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Sir John Cotesworth Slessor

(1897—1979) air force officer


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(1897–1979), RAF officer who was head of the plans branch of the air staff in September 1939. In April 1941 he was appointed to command No. 5 Group, Bomber Command; a year later he returned to the air staff as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (policy); and in February 1943 succeeded Joubert as C-in-C Coastal Command at perhaps the most crucial phase in the battle of the Atlantic. Following the Washington Convoy conference in March he began to receive more very long-range aircraft and by May the mid-Atlantic air gap had been closed and the U-boats all but beaten. During his time at Coastal Command his aircraft, which now ranged from Iceland and the Faeroes to Gibraltar and the Azores, destroyed an average of seven U-boats a month. In January 1944 he was appointed C-in-C of all RAF forces in the Mediterranean and Middle East, and was Eaker's deputy in those theatres. In June 1944 he was responsible for forming the Balkan Air Force and ended the war as a member of the air council responsible for personnel. He was knighted in 1943.

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

Subjects: Second World War.


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