Sir Tom Ince Webb-Bowen
|Born||17 January 1879|
|Died||29 October 1956 77)(aged|
|Service/|| British Army (1899–1918)|
Royal Air Force (1918–41)
|Years of service||1899–1933|
|Rank||Air Vice Marshal|
|Commands held||Wessex Bombing Area (1931–33)|
Air Member for Personnel (1930–31)
RAF Middle East (1926–29)
Inland Area (1924–26)
No. 3 Group (1923–24)
RAF India (1920–22)
South Eastern Area (1919)
II Brigade RFC (1916–17, 1918–19)
VII Brigade RFC (1917–18)
No. 3 Wing RFC (1915–16)
No. 2 Squadron (1915)
|Battles/wars|| First World War |
Second World War
|Awards|| Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath |
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Mentioned in Despatches (3)
Order of Saint Anna, 3rd Class with Swords (Russia)
Officer of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de guerre (France)
Officer of the Military Order of Savoy (Italy)
Air Vice Marshal Sir Tom Ince Webb-Bowen,(17 January 1879 – 29 October 1956) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during the first half of the 20th century.
Tom Ince Webb-Bowen was born on 17 January 1879, the son of Thomas Ince Webb-Bowen (senior) who served as the Chief Constable of Pembrokeshire Police from 1 January 1879 to 1 December 1906.
Webb-Bowen was initially commissioned into a militia battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, later got a regular army commission into the Bedfordshire Regiment and was appointed the Adjutant of the Madras Volunteer Corps while serving in India.Finding himself unsuited to regimental life, Webb-Bowen learnt to fly in 1912. After several weeks as a Royal Flying Corps flight commander, he was posted to the Central Flying School as an instructor where he later served as the Assistant Commandant.
In March 1915 Major Webb-Bowen took over command of No. 2 Squadronwhile the squadron was located at Merville, France. During his short tenure there were two significant events. Firstly, because of the difficulty suffered by ground troops in communicating their advance to higher command, a technique was developed whereby troops on the ground could convey their position by laying strips of white cloth on the ground. (These strips are referred to as "Popham strips" in a novel, and Webb-Bowen's predecessor was Robert Brooke-Popham.) Aircraft from No. 2 Squadron would then relay by WT the co-ordinates noted. The second and more historically significant event was the award of the first Victoria Cross awarded for bravery in the air, to Lieutenant William Rhodes-Moorhouse. Major Webb-Bowen handed over command to Major Becke in June 1915 following his posting to Home Establishment. He continued his war service commanding No. 3 Wing RFC from May 1915, and then as Brigadier-General Commanding first II Brigade RFC, then VII Brigade RFC and then II Brigade RFC again. He commanded these brigades in France and Italy.
After the war he was appointed Air Officer Commanding South Eastern Area and then Air Officer Commanding RAF India.He was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 3 Group in 1923, Air Officer Commanding Inland Area in 1924 and Air Officer Commanding Middle East Command in 1925. He then went on to be Air Member for Personnel in 1930 and Air Officer Commanding Wessex Bombing Area in 1931 before retiring on 26 September 1933.
He was recalled during the Second World War to be Duty Air Commodore in the Operations Room at Headquarters Fighter Command.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transport facilities.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Henry Robert Moore Brooke-Popham, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force. During the First World War he served in the Royal Flying Corps as a wing commander and senior staff officer. Remaining in the new Royal Air Force (RAF) after the war, Brooke-Popham was the first commandant of its Staff College at Andover and later held high command in the Middle East. He was Governor of Kenya in the late 1930s. Most notably, Brooke-Popham was Commander-in-Chief of the British Far East Command only months before Singapore fell to Japanese troops.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Maitland Salmond, was a British military officer who rose to high rank in the Royal Flying Corps and then the Royal Air Force. During the First World War he served as a squadron commander, a wing commander and then as General Officer Commanding the RAF on the Western Front towards the end of the war. He went on to be Air Officer Commanding British Forces in Iraq in the early 1920s when he halted a Turkish invasion and sought to put down a Kurdish uprising against King Faisal, the British-sponsored ruler of Iraq. He was Chief of the Air Staff in the early 1930s and bitterly opposed the position taken by British politicians at the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, which would have led to the UK's complete aerial disarmament. In the event the talks broke down when Adolf Hitler withdrew from the Conference in October 1933.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Edgar Rainey Ludlow-Hewitt, was a senior Royal Air Force commander. He was the second son and the second of five children of the Rev. Thomas Arthur Ludlow-Hewitt of Clancoole, Co. Cork and later vicar of Minety, Wiltshire and Edith Annie Hudson, only daughter of Alfred Ricketts Hudson of Wick House, Pershore and brother of Lieut. Colonel Alfred Henry Hudson, D.L., J.P.,, High Sheriff of Worcester 1918<The London Gazette Publication date:5 March 1918 Issue:30557 Page:2781>
Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Bennet Joubert de la Ferté, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during the 1930s and the Second World War.
