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Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard

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Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard
Trenchard in RAF full dress
NicknameThe Camel (1890s)
Boom (c. 1912 onwards)
Born(1873-02-03)3 February 1873
Taunton, England
Died10 February 1956(1956-02-10) (aged 83)
London, England
Buried atRAF Chapel, Westminster Abbey
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army (1893–1918)
Royal Flying Corps (1918–1930)
RankMarshal of the Royal Air Force
Commands held23rd Mounted Infantry Regiment (acting)
Royal Flying Corps in the Field
Chief of the Air Staff
Independent Air Force
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
World War I
World War II (semi-officially)
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Member of the Order of Merit
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (Full list)
Other workCommissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Chairman of the United Africa Company
Portrait of Trenchard by William Orpen, 13 May 1917

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard GCB OM GCVO DSO (3 February 1873 – 10 February 1956) was a British Army officer who commanded the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from August 1915 to January 1918. The RFC was followed by the Royal Air Force (RAF), which was founded in March 1918.

Trenchard, who learnt to fly in 1912, eventually became Chief of the Air Staff in 1919. In that position he reorganised the Air Ministry, and laid the foundations of the Royal Air Force.[1][2]

Trenchard was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 1931 to 1935. The Commissioner is the highest ranking police officer in the United Kingdom, despite the fact that his authority is generally confined to Greater London.

Career[change | change source]

As a boy Trenchard found learning difficult. He failed many tests and only just got into the British Army as an officer. Trenchard first went to India with the Army and he then asked to go to South Africa because he wanted to fight in the Boer War. During the fighting, Trenchard was shot in the chest and became unable to walk properly because of damage to his back. He returned to England where a doctor told him to go to Switzerland because the air was better than in England. Trenchard became bored and started to bobsleigh. After crashing on a fast bend, Trenchard was able to walk properly - because his back was fixed. After his health got better still, Trenchard returned to the war in South Africa.

In 1912, Trenchard learned to fly and joined the Royal Flying Corps. He became the second most important man at the Central Flying School in England and had several important jobs in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. Trenchard was the man in charge of the Royal Flying Corps in France from 1915 to 1917. In 1918, he was the first man in charge of the Royal Air Force for a short time. He then went back to France to take over the Royal Air Force bombing attacks on Germany. Winston Churchill put him back in charge of the Royal Air Force in 1919. Over the next 10 years, Trenchard started Air Force training bases and made sure that it was used to enforce the law in parts of the British Empire. In the 1930s Trenchard was in charge of the London's police force (the Metropolitan Police) and as an older man he argued for keeping a big RAF. In modern times, some people say that Trenchard was one of the first people to argue for strategic bombing.

References[change | change source]

  1. Orange, Vincent 2004. Trenchard, Hugh Montague, first Viscount Trenchard (1873–1956). In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  2. Lyall, Gavin 2005. Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Viscount Trenchard. In Field Marshal the Lord Carver (ed). The War Lords: military commanders of the twentieth century. Leo Cooper. pp. 176 to 187. ISBN 978-1-84415-308-4

Other websites[change | change source]