John Salmond: Wikis


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John Maitland Salmond
17 July 1881(1881-07-17) – 16 April 1968 (aged 86)
Sir John Salmond in 1925.jpg
Air Marshal Sir John Salmond in 1925
Place of birth London, England
Place of death Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army (1901-1918)
 Royal Air Force (1918-1943)
Rank Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Battles/wars Second Boer War
World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath

Companion of The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order and Bar

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Maitland Salmond GCB CMG CVO DSO and Bar RAF (17 July 1881 – 16 April 1968) was a British military officer who rose to high rank in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. During the first half of the 20th century he was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force, serving as General Officer Commanding the RAF in France in 1918 and the Air Officer Commanding British Forces in Iraq in the early 1920s when he dealt with a Kurdish uprising and a Turkish invasion. Most notably, he was Chief of the Air Staff from 1930 to 1933.


Early and family life

John Salmond was born the son of Major-General Sir William Salmond in 1881. He grew up the youngest child amongst three sisters and a brother Geoffrey. His education followed the traditional pattern for those of his class in the 1880s. After first being taught by a series of governesses he then attended Miss Dixon's School in Thurloe Square, London. At the age of nine Salmond was sent to Aysgarth Preparatory School in Yorkshire. In 1894, he went up to Wellington College and in 1900 he attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

In 1913, Salmond travelled to Scotland and married Helen Joy Lumsden, a daughter of James Forbes Lumsden from Aberdeen. Less than three years later, Helen Salmond died whilst giving birth to their first child, a daughter whom John Salmond named Joy.

On 2 June 1924 Salmond married for the second time, this time to Monica Margaret Grenfell who was the elder daughter of William Grenfell, 1st Baron Desborough. John and Monica Salmond had a son and a daughter.

Military career before 1930

After Salmond graduated from Sandhurst in 1901, he was commissioned into the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He sailed for South Africa to join his unit which was engaged in the latter part of the Second Boer War. Salmond was eager for adventure but saw no real action and found the war rather dull.

In 1902 he applied for a secondment to the West African Frontier Force but was turned down on the grounds that he was too young. Salmond re-applied the following year and this time was accepted, spending the next year in Nigeria. Salmond's time in Africa was cut short as he was pronounced medically unfit and returned to England.

Salmond learnt to fly in 1912. During World War I he commanded several Royal Flying Corps units and formations, serving as a squadron, wing and brigade commander. In 1917 he was appointed Director-General of Military Aeronautics at the War Office.[1] Salmond was then appointed General Officer Commanding the Royal Flying Corps in the Field. Upon the creation of the Royal Air Force, he became General Officer Commanding the RAF in the Field. From 1923 to 1924 he was in charge of Iraq Command,[2] using aircraft to suppress uprisings. This was a new role for aircraft. At the time King Feisal was the British-sponsored ruler of Iraq. When King Feisal's troops rebelled, they were bombed.[3]

At the start of 1929, Salmond was promoted to air chief marshal[4] and appointed Air Member for Personnel, taking a seat on the Air Council at the same time.[5]

As Chief of the Air Staff

On 1 January 1930 Air Chief Marshal Salmond was appointed Chief of the Air Staff. As Trenchard's successor, Salmond also believed in keeping the RAF as an independent force. On 1 January 1933 Salmond was promoted to Marshal of the Royal Air Force and he relinquished the post of Chief of the Air Staff on 1 April 1933. John Salmond was succeeded by his older brother, Air Chief Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond. However, only 27 days later, Geoffrey Salmond died and John Salmond was temporarily re-appointed as Chief of the Air Staff. He finally stood down on 22 May 1933.

Later years

MRAF Sir John Salmond

During the Second World War, Salmond was Director of Armament Production at the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He resigned this appointment in 1941 after clashing with Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production. Salmond then accepted the appointment as Director-General of Flying Control and Air Sea Rescue. Ill heath forced Salmond to retire in 1943 although he remained in close contact with the Service in the following years. Salmond was President of the RAF Club for 23 years and regularly appeared at major RAF events.

Salmond died in 1968 aged 86 at Eastbourne, Sussex. He was survived by his second wife and three children.


  1. ^ The organisation and function of the War Office, The Long, Long Trail - The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918. Retrieved on 19 January 2007.
  2. ^ British Forces in Iraq 1921-1955, - Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth. Retrieved on 19 January 2007.
  3. ^ Air Power in Small Wars - the British air control experience, United States Air Force, Air University, Air and Space Power Journal. Retrieved on 19 January 2007.
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 33453, p. 71, 1 January 1929.
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 33453, p. 72, 1 January 1929.

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
E B Ashmore
Officer Commanding the Administrative Wing, RFC
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir David Henderson
Director-General of Military Aeronautics
18 October 1917 – 18 January 1918
Succeeded by
E L Ellington
Preceded by
H M Trenchard
General Officer Commanding the Royal Flying Corps in the Field
Post retitled GOC the RAF in the Field on 1 April 1918

18 January 1918 – 4 January 1919
Post disestablished
Preceded by
A E Borton
As Officer Commanding Iraq Group
Air Officer Commanding Iraq Command
1922 – 1924
Succeeded by
J F A Higgins
New title Commander-in-Chief Air Defence of Great Britain
1925 – 1928
Succeeded by
F R Scarlett
Preceded by
Sir Philip Game
Air Member for Personnel
1929 – 1930
Succeeded by
Sir Tom Webb-Bowen
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Trenchard
Chief of the Air Staff
1930 – 1933
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Salmond
Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Ellington


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