(William) Sholto Douglas

(1893—1969) air force officer

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(1893–1969), British airman and First World War fighter ace who subsequently worked as a commercial pilot before rejoining in 1920 what by then had become the RAF. By 1938 he had risen to the rank of air vice-marshal and during the battle of Britain served as deputy chief of air staff. He was, contrary to Fighter Command's C-in-C, Dowding, a proponent of the ‘Big Wing’ (see fighters, 2) and, as he was then the only fighter pilot among the senior members of the air staff, his influence was considerable. The Big Wing was introduced; in November 1940 he succeeded Dowding with the rank of air marshal; and, besides opposing the German Blitz, he tried to retain the initiative by carrying out fighter sweeps across the Channel (see circuses and rhubarbs). He was promoted air chief marshal and in January 1943 was appointed AOC Middle East, a post he held for a year before succeeding Slessor as C-in-C Coastal Command. He was knighted in 1941 and promoted Marshal of the Royal Air Force in January 1946.

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

Subjects: Second World War.

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