Sir John Maitland Salmond

(1881—1968) air force officer

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(17 July 1881–16 April 1968). Air Marshal Sir John Salmond visited Australia from 26 June to 20 September 1928 at the request of the CAS, RAAF, Group Captain Richard Williams, then, as for most of the 1920s, fighting to preserve the independence of the Air Force against the other two services. Salmond's report was highly critical of the state of the RAAF: it was, he said, ‘totally unfit to undertake war operations’. To repair the deficiencies that he identified in training, equipment and conditions of service, he recommended a nine-year expansion program of modest proportions. Even that limited scheme was abandoned by the government within a year as the Depression forced major cuts in defence spending, although when the expansion of the RAAF did begin in 1934, it was along the lines recommended by Salmond. For Williams, who as CAS inevitably came in for considerable criticism in the wake of the report's publication, it had one positive feature: Salmond had written that ‘credit is due to those responsible for the great work achieved in bringing the Royal Australian Air Force to its present stage’. In the context of the poor rating of the RAAF by Salmond, that at least was a welcome endorsement of Williams's leadership.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Military History.

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