Richard Williams

Chief of Air Force (australia)
Born Aug 3, 1890

Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams KBE, CB, DSO is widely regarded as the "father" of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He was the first military pilot trained in Australia, and went on to command Australian and British fighter units in World War I. A proponent for air power independent of other branches of the armed services, Williams played a leading role in the establishment of the RAAF and became its first Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in 1922.… Read More

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1890 Birth Born on August 3, 1890.


1909 18 Years Old He enlisted in a militia unit, the South Australian Infantry Regiment, in 1909 at the age of nineteen.


1911 20 Years Old Commissioned a second lieutenant on 8 March 1911, he joined the Permanent Military Forces the following year. … Read More
1917 26 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Williams completed his RFC attachment in February 1917.
1919 28 Years Old Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1919 New Year Honours, Williams served as Staff Officer, Aviation, at Australian Imperial Force (AIF) headquarters in London, before returning to Australia and taking up the position of Director of Air Services at Army Headquarters, Melbourne. … Read More
1920 29 Years Old Upon establishment of the Australian Air Board on 9 November 1920, Williams and his fellow AAC officers dropped their army ranks in favour of those based on the Royal Air Force. … Read More


1921 - 1922 2 More Events
1924 33 Years Old 1 More Event
He had visited the Irvin Air Chute Company while in the US during 1924 and recommended purchase at the time, but a backlog of orders for the RAF meant that the Australian equipment took almost two years to arrive. … Read More
1926 35 Years Old In 1926, Williams mandated the use of parachutes for all RAAF aircrew.
1927 36 Years Old Williams was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1927 King's Birthday Honours in recognition of the achievement, and promoted to air commodore on 1 July the same year. … Read More


1932 41 Years Old According to Williams, only after 1932 was the independence of the Air Force assured.
1933 42 Years Old Williams again handed over the reins of CAS to Goble in 1933 to attend the Imperial Defence College in London, resuming his position in June 1934.
1935 44 Years Old His promotion to air vice marshal on 1 January 1935 belatedly raised him to the equivalent rank of his fellow Chiefs of Staff in the Army and Navy. … Read More
1936 45 Years Old Williams encouraged the local aircraft industry as a means to further the self-sufficiency of the Air Force and Australian aviation in general. He played a personal part in the creation of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in November 1936, headed up by former Squadron Leader Lawrence Wackett, late of the RAAF's Experimental Section. … Read More
1937 46 Years Old A series of mishaps with Hawker Demons at the end of 1937, which resulted in one pilot dying and four injured, subjected the Air Force to harsh public criticism.
1939 48 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1939 Williams was dismissed from his post as CAS and "effectively banished overseas", following publication of the Ellington Report that January. … Read More
1940 49 Years Old Goble had succeeded Williams as Chief of the Air Staff for the last time but clashed with the Federal government over implementation of the Empire Air Training Scheme and stepped down in early 1940. … Read More


1942 51 Years Old When Air Chief Marshal Burnett completed his term in 1942, Williams was once more considered for the role of CAS. … Read More


1954 63 Years Old …  He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1954 New Year Honours, the year before he retired from the Director-Generalship of Civil Aviation. … Read More
1977 86 Years Old In 1977, Williams published his memoirs, These Are Facts, described in 2001 as "immensely important if idiosyncratic... the only substantial, worthwhile record of service ever written by an RAAF chief of staff". Sir Richard Williams died in Melbourne on 7 February 1980. … Read More
1980 90 Years Old Died on February 7, 1980.
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