Hugh Dowding Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1882 – 1970 *** Full Name: Hugh Dowding was also known as Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding GCB, GCVO, CMG *** Hugh Dowding was nicknamed Stuffy *** Date of Birth (Birthday): He was born on April 24, 1882 *** Place of Birth: Hugh Dowding was born in Moffat, Scotland *** Family background: His father was Arthur John Caswall Dowding *** Early life and childhood: Hugh Dowding grew up and spent the majority of his childhood in Scotland *** Education: Hugh Dowding began his military training at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich *** Hugh Dowding died on February 15, 1970.
Hugh Dowding Fact 1: Hugh Dowding was born on April 24, 1882 at St. Ninian's Boys' Preparatory School in Moffat, Scotland.
Hugh Dowding Fact 2: His father was called Arthur John Caswall Dowding and he was a teacher. His mother's name was Maud Caroline Dowding.
Hugh Dowding Fact 3: Hugh Dowding became a famous British Royal Air Force officer known as Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding GCB, GCVO, CMG. His colleagues in the Royal Air Force nicknamed him 'Stuffy' as he apparently lacked a sense a humour.
Hugh Dowding Fact 4: He began his education at St Ninian's School in home town of Moffat, and continued his further education at Winchester College.
Hugh Dowding Fact 5: Hugh Dowding joined the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, London where he received his military training. In August 1900, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery.
Hugh Dowding Fact 6: In May 1902, he became lieutenant and served with the Royal Garrison Artillery in Gibraltar and Hong Kong. In 1904, Hugh Dowding was posted to India to No. 7 Mountain Artillery Battery. In 1912, he joined the Army Staff College in Great Britain and was promoted to captain the following year. He was posted to the Isle of Wight with the Royal Garrison Artillery.
Hugh Dowding Fact 7: Hugh Dowding was awarded an Aviator's Certificate on December 20, 1913 by the Royal Aero Club. He received certificate number 711. He flew Vickers biplane at the Vickers School of Flying in Brooklands. He received his wings at the Central Flying School which is the primary training institution for military flying instructors in the United Kingdom.
Hugh Dowding Fact 8: He became a pilot for the Royal Flying Corps on no. 7 Squadron in August 1914. He moved to No. 6 Squadron two months later in October 1914. He had a brief stint as a staff officer in France before becoming a Flight Commander for No. 9 Squadron and then with No. 6 Squadron. In March 1915, he became commanding officer of the Wireless Experimental Establishment at Brooklands.
Hugh Dowding Fact 9: Hugh Dowding believed that pilots required more rest as they were going into battle exhausted from being constantly overworked. He didn't hide his opinion on the matter which caused a clash with the commander of the Royal Flying Corps, General Hugh Trenchard.
Hugh Dowding Fact 10: During the First World War, Hugh Dowding worked hard and achieved many military promotions. On December 30, 1915, he was promoted to major. In January 1916 he returned to England and was given command of 7 Wing at Farnborough after receiving another promotion to temporary lieutenant colonel. In June 1916, he moved to 9 wing at Fienvillers. In January 1917, he was again promoted, this time to temporary colonel. He became commander of the Southern Group Command and was once again promoted in June 1917 to temporary brigadier-general. In April 1918, he became chief staff officer in York to the Royal Air Force's senior admin officer. On January 1st, 1919, he became a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George which a British order of chivalry and the most distinguished order of Saint Michael and Saint George (two military saints).Hugh Dowding Fact 16: On January 23, 1937, he was awarded a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order which is a dynastic order of knighthood acknowledging outstanding personal service to the monarch.
Hugh Dowding Fact 11: Between the First and Second World Wars, Hugh Dowding served for the Royal Air Force. He was promoted to various positions including air commodore, chief staff officer, director of training, air vice-marshall, air officer commanding fighting area, air defence of Great Britain.
Hugh Dowding Fact 12: He became commanding officer for the Royal Air Force Fighter Command in July 1936. Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister at the time, announced that ‘The bomber will always get through’. Hugh Dowding did not agree with this statement.
Hugh Dowding Fact 13: Hugh Dowding created and became responsible for the Dowding System which was the UK's air defence system; the first wide area ground controlled interception network in the world. It controlled the airspace from north Scotland to South England in the United Kingdom.
Hugh Dowding Fact 14: He recognized that Great Britain required more defence against German bombers. He urged for the use of modern fighter planes, in particular the eight-gun Spitfire and Hurricane, insisting on their development and manufacturing.
Hugh Dowding Fact 15: Hugh Dowding encouraged many important advances to help protect the safety of pilots. He pushed hard with the Air Ministry for the introduction of bullet proof wind shields on fighter planes for which he was credited for.
Hugh Dowding Fact 17: He was awarded the Knight Grand Cross following his efforts during the Battle of Britain for which he was one of the people credited for the victory.
Hugh Dowding Fact 18: Although he was due to retire from his military career in June 1939, he continued his service and continued through the Battle of Britain. Despite clashing with other officials on many occasions, he played a very important part in the Battle, saving many lives with the tactics he used. He recognized that pilots had a greater chance of survival during air battles over mainland as opposed to the sea. Many pilots lost their lives in previous battles parachuting out over the sea as they drowned. He engaged the Luftwaffe on home soil in an attempt to protect the lives of experienced fighter pilots.
Hugh Dowding Fact 19: On February 16, 1918, Hugh Dowding married the daughter of an Officer in the Indian Army called Clarice Maud Vancourt. The couple had one child, a son, called Derek. His first wife died and he married for the second time on September 25th, 1951 to Muriel Whiting.
Hugh Dowding Fact 20: Hugh Dowding died on February 15, 1970 at his home in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. His ashes were laid at the Battle of Britain Memorial Window at Westminster Abbey in the Royal Air Force chapel.
Influence & Legacy: He was a very important British officer who served many years in the Royal Air Force, in both World War I and World War II. Hugh Dowding was an excellent pilot who pushed hard for the protection of British pilots, urging the military to allow exhausted pilots more rest, developing the modern fighter planes for military use, implementing bullet proof wind sheilds in fighter planes, setting up the famous Dowding System which controlled the airspace across the United Kingdom. His outstanding efforts during the Battle of Britain were credited with the Knight Grand Cross.