Wing Commander Alan John Laird Craig 1923~71
Wing Commander Alan John Laird Craig DSO, MBE, DFC, AFC.
7, 35, 156, 161 Squadrons
Born 9th May 1923 – Leighton Buzzard
Alan’s RAF Record of Service states his date of birth 8th May 1922 but his family claim he was born in the year 1923. Alan had misstated his real age to the RAF in order to enlist early.
Craig was confirmed in his appointment as a Pilot Officer in 1941 and promoted to Flying Officer (war substantive) wef 30 July 42 and to Flight Lieutenant (War Substantive) wef 30 July 43.
He was promoted Squadron Leader (War Substantive) wef 10 July 45. His appointment as a Flight Lieutenant (permanent), but retaining existing Wartime Rank, was wef 1 Sep 45. Joined Pathfinder Force on 10th April 1945. PFF personnel received one higher Rank than normal RAF Personnel so he would have been Wing Commander (War Substantive) probably from 10th July 1945.
The ‘highest’ level of Rank is Substantive but in WW2 the RAF introduced Temporary Ranks, these were to fill the numerous Temporary Establishment posts created by the swift expansion and heavy Personnel losses of the RAF. So a Substantive Flying Officer could be promoted to Temporary Flight Lieutenant. Personnel can also be given acting Ranks so a Temporary Flight Lieutenant could be promoted to Acting Squadron Leader, but at the end of the War, he could revert to Flying Officer because that is his substantive Rank. Acting Ranks can be paid or unpaid, so an acting (paid) Squadron Leader gets paid the rate of a Squadron Leader but an acting (unpaid) Squadron Leader receives the pay of his Temporary or Substantive Rank (Flying Officer or Flt Lieutenant).
Squadron Leader Alan John Laird Craig DSO DFC AFC Royal Air Force was awarded the MBE as a Squadron Leader on 1 June 1953 aged 30 on the occasion of the Queen’s Coronation Honours List.
Course Category Date Gained
Central Flying School B.1 1941-50
DATS Above Ave. 1949-55
Practical Spoken Spanish
In his own Estimation – 73 Operations with 41 as Master Bomber
Keen sportsman – joined the Rugby Team at most RAF Stations
19 Types of Aircraft flown during his RAF Career
Squadron Leader A.J.L. CRAIG D.S.O., M.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C (103561)
(at own request), Retaining the rank of Wing Commander, 11th Apr. 1956 aged 33.
Alan died aged 48 in Leicester Clinic 9th June 1971 from a Heart Attack following a bout of Double Pneumonia (affecting both lungs) which may have been due to his Service induced smoking habit.
General RAF Duties – Pilot, Pathfinder, Master Bomber, Flying Instructor, Assistant Air Attache (Buenos Aries), Bomber Command HQ
“It is one of life’s unfairness’s that the Public to this day, cherishes the RAF’s Wartime Fighter Pilots with an uncomplicated enthusiasm that does not extend to the Bomber Crews who showed equal courage and suffered far heavier losses.” – Sir Max Hastings