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Sir Robert Moore Brooke Popham

(1878—1953) air force officer


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(1878–1953), British airman who returned to the RAF in 1939 after serving as governor and C-in-C Kenya. He led the mission to Canada which helped form the British Empire Air Training Scheme, and then went to South Africa to help that country form its own air training scheme. In October 1940 he was appointed to the newly created post of C-in-C Far East. This made him responsible to the British Chiefs of Staff for the defences of Singapore, Malaya, Burma, British Borneo, and Hong Kong. His appointment, which ‘was designed to solve the problem of co-ordinating the defence of that area, did little more than add another cog to an already somewhat complex machine. Since control of naval forces was excluded, there were two Commanders-in-Chief in Singapore, each responsible to a different authority in London. The Governors of the Straits Settlements [see Malaya, Hong Kong, and Burma] received their policy directives from the Colonial Office while, for the administration and financing of local defence, the General Officers Commanding, Malaya, Hong Kong, and Burma, continued to be responsible to the War Office, and the Air Officer Commanding, Far East, to the Air Ministry’ (S. W. Kirby, The War Against Japan, Vol. 1, London, 1957, p. 51).

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From The Oxford Companion to World War II in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Second World War.


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