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Ten years at the top : an analysis of the role of Air Marshal Sir George Jones as Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Australian Air Force, 1942-1952

Helson, Peter, Humanities & Social Sciences, Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW

2006

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  • Title:
    Ten years at the top : an analysis of the role of Air Marshal Sir George Jones as Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Australian Air Force, 1942-1952
  • Author/Creator/Curator: Helson, Peter, Humanities & Social Sciences, Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW
  • Subjects: Royal Australian Air Force; Officers; biography; RAAF; Sir George Jones; Chief of Air Staff; management; administration; World War 1939-1945; W.H. Bostock
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2006
  • Language: English
  • Permissions: This work can be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
    Please see additional information at https://library.unsw.edu.au/copyright/for-researchers-and-creators/unsworks

  • Description: This thesis sets out to examine the proposition that Air Marshal Sir George JonesÂ’ time asChief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air force (RAAF) was bothbeneficial and detrimental to the Service but the benefits gained from his time in officeoutweighed the detriment.Sir George Jones served as CAS for nearly ten years (1942 - 1952). This was thelongest continuous appointment of a CAS to date. Jones was CAS for most of theSecond World War and it was during that time that the two events for which he is mostremembered occurred, viz the controversy surrounding his appointment and his ongoingconflict with the RAAF Operational Commander (W.D. Bostock).In order to assess his impact on the RAAF, this thesis describes events and incidentsthat occurred while Jones was CAS. To compile this work, data was drawn fromnumerous sources including: interviews with family members and ex-RAAF personnel;official records maintained by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), the RAAFHistorical Section and the RAAF Museum; JonesÂ’ personal papers held by familymembers and the Australian War Memorial; and the papers of other RAAF officers andpoliticians held by the RAAF Museum and the National Library of Australia (NLA).Jones wrote a brief autobiography, which (together with other secondary sources) wasused to “fill in the gaps.”This research shows that JonesÂ’ time as CAS was far more eventful and filled withmore conflict than he alludes to in his autobiography. He had no say in his appointmentas CAS but his personality did not allow him to make the best of the situation withBostock. Contrary to the views expressed in earlier works, JonesÂ’ appointment was not amistake but a deliberate move by the Minister for Air.The conclusion reached is that JonesÂ’ time in office was beneficial to the RAAF. Hepresided over its growth to being the worldÂ’s fourth largest air force at the end of theSecond World War. He oversaw its post war demobilisation and was responsible forplanning the ServiceÂ’s structure to meet the Australian GovernmentÂ’s needs during theearly years of the Cold War.

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