Sholto Douglas

Sholto Douglas

Sholto Douglas

Sir William Sholto Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside, GCB, MC, DFC (born 23 December 1893 in Headington, Oxfordshire (England), † 29 October 1969 in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent (England)) was a British officer of the Royal Air Force , last Marshal of the Royal Air Force. Sholto Douglas served from 1946 to 1947 as a military governor in the British zone of occupation in postwar Germany.


Douglas was born as the son of the professor and art critic Robert Langton Douglas. He was educated at private schools in London and Tonbridge and Lincoln College, Oxford University.

At the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and in 1915 was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, where he was first employed as an observer. After a pilot training he served as a fighter pilot and commander of the war ended several seasons and finally the no.22 Wing. For his service in the First World War he was awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross and was three times Mentioned in Despatches.

After the war he attended the first course in the new RAF Staff College in 1927 and graduated from the Imperial Defence College. Subsequently, he served in staff assignments in Sudan and as a teacher at the Imperial Defence College. In 1938 he became Assistant Chief of the Air Staff and in April 1940, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.

During the Battle of Britain, and as a result of the Big Wing controversy Douglas was appointed the successor of Charles Portal Hugh Dowding as Commander in Chief of RAF Fighter Command in November 1940.

In January 1943 took over from Douglas Arthur Tedder as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the Middle East Command. After a year in this position, he was commander of RAF Coastal Command. After the war he was in July 1945, the first commander of the British Air Forces of Occupation and 1 May 1946 Commander in Chief of all British forces of occupation and military governor of the British zone of occupation in Germany. His promotion to Marshal of the Royal Air Force took place on 1 Januar 1946. He was next to Arthur Harris, the only British officer in the rank which was not previously or simultaneously also Chief of the Air Staff.

Douglas to his replacement by Brian Robertson in November 1947 and his elevation to the peerage as 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside, of Dornock, county Dumfries early 1948 operated in the private sector, including the Board of Directors of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and as chairman of British European Airways (BEA) and Horizon Travel Associates Ltd.. From 1956 to 1957 he was also President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Douglas led three marriages, the last of which emerged from a daughter. The title of Baron Douglas thus became extinct at Douglas’ death.

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Person in WWII (United Kingdom)

Person in the First World War (UK)

Person (British zone)


Born in 1893

Died in 1969


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