David Evans

Senior Royal Australian Air Force Commander
Born Jun 3, 1925

Air Marshal David Evans, AC, DSO, AFC is a retired senior commander of the Royal Australian Air Force, and a writer and consultant on defence matters. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1982 until 1985. Since leaving the RAAF he has published two military treatises, A Fatal Rivalry: Australia's Defence at Risk and War: A Matter of Principles, as well as an autobiography.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of David Evans.


1925 Birth Selwyn Evans, known by his middle name of David, was born in the Sydney suburb of Paddington on 3 June 1925. … Read More


1941 16 Years Old He subsequently became one of the earliest recruits to the Air Training Corps, established in 1941 to facilitate basic training for youths aged 16 to 18 whose ambition was to become aircrew in the Royal Australian Air Force. … Read More
1944 19 Years Old After graduating as a sergeant pilot, he was posted in October 1944 to the flying staff of No. 1 Air Observer School at Evans Head, New South Wales. … Read More


1945 20 Years Old He found a sympathetic ear and within days was transferred to No. 38 Squadron, with which he flew C-47 Dakota transports on a regular courier service to Japan between October 1945 and May 1948.
1947 22 Years Old 1 More Event
…  He gained his commission as a pilot officer in 1947. … Read More
1948 23 Years Old On 23 August 1948 he married Dorothy (Gail) Campbell, the daughter of a Merchant Navy captain; the couple had three daughters and a son. … Read More
1949 24 Years Old Returning to Australia in November 1949, Evans was posted to Central Flying School (CFS) at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria, where he qualified as a flying instructor.
1951 26 Years Old He served in this capacity for the next four years, including an exchange posting with the Royal New Zealand Air Force from May 1951 to July 1953. … Read More


1957 - 1959 3 More Events
1960 35 Years Old He underwent further training on Canberra bombers with No. 1 Operational Conversion Unit at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, graduating in May 1960.
1962 37 Years Old From then until 1962 he served as a flight commander in No. 2 Squadron, operating Canberras out of RAAF Base Butterworth, Malaysia. … Read More
1963 38 Years Old 1 More Event
In January 1963, Evans was transferred to Air Staff Division, Canberra, where he helped formulate operational requirements for a new RAAF bomber. … Read More


1965 - 1968 3 More Events
1969 44 Years Old Evans was promoted to group captain in January 1969 and appointed Director of Air Force Plans. … Read More
1972 47 Years Old He completed studies at the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, in 1972.
1973 48 Years Old Returning to Australia, he was promoted to air commodore and appointed Director-General Plans and Policy, Air Force, in January 1973.


1975 50 Years Old 1 More Event
Evans held senior staff positions in the early 1970s, before serving as Officer Commanding RAAF Base Amberley from 1975 until 1977. … Read More
1978 53 Years Old He held this newly created position for the next two years, broken by a temporary posting as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff between January and August 1978. As CAFOPS, Evans played a major part in developing the RAAF's plans for the defence of Australia. Following America's announcement in the 1969 Guam Doctrine that its allies would have to assume greater self-reliance in their military affairs, Australia's strategic thought underwent a change from its earlier policy of "forward defence" to a more localised defensive posture. … Read More
1981 56 Years Old 1 More Event
Evans was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia on 26 January 1981 for his achievements as CAFOPS. … Read More
1982 57 Years Old 1 More Event
He was promoted to air marshal and became Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) on 21 April 1982, succeeding Air Marshal Sir Neville McNamara. … Read More


1985 60 Years Old 1 More Event
On 2 May 1985, he became the first serving member of the ADF to be invited to speak at the National Press Club in Canberra. … Read More
1986 - 1990 3 More Events
1997 72 Years Old From 1997 until 2003, he was chairman of the National Capital Authority, and from 1999 until 2003 was national president of the Royal United Services Institute Australia. … Read More
1998 73 Years Old He was one of three former members of Australia's Berlin Airlift squadron to be specially honoured by the City of Berlin on the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Blockade in 1998.
2001 76 Years Old In January 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for "service to Australian society through Australian Defence Force and to the Canberra community".
2005 80 Years Old He was chairman of the 60th Anniversary Victory in the Pacific Steering Committee in 2005.
2011 86 Years Old His autobiography, Down to Earth, was launched on 19 July 2011 by former Prime Minister John Howard at Old Parliament House, Canberra.
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