lord Mountbatten, which came to him in signal form. He promptly had the signal framed and hung it on the wall of his office!

On another occasion as C-in-C FEAF he opened a new service swimming pool by jumping in fully clothed to declare it open!
I wonder how many of our present leaders would do such a thing?

His obituary in The Times concluded: "No other airman has ever held so many operational commands as did Bandon, and no one is ever likely to in the future."

Last edited by Warmtoast; 10th Nov 2022 at 20:34.
Warmtoast is online now  
Old 13th Aug 2008, 22:48
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: GMT
Age: 53
Posts: 2,105
Received 205 Likes on 80 Posts
Think it's safe to say The Real Slim Shady won't be featuring on this list.
minigundiplomat is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 08:23
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Out East
Posts: 124
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A Truly Inspiring Gentleman

May I offer ACM Sir John Cheshire. A truly inspiring gentleman who, during his climb up the slippery promotion pole, never changed his attitude of charm, calm and loyalty to those he commanded, of whatever rank. It was, sadly, not his lot to reach the top of the Service tree as CAS. That was the RAF's mistake. His lovely wife Sam, must also be mentioned. Recent pic of Sir John:

90th Anniversary of The Royal Air Force, 11 July 2008

What about a thread of uninspiring leaders? There was a thread about a certain v senior officer, of whom little need be said, some time ago but it was pulled probably before legal proceedings ensued!

Pip pip

Old Ned is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 15:39
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: A galaxy far far away
Posts: 109
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Must be something in the name. For an inspirational example of a great leader do some research on Leonard Cheshire (VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC).

An amazing man, both during and after WW2.
AdLib is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 15:43
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 587
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Keep it positive

I believe in the old adage: "Praise in public, criticise in private".
I don't think that this forum should condone character assassination - deserved or not - by posters hiding behind nom-de-plumes.
PPRuNeUser0139 is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 16:12
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 734
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've had a couple of inspirational bosses, most of whom I respected because they knew their stuff inside out, got it done when the chips were down, but stood out by taking a genuine interest in their people. Several more of my bosses have tried to feign interest, so I guess Cranwell includes it as part of a lesson, but the people who stand apart are the ones who balance getting the job done with concern for the team.

By contrast, my current wg cdr continues to unknowingly inspire me into believing my current plans to exit the Service are sound, irrespective of the economy!
dallas is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 18:56
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Rotherham
Age: 68
Posts: 15
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Danny Lavender on 6 Sqdn loved to bits by the groundcrew.

Bill Wratten on 23 and Staish at Coningsby a very good boss.
granmarriott is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2008, 20:12
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Well, Lincolnshire
Age: 69
Posts: 1,103
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One name.

Archie Winskill.

Anyone who could get away with wearing suede bondhu boots and 1A uniform in front of HM Queen Elizabeth ("Well, my feet hurt, Ma'am") does it for me.

A magic guy and boss.
taxydual is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2008, 13:29
  #29 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Up where we belong
Posts: 92
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the comments guys, seems I am not alone in not being inspired by our current bunch of leaders

As an aside, I note TRSS has ripped off this tread and posted it on e-goat. I shall take it as a compliment - thank you
NUFC1892 is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2008, 08:37
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Shefford, Beds, UK
Posts: 109
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geoff Simpson

Difficult to identify one individual that has left his/her mark of inspiration upon one's outlook. However, one that changed my attitude more than any other was Geoff Simpson (Simpo), then Station Commander at Waddington (mid 90s).

Good humoured and professional he also had that element of a personable nature that put all ranks at their ease without trying to be a 'mate'. Willing to take on the hierarchy without alienating them, he achieved many good things for his people and station in such a way as to ensure that it never appeared to be a personal glory hunt.

One memorable incident occurred during an AFI when the 'Scottish' AVM was AOC. There had been great disquiet on the stn at the commitment to Bosnia and the reluctance of 11 Gp to increase the number of crews (E3D) therefore the sqn (singular at the time) was being thrashed. Simpo told all officers to be in the Mess bar by 1630. At the end of the day, said AVM was heading for his 125 when Simpo simply took him to the bar, opened the door turned to the AVM and said, "you've been telling me you can't afford to support these guys, now tell them" and pushed him in, literally. He wouldn't let him leave without hearing what his decisions actually meant to the guys on the sqn.

