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Robert George (RAF officer): Wikis


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Air Vice Marshal Sir
 Robert Allingham George 

Sir Robert George (left) at Roxby Downs in 1953

In office
23 February 1953 – 7 March 1960
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Sir Thomas Playford
Preceded by Sir Willoughby Norrie
Succeeded by Sir Edric Bastyan

Nationality British
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914 – 1952
Rank Air Vice Marshal
Commands RAF Hawkinge
No. 33 Squadron
No. 100 Squadron
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Military Cross

Air Vice Marshal Sir Robert Allingham George KCMG, KCVO, KBE, CB, MC (27 July 1896 – 13 September 1967) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force and Governor of South Australia from 23 February 1953 until 7 March 1960. He was born in the County of Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, on July 25th, 1896, and educated at Invergordon and Inverness. In May, 1927, he married Sybil Elizabeth Baldwin.


Military career

When the First World War began in 1914, he enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders and was sent to France. He was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was awarded the Military Cross for his night bombing. In 1919 he was appointed to a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force. He also served in India (1919-24).

George later served in Singapore (1934-37), Ankara (1939-44), Athens (1939-41), Iraq and Persia (1944-45), and was air attaché, Paris, from 1945. He was appointed C.B.E. in 1944 and C.B. in 1948, promoted to substantive air vice-marshal in 1950 and knighted in 1952 upon his retirement from the Air Force.

Governor of South Australia

Sir Robert was appointed Governor of South Australia in August 1952. He and Lady George arrived in Adelaide early the following year. The Premier, (Sir) Thomas Playford, noted in his welcome address to Sir Robert that governors were expected to be "an inspiration in times of danger." He could not have known how portentous his words would turn out to be. In March 1954, the worst earthquake in Adelaide's history damaged Government House, along with many other buildings in the city. Less than a year later, the Governor's summer residence at Marble Hill was destroyed in the Black Sunday Bushfires of January 1955. He and his wife and staff sheltered under wet blankets in the driveway, and were lucky to escape with their lives. In a particularly cruel twist of fate, all Sir Robert and Lady George's possessions were lost in the fire, having been relocated to Marble Hill while Government House was undergoing repairs for the damage suffered in the earthquake.

Sir Robert was a colourful governor, once demanding a personal helicopter from Premier Playford. Although admired for his bravery, Sir Robert was considered old-fashioned by the masses, particularly due to his impatience, polo-playing, and his habit of carrying a fly-whisk and a cane. Lady George's support of traditional family roles was not popular with the emerging feminists; once, while opening laboratories at a girls' college, she claimed: "The most important thing for a girl is to learn how to run a home well."

Despite their differences, Playford supported George and the dignity of the Vice-Regal post in a 1956 court case regarding the cook's wages. The prosecuting lawyer was future Labor premier Don Dunstan. Playford negotiated an out of court settlement on condition that the sitting Labor members would not debate the item. Labor maverick S. J. Lawn did not honour the agreement, and tried to raise a public scandal. Playford simply extended George's term.


George and his family retired to England in 1959. He died on September 13, 1967, after being hit by a car.



Military offices
Preceded by
R P Willock
Air Officer Commanding Air HQ Iraq and Persia
Succeeded by
S C Strafford
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir C Willoughby Norrie
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Edric Bastyan


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