Sir Philip Bennet Joubert de la Ferte

(1887—1965) air force officer

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(1887–1965), British air force officer who served as air adviser to Combined Operations and then as Assistant Chief of Air Staff responsible for the practical application of radar in the RAF. Its subsequent vital role in the UK's contribution to the air war was largely due to his early recognition of its potential. In June 1941 he was promoted air chief marshal and appointed C-in-C of Coastal Command, a post he had held before the war. His principal task was combating the U-boat in the battle of the Atlantic. Up to that time Coastal Command had shared in the destruction of only two U-boats; by February 1943 when he relinquished his command it had sunk 27. He reduced the mid-Atlantic air gap significantly; centralized his command to maximize the use of scarce resources; saw the introduction of the Torpex filled depth-charge (see explosives and anti-submarine weapons) and an accurate low-level bombsight with which to deliver it; and, after initially rejecting it, encouraged the development of the Leigh Light (seesearchlights). But he was a controversial figure whose battles with the Admiralty over the employment of air power at sea eventually resulted in his being appointed InspectorGeneral of the RAF before virtual victory in the Atlantic was achieved. He retired in October 1943 but was almost immediately recalled to serve in South-East Asia Command as one of Mountbatten's deputy chiefs of staff. He was knighted in 1938.

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

Subjects: Second World War.

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