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Commodore George Douglas

 

 

George Douglas, DFCCommodore George Douglas, A.V.S.M., D.F.C. was born in Doom Dooma, Assam, where his father had a tea estate. In 1930 he joined the British Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy Reserve as a midshipman. However, during the period of World War II he enrolled into active duty and was commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1946. After India’s independence he shifted to the Indian Navy where he pioneered naval aviation. He was a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the National Defence College, New Delhi.


In the early years of the World War II he volunteered for Special Hazardous Service Operations on H.M.S. Oakfield. Termed "Operation Lucid" the mission was to attempt to fire-bomb the German wooden invasion barges with incendiary material and set them alight at Boulogne and Calais, France. The plan had the personal backing of Winston Churchill. As the mission was regarded as a suicide run only volunteers were used. Several attempts were undertaken between September and October 1940. Each one was cancelled due to a variety of reasons until it was suspected that the secrecy of the mission was compromised. During the world war II Douglas commanded Torpedo Bomber and Fighter combat squadrons and wings, and saw combat service in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battles of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Burma, Malaysia, and in the Pacific. In 1943 he was awarded the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for gallantry while serving with Fighter Command, Royal Air Force. He was one of two navy pilots to receive this distinction, as normally such medals were reserved solely for R.A.F personnel. A year later he received the "Commander-in-Chief’s Commendation", Portsmouth Command and in 1945 he was awarded the South-East Asia Command commendation by Admiral Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, S.E.A.C. As Captain (D), Captain Destroyers, he commanded the 11th Destroyer Squadron. From 1962-1966 he was the Principal Staff Officer to Government as Chief of Naval Aviation, making him the senior most naval aviator in the Indian Navy. In 1966, he was awarded AVSM. The citation read: "From the start of Naval Aviation in 1949, Commodore Douglas has been the driving force behind the evolution of the combatant Air Arm for the Navy. The development of aviation in the Indian Navy and the position it has attained are largely due to the initiative, hard work and leadership of Commodore Douglas. He has voluntarily undertaken several dangerous flying missions in order to set an example to young pilots".


Douglas left India in December 1966, first returning to the UK and later emigrating to Canada where he started a teaching career in St.John’s, Newfoundland. He retired to Victoria, British Columbia and passed away in 2008 at the age of 93 years.

 



 

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