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Sir Glenn Torpy
Sir Glen Torpy at the Global Air Chiefs Conference (crop).jpg
Sir Glenn Torpy
Born 27 July 1953(1953-07-27) (age 67)
Place of birth Ely, Cambridgeshire
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Years of service 1974–2009
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Battles/wars Gulf War
Iraq War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Lester Torpy, GCB, CBE, DSO (born 27 July 1953) is a retired senior