Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough KCB CBE DFC AFC
Honorary Inspector-General Royal Auxiliary Air Force
John Barraclough was born at Hounslow on 2 May 1918 and educated at Cranbrook School. After three years’ volunteer service with the Artists’ Rifles while working in the City of London, in 1938, he was granted a four-year commission in the Royal Air Force to train as a pilot. Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough gave an exceptionally long period of devoted service to the Crown and to defence affairs; after serving in the Royal Air Force for 38 years. In retirement he conducted various studies for the Air Force Board and the Chiefs of Staff before becoming the Honorary Inspector-General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
On the outbreak of WW2 he converted to flying boats, and in 1940 operated with No 240 Squadron from the Shetland Islands. After a period flying anti-submarine patrols and convoy escorts off the west coast of Scotland, he was made chief instructor of the Flying Boat Conversion Unit at Invergordon, where he was awarded an AFC for developing innovative methods of operational training. In February 1942 he reformed No 209 Squadron, equipped with the Catalina flying boat, before leaving in June for the Indian Ocean to support the Eastern Fleet for the Madagascar campaign. Operating with the barest facilities from Comoro Island in the Mozambique Channel he was awarded a DFC for the greatest devotion to duty. Promoted to wing commander at the age of 24, he commanded the captured Italian airfield at Mogadishu, Somaliland, where Wellingtons conducted anti-submarine operations. On his return to Britain in May 1944 he became chief instructor at a flying-boat training unit and was mentioned in dispatches. At the end of the war Sir John was offered and accepted a permanent commission in the RAF.
As a staff officer at the headquarters of Training Command, he wrote an imaginative paper on using a basic jet aircraft for initial pilot training paving the way for the introduction into service of the long-serving Jet Provost aircraft. For his achievement in flying a single seat, single engine Vampire 10,000 miles in a round trip to Southern Rhodesia he was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. Important career postings followed including Director of Public Relations, Air Officer Commanding No 19 Group and Air Officer (Administration) of Bomber Command where he was instrumental in amalgamating Bomber, Fighter and Signals Command into the new Strike Command for which he was appointed CB. He served as the Air Secretary and Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. His final post before retiring from the RAF in 1978 was as Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies.
In 1976 he was appointed as an Honorary Air Commodore of No 3 (County of Devon) Maritime Headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and for 5 years he was the Honorary Inspector-General of the Force. Sir John was instrumental in persuading Her Majesty to agree to the award of a Colour to the Force, and in June 1989, 750 serving members of the RAuxAF paraded at RAF Benson on the occasion of the presentation of the Sovereign’s Colour for