Norman Bottomley

Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Howard Bottomley, KCB, CIE, DSO, AFC (18 September 1891 – 13 August 1970) was the successor to Arthur 'Bomber' Harris as Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command in 1945.

Sir Norman Bottomley
Born(1891-09-18)18 September 1891
Ripponden, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died13 August 1970(1970-08-13) (aged 78)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army (1914–18)
Royal Air Force (1918–48)
Years of service1914–48
RankAir Chief Marshal
Commands heldInspector-General of the RAF (1947)
Bomber Command (1945–47)
No. 5 Group (1940–41)
No. 1 (Indian) Group (1934–38)
No. 4 Squadron (1928–30)
Battles/warsFirst World War
Waziristan campaign
Second World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire[1]
Distinguished Service Order[2]
Air Force Cross[3]
Mentioned in Despatches (5)
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Other workDirector of Administration at the BBC (1948–56)

RAF careerEdit

Born in Ripponden, West Riding of Yorkshire, Bottomley was educated at Halifax School and the University of Rennes in Brittany before being commissioned into the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1914 during the First World War.[4] He served with his Regiment until transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915 and becoming a pilot with No. 47 Squadron.[4]

Between the wars, Bottomley's appointments included service in the Middle East and the command of No. 4 (AC) Squadron RAF from 1928 and No. 1 (Indian) Group from 1934.[4] Bottomley was Senior Air Staff Officer at Bomber Command headquarters between 1938 and 1940, continuing in that role at the start of the Second World War, and was then appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group in November 1940.[4] He was moved to Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in 1941 and then Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in 1942 before reverting to Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in 1943.[4] On 15 September 1945, he followed Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris as Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command, retaining command until 16 January 1947.[4]

Bottomley became Inspector-General of the RAF in 1947 and retired on 1 January 1948.[4]

From 1948 until 1956, he held the post of director of administration at the BBC, acting as director general when Sir Ian Jacob was away.[5]


  1. ^ "No. 34396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1937. p. 3083.
  2. ^ "No. 34465". The London Gazette. 21 December 1937. p. 8001.
  3. ^ "No. 30989". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 November 1918. p. 12957.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Bottomley". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  5. ^ Low Conspiracy? – Government interference in the BBC1

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Arthur Harris
Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group
Succeeded by
John Slessor
Preceded by
Arthur Harris
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff
From 3 May 1942 to 30 July 1943 the post was titled Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations)

Succeeded by
Sir Albert Durston
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Harris
Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Saunders
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Barratt
Inspector-General of the RAF
Succeeded by
Sir George Pirie