John Barraclough (RAF officer)

Sir John Barraclough
Born (1918-05-02)2 May 1918
Died 10 May 2008(2008-05-10) (aged 90)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1935–1976
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Commandant Royal College of Defence Studies (1974–75)
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (1970–72)
No. 19 Group (1964–67)
RAF Middleton St. George (1957–58)
RAF Biggin Hill (1955–57)
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Force Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough KCB, CBE, DFC, AFC, OStJ, FRAeS (2 May 1918 – 10 May 2008) was a Royal Air Force pilot during the Second World War who went on to become Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

Early life

Barraclough was born on 2 May 1918. He was educated at Cranbrook School, in Cranbrook, Kent.

Military career

Barraclough joined the Artists Rifles in 1935.[1] He was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1938.[1]

Barraclough served in the Second World War flying maritime patrol aircraft.[1] On 29 October 1940, it was gazetted that he was promoted to flying officer on 3 September 1940.[2] However, on 14 January 1941, this was substituted for the granting of the war substantive rank of flying officer back dated to 12 August 1940.[3] He was promoted to war substantive flight lieutenant on 12 August 1941.[4] By February 1943, he was an acting squadron leader and flying with No. 209 Squadron RAF which was stationed in East Africa.[5] On 14 March 1943, he was promoted to flight lieutenant.[6] By the end of 1945, he was an acting wing commander.[7]

He became Commanding Officer of RAF Biggin Hill in 1955 and of RAF Middleton St. George in 1957.[1] In 1958 he took charge of Operations and Training at Headquarters Far East Air Force.[1]

He became Director of Public Relations for the RAF in 1961 and Air Officer Commanding No. 19 Group RAF in 1964.[1] He then became Air Officer Administration for Bomber Command in 1967 and for Strike Command in 1968.[1] In 1970 he became Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff and in 1972 he was made Air Secretary.[1] His last appointment was as Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1974.[1]

He was appointed Honorary Inspector-General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force on 1 January 1984.[8]


In 1946 he married Maureen McCormack and they went on to have one daughter.[9]

Honours and decorations

Barraclough was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 16 February 1943 "for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations".[5] It was gazetted in the 1946 New Year Honours, that he had been Mentioned in Despatches.[7]

He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1969 New Year Honours.[10]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough
  2. The London Gazette: no. 34982. p. 6255. 29 October 1940. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 35042. p. 275. 14 January 1941. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 35292. p. 5659. 30 September 1941. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  5. 1 2 The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35904. p. 815. 12 February 1943. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 36041. p. 2568. 1 June 1943. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  7. 1 2 The London Gazette: no. 37407. pp. 88–90. 28 December 1945. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49625. p. 1052. 23 January 1984. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  9. Sir John Barraclough Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2008
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44740. p. 3. 20 December 1968. Retrieved 20 September 2012.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Ian Hogg
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Sir John Gibbon
Preceded by
Sir Gareth Clayton
Air Secretary
Succeeded by
Sir Derek Hodgkinson
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Read
Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies
Succeeded by
Sir Ian Easton
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Desmond Dreyer
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Burgess
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