AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Ten years at the top : an analysis of the role of Air Marshal Sir George Jones as Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Australian Air Force, 1942-1952

by Peter Helson

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Year: 2006
Keywords: Royal Australian Air Force; Officers; biography; RAAF; Sir George Jones; Chief of Air Staff; management; administration; World War 1939-1945; W.H. Bostock
Record ID: 1071191
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/38729


This thesis sets out to examine the proposition that Air Marshal Sir George Jones’ time as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air force (RAAF) was both beneficial and detrimental to the Service but the benefits gained from his time in office outweighed the detriment. Sir George Jones served as CAS for nearly ten years (1942 - 1952). This was the longest continuous appointment of a CAS to date. Jones was CAS for most of the Second World War and it was during that time that the two events for which he is most remembered occurred, viz the controversy surrounding his appointment and his ongoing conflict with the RAAF Operational Commander (W.D. Bostock). In order to assess his impact on the RAAF, this thesis describes events and incidents that occurred while Jones was CAS. To compile this work, data was drawn from numerous sources including: interviews with family members and ex-RAAF personnel; official records maintained by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), the RAAF Historical Section and the RAAF Museum; Jones’ personal papers held by family members and the Australian War Memorial; and the papers of other RAAF officers and politicians held by the RAAF Museum and the National Library of Australia (NLA). Jones wrote a brief autobiography, which (together with other secondary sources) was used to “fill in the gaps.” This research shows that Jones’ time as CAS was far more eventful and filled with more conflict than he alludes to in his autobiography. He had no say in his appointment as CAS but his personality did not allow him to make the best of the situation with Bostock. Contrary to the views expressed in earlier works, Jones’ appointment was not a mistake but a deliberate move by the Minister for Air. The conclusion reached is that Jones’ time in office was beneficial to the RAAF. He presided over its growth to being the world’s fourth largest air force at the end of the Second World War. He oversaw its post war demobilisation and was responsible for planning the Service’s structure to meet the Australian Government’s needs during the early years of the Cold War.