Unsurprisingly it was a short period before crews were increased and subsequently the additional sqn added.

How many would risk their careers by doing the same these days? Very few I suspect.
In Tor Wot is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2008, 17:57
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 60
Posts: 903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geoff Simpson

Can't say he did much inspiration when he was Det Co in Riyadh during Gulf pt 1.

Impression I got was only interested in the tankers that were based there.

Hercs.....were they there as well???
November4 is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2008, 19:27
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kent
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Compare and contrast Cheshire and Gibson. An interesting study in leadership.
X-Rating is offline  
Old 4th Sep 2008, 15:11
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somewhere near Slough
Age: 60
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Inspirational Leaders

I can think of numerous from history who deserved the label -leader. Have met a few inspirational Gp Capts who having had their 'cards read' decide to retire! Only know of one Air Ranking Officer who would be followed to Hell and back by those that worked for him -I will spare his blushes -he is still an Air Commodore. However, according to the blunties his paperwork wasn't as good as his predecessor - he was too busy being with the people he commanded! Net result, the adminers preferrred the predecessor (though his predecessor was a cnut) because they had less to do! Lesson is that in todays Air Force being inspirational is not enough (though it should be). If you have the political savvy to get to the top it should debarr you from being there -a sort of catch 22!
livenav is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2022, 17:25
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have know Phil for 30+ years from my time when he joined 613VGS. He had left the RAF at that point was an MD at Ferranti International and mentored me through college and my first job at Ferranti.

A truly, truly great leader who is sadly in poor health at the moment.
miltonjosephs is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2022, 17:59
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,767
Received 243 Likes on 75 Posts
An interesting thread that rather confirms my theory that the only leaders required by the Royal Air Force are to be found behind the station gates. I was fortunate in my time to have some excellent bosses but to be fair I had little or no contact with the various Station Commanders involved, with exception of one at RAF Fairford. His incompetence was not only clear to we low life but to the CoC also, and he was summarily moved on and replaced.

Outside of the Station Gates the RAF is a bureaucracy which wants conformity to approved policy rather than people persons. As others have pointed out this was not the case with the ex-WWII VSOs who filled the appointments in my day. We had Mickey Martin as an AOC. Renowned for slipping his minders on an AOCs Inspection to find crew rooms and tea bars where he could find what the real issues were rather than those told him by his staff! Normal service resumed though with their post war replacements.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2022, 21:15
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: scotland
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I still believe that JW the Stn Cdr at Bruggen mid 70's was the most inspirational leader I worked for in 38 years, Cliff Spink was another.
KPax is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2022, 10:23
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Pewsey, UK
Posts: 1,979
Received 36 Likes on 10 Posts
Am I allowed to extend the list, despite not having met one of these individuals?

David Marquet - he of "Turn The Ship Around" fame. Changed his submarine's fortunes from dire to top of the fleet simply by truly empowering all in his command.

A serving senior army officer of my acquaintance who it would be unfair to name, described to me by a serving colleague as "someone they'd follow into battle" and "the army needs more leaders like them". And having spent even a short amount of time in their company, I can see why. Even in a non-military setting, those qualities are readily apparent.
The Nr Fairy is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2022, 12:11
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: SW England
Age: 69
Posts: 1,513
Received 100 Likes on 43 Posts
Having read granmarriott's take on Wr@tten, I find it interesting that one person's inspirational leader becomes, by the time he's reached the top of the greasy pole, another's lying, conniving back-stabber. Don't think you'd find too many people in the overstretched, thinly-spread Chinook Mk 2 world of 1994 onwards who shared that rosy view of him.
Thud_and_Blunder is online now  
Old 10th Nov 2022, 15:40
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,885
Received 343 Likes on 119 Posts
Bill Wratten on 23 and Staish at Coningsby a very good boss.
BEagle is online now  
Old 10th Nov 2022, 17:24
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: UK
Age: 69
Posts: 1,418
Received 44 Likes on 24 Posts
I suppose that you can fool some of the people, some of the time.
beardy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.