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Charles John Thomson
7 June 1941 (1941-06-07)10 July 1994 (1994-07-11)
Place of death The hospital at RAF Halton
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1959 - 1994
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held No. 1 Group
Support Command
Strike Command
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Air Force Cross

Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles John Thomson GCB, CBE, AFC usually Sir John Thomson (7 June 1941 – 10 July 1994) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force.


Early life

Educated at Campbell College in Belfast, Northern Ireland,[1 ] Thomson entered RAF College, Cranwell in 1959.

Military Service

Thomson was commissioned, in 1962, into the RAF.[1 ]

Notably he served as Officer Commanding No. 41 Squadron in 1976 and Officer Commanding RAF Bruggen in 1981.

In 1987 he was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group and in 1989 he became Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. He became Commander-in-Chief Support Command in 1991. He was Commander-in-Chief Strike Command from 4 November 1992 to 30 June 1994.

In July 1994 he became the first Commander in Chief of the new NATO command, Allied Forces North-western Europe. However, only days after taking up this post he became ill and rushed to hospital at RAF Halton. On 10 July 1994 aged 53 he died. [2]

Sir John Thomson Memorial Sword

The Sir John Thomson Memorial Sword commemorates him. Sir John was a leading member and strong supporter of the Air Squadron and regularly flew cadets on Air Squadron Day and on Air Experience Flights. The Sword is awarded each year to the cadet judged to be the Best in the CCF (RAF). Cadets, who will commonly be the most senior in their schools contingent will have to demonstrate the highest level of CCF commitment and involvement, during their time in the CCF and will also be highly regarded within the school/college. Nominations are called for in November of each year. Of those recommended by either their Contingent Commander or RAF Section Commander, six would be chosen for a final interview with Wing Commander CCF in either late January or early February as a result of which a winner would be chosen. Results are made public in late March and the Sword is awarded at the Air Squadron Day celebrations at the end of the summer term. All six finalists, who would all attend the parade on Air Squadron Day, would be awarded a Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Foundation Medal for CCF Achievement in recognition of getting that far. [3]


Military offices
Preceded by
M G Simmons
Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group
1987 – 1989
Succeeded by
R A F Wilson
Preceded by
M G Simmons
Assistant Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
T Garden
Preceded by
Sir Michael Graydon
Commander-in-Chief Support Command
Succeeded by
Sir John Willis
Preceded by
Sir Michael Graydon
Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Johns
New title
Command established
Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces North West Europe
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Johns


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