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Edward Leonard Ellington
30 December 1877 – 13 June 1967 (aged 89)
Marshal of the RAF Sir Edward Ellington.jpg
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Ellington
Place of birth Kensington, London, England
Place of death Wandsworth, London, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1897–1940
Rank Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mention in Despatches (4)

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Leonard Ellington GCB, CMG, CBE (30 December 1877 – 13 June 1967) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1933 to 1937, then as Inspector General of the RAF until his retirement in 1940.


Early career

After attending the Royal Military Academy Woolwich, Ellington was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery on 1 September 1897. He was promoted Lieutenant on 1 September 1900 and Captain on 27 April 1904. He learned to fly in 1912 and was awarded Royal Aero Club certificate No. 305 on 1 October 1912.

World War I

When the First World War started, Ellington was under training at the Central Flying School. A few months later, he was sent, not to a flying post but to be the Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General at the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force in France. In early 1915 he was granted a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel and posted as the Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General of the 2nd Cavalry Division.

From July 1915 onwards, Ellington served as a staff officer first with the 2nd Army, then with the Department of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and on the General Staff of the VIII Corps after that. In November 1917 he was made the Deputy Director-General of Military Aeronautics under John Salmond at the War Office. When Salmond's time as director came to an end, Ellington succeeded him as Director-General.

In April 1918 Ellington transferred to the Royal Air Force on its creation, with the temporary rank of brigadier-general. However only days later he was promoted to major-general (again temporarily) and appointed Acting Controller-General of Equipment. He became substantive in the post in August 1918.

Inter-war years

Ellington was Air Officer Commanding RAF Middle East from 1922 to 1923, Air Officer Commanding RAF India from 1923 to 1926 and Air Officer Commanding RAF Iraq from 1926 to 1928. He became Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Air Defence of Great Britain in February 1929 and was promoted air marshal in July that year. The Air Member for Personnel from September 1931, he was promoted air chief marshal on 1 January 1933.

In May 1933 Ellington was appointed Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir John Salmond, who was acting in the role following the sudden death of his brother Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond, who had become CAS in April.[1] Ellington was promoted marshal of the Royal Air Force on 1 January 1937.

Following completion of his term as CAS in August 1937, Ellington became Inspector-General of the RAF. It was in his capacity as Inspector-General that in 1938 Ellington visited Australia to investigate standards in the Royal Australian Air Force. His report strongly criticized the RAAF's operational capability and safety standards.[2] Following the publication of the report in July 1938, the Australian Government dismissed Air Vice Marshal Richard Williams from his post as RAAF Chief of the Air Staff.[3] In July 1939 Ellington was augmented in his post as Inspector-General by Air Marshal Sir Charles Burnett, who would become the RAAF's Chief of the Air Staff in 1940.[3][4]

Ellington retired shortly after the start of World War II, on 4 April 1940, and died on 13 June 1967.


  1. ^ Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond at Air of Authority. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  2. ^ 2003 History Conference - Air War Europe: The Empire Air Training Scheme at Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  3. ^ a b Weston, "History and Achievements Guiding Defence and Aviation Policy", pp.11-12
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34641, p. 4452, 30 June 1939. Retrieved on 2007-12-30.


Military offices
Preceded by
John Salmond
Director-General of Military Aeronautics
18 January 1918 – c. April 1918
Post disestablished
Preceded by
W S Brancker
RAF Controller-General of Equipment
Acting Controller-General of Equipment from 10 April 1918
Post renamed Director-General of Aircraft Production and Research in February 1919
Post renamed Director-General of Supply and Research on 1 April 1919

22 August 1918 – 23 February 1922
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Air Officer Commanding Middle East Area
AOC Middle East from 1 April 1922

1922 – 1923
Succeeded by
Oliver Swann
Preceded by
P W Game
Air Officer Commanding RAF India
Succeeded by
W G H Salmond
Preceded by
Sir John Higgins
Air Officer Commanding Iraq Command
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
Preceded by
Francis Rowland Scarlett
Commander-in-Chief Air Defence of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Preceded by
Sir Tom Webb-Bowen
Air Member for Personnel
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Bowhill
Preceded by
Sir John Salmond
Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
The Lord Newall
Preceded by
Sir Robert Brooke-Popham
Inspector-General of the RAF
1937 – 1939
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Burnett


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