Air Marshal Sir John Frederick Andrews Higgins,, known as Jack Higgins, was a senior officer in the Royal Flying Corps, serving as a brigade commander from 1915 to 1918. After the First World War he served in a range of senior posts in the Royal Air Force until his retirement in 1930. He returned to active service for the first year of the Second World War.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Leslie Norman Hollinghurst, was a British flying ace of the First World War and a senior commander in the Royal Air Force.
Air Vice Marshal Sir Charles Alexander Holcombe Longcroft, was a pilot and squadron commander in the Royal Flying Corps who went on to become a senior commander in the Royal Air Force.
Air Vice Marshal Amyas Eden Borton, was a pilot and commander in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during the 1920s. He saw active service on the Western Front, in Palestine and in Iraq. In the latter part of his career, Borton was the second Commandant of the RAF College at Cranwell before becoming the Air Officer Commanding RAF Inland Area.
Air Marshal Owen Tudor Boyd, was a British aviator and military officer. He served with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War before transferring to the newly formed Royal Air Force in 1918, with which he served during the interwar period and into the Second World War.
Air Vice Marshal Stanley Flamank Vincent, was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and later a senior commander in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He was the only RFC/RAF pilot to shoot down enemy aircraft in both world wars.
Major General Edward Bailey Ashmore, was a British Army officer from the 1890s to the 1920s who served in the Royal Artillery, the Royal Flying Corps and briefly in the Royal Air Force before founding and developing the organisation that would become the Royal Observer Corps.
Air Vice Marshal Augustus Henry Orlebar CBE AFC & Bar was a British Army and Royal Air Force officer who served in both world wars.
No. 40 Wing formed part of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Palestine Brigade during World War I and immediately after. It was established in October 1917 as 40th (Army) Wing, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), and become part of the RAF in April 1918, when the RFC merged with the Royal Naval Air Service. The wing played a major part in the Battle of Megiddo, the last great offensive against the Ottoman Empire, in September 1918. It was disbanded in April 1920.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Penrose Martyn Sanders, was a Royal Flying Corps pilot during the First World War and a senior Royal Air Force commander during the Second World War and the immediate post-war years.
Air Vice Marshal Hugh Granville White, was a Royal Air Force air officer. He was a First World War flying ace credited with seven aerial victories, and later went on to serve throughout the Second World War, finally retiring in 1955.
Air Vice Marshal Kenneth Malise St. Clair Graeme Leask, was a senior officer of the Royal Air Force (RAF). He began his career in the British Army and served with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War, being credited with eight aerial victories to become a flying ace. He flew over 100 sorties, and survived three forced landings. He attained the rank of captain, and position as flight commander, in No. 84 Squadron. He remained in the RAF after the war, being appointed Director-General of Engineering in the Air Ministry with the rank of air vice marshal after the Second World War.
Air Vice Marshal Wilfred Ashton McClaughry,, born Wilfred Ashton McCloughry, was an Australian aviator and air commander who served in the Australian Flying Corps during the First World War and Royal Air Force in the Second World War. His senior commands included: British Forces Aden (1930s), and; No. 9 Group RAF, and Air Officer Commanding Air Officer Commanding Allied Headquarters Egypt. McClaughry was killed, while a passenger, in a flying accident in Cairo in 1943.
Air Vice Marshal Reginald Percy Mills,, was a senior commander in the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force during the First World War and the early years of the Second World War.
| Assistant Commandant of the Central Flying School |
7 August 1914 – 8 March 1915
| Officer Commanding No. 2 Squadron |
8 March – 27 May 1915
| Officer Commanding No. 3 Wing |
27 May – 2 June 1915
| Brigadier-General Commanding II Brigade RFC|
| Brigadier-General Commanding VII Brigade RFC|
Title next held by Charles Lambe in 1918
| Brigadier-General Commanding II Brigade RFC|
Formed from Indian Group
| Air Officer Commanding RAF India |
Title last held byArthur Longmore
| Air Officer Commanding No. 3 Group |
| Air Officer Commanding RAF Middle East |
Sir John Salmond
| Air Member for Personnel |
Sir Edward Ellington