Laurence Sinclair

  (Redirected from Laurence Frank Sinclair)

Air Vice Marshal Sir Laurence Frank Sinclair, GC, KCB, CBE, DSO & Bar (13 June 1908 – 14 May 2002) was a Royal Air Force officer who was awarded the George Cross for rescuing a severely injured airman from a crashed and burning plane.

Sir Laurence Sinclair
Royal Air Force Operations in the Middle East and North Africa, 1939-1943. CNA903.jpg
Air Commondore Sinclair escorts King George VI while inspecting an RAF Regiment guard of honour, at Hammamet, Tunisia, 1943.
Born(1908-06-13)13 June 1908
Died14 May 2002(2002-05-14) (aged 93)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1926–60
RankAir Vice Marshal
Commands heldJoint Services Staff College (1958–60)
British Forces Aden (1955–57)
School of Land/Air Warfare (1952–53)
Royal Air Force College Cranwell (1950–52)
No. 2 Group (1948–49)
RAF Gutersloh (1947–48)
Tactical Bomber Force (1943)
No. 323 Wing (1942–43)
No. 110 Squadron (1940–41)
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsGeorge Cross
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)

RAF careerEdit

Sinclair joined the Royal Air Force as a cadet at the RAF College in 1926.[1] He served in the Second World War and was appointed Officer Commanding No. 110 Squadron in 1940.[1] The event that led to him being awarded the George Cross took place on 30 September 1941 at RAF Wattisham in Suffolk.[2] Unfortunately the co-pilot, Sergeant S. Walters, later died of his injuries.[3] The pilot, Sergeant John Edwin Merrett died instantly upon impact. The only other crew member to survive was the navigator, Flight Sergeant Anthony George Byron. Sinclair continued his war service as Senior Air Staff Officer at No. 6 Group and then at No. 91 Group.[1] He became Officer Commanding No. 323 Wing in 1943 and then became Air Officer Commanding the Tactical Bomber Force and then Senior Air Staff Officer for the Balkan Air Force.[1]

After the war he became Director of Postings (Selection) at the Air Ministry and then attended the Imperial Defence College before being appointed Senior Air Staff Officer No. 84 Group in 1947.[1] He was made Station Commander at RAF Gutersloh later that year, Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group in 1948 and Assistant Commandant at RAF Cranwell in 1949.[1] He went on to be Commandant of the School of Land / Air Warfare in 1952, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in 1953 and Air Officer Commanding British Forces Aden in 1955.[1] His last appointment was as Commandant of the Joint Services Staff College in 1958 before retiring in 1960.[1]

In retirement he became the first Controller (Chief Executive) of the UK's National Air Traffic Control Services (NATCS).[1] His medal is on display at the Victoria & George Cross Gallery in London's Imperial War Museum.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Vice Marshal Sir Laurence Sinclair
  2. ^ Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – GC Holders Archived 7 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "No. 35048". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 January 1941. p. 403.
Military offices
Title last held by
Anthony Paxton in 1947
Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group
Succeeded by
The Earl of Bandon
Preceded by
George Beamish
Commandant Royal Air Force College Cranwell
Succeeded by
Henry Eeles
Preceded by
Sidney Bufton
Air Officer Commanding British Forces Aden
Succeeded by
Maurice Heath