A History of YALDING, Kent, England

6 Jan 1921: Officer Commanding, HQ Mesopotamian Group.

13 Oct 1921: Officer Commanding, HQ Iraq Group.

31 Aug 1922: Act A/Cdre. Acting Air Commodore.

1 Oct 1922: A/Cdre. Air Commodore.

7 Apr 1923: Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

15 Aug 1923: AOC, RAF Cranwell/Commandant, RAF College.

 1 Nov 1926: Director of Personal Services.

1 Jul 1929: AVM. Air Vice Marshall.

Other decorations he received were:-

1917 SS3S - St Stanislas, 3rd Class with sword, from Russia.

1918 N3 - Order of the Nile 3rd Class, from Egypt.

1920 EN3 - El Hahda 3rd Class, from Hejaz, which is in NW Saudi Arabia.


He received RAeC Certificate No 170 on 9 January 1912.  Known as ‘Biffy’ he is credited with devising the popular name for AA fire of the time, ‘Archie’ by his habit of shouting the words of a popular song of the period , 'Archibald, certainly not' as he attempted to dodge the enemy shells   He was  recommended for the VC but actually received the DSO, his brother was later awarded the VC. Whilst commanding No 27, a flight of four BE2c's was formed to deliver secret agents behind enemy lines.  Between 28 July 1918 and 8 August 1918 he established a World record by flying from Cranwell to Heliopolis in a Handley Page 0/400 in a flying time of 36 hours 13 minutes, covering 2592 miles.  He made a further long distance flight from Cairo to Delhi via Baghdad, together with Maj-Gen W G S Salmond and Capt Ross Smith (Australian Flying Corps) taking three days.  He  proposed surveying the route to Australia, chartering a ship, RIMS Sphinx, to prepare the route with landing grounds and fuel dumps.  When the Sphinx and its 7,000 gallons of fuel caught fire and exploded off Chittagong, he chartered the RIMS Minto.  However the prize offered by the Australian Government was dependant on the crew being all Australian, resulting in Ross Smith being accompanied by his brother Keith. However, 'Biffy' did not drop out of the picture as it was he who persuaded Vickers to lend a Vimy bomber to the Ross brothers in which to make the attempt.





Biffy inherited Cheveney, both house and farm, when the Colonel died, and often opened the gardens during the summer sundays, to enable Hunton or Yalding church, or a charity of his choice to raise funds.


The photo here, with Biffy in uniform at Yalding church, could be when he presented the processional cross for dedication by Dr C M Chavasse, the Bishop of Rochester, on Sunday May 24th 1942.

This cross is an enlargement of the DFC, and was made at Exeter by one of the finest craftsmen in England of the firm of Messrs. Wippell & Co. It is inscribed as follows:-

“To the Glory of God, and in commemoration of the Royal Air Force Thanksgiving Sunday September 21st 1941”

The gift was donated by the Air Vice-Marshall and Mrs Slater, the wife of Squadron Leader A Slater, DFC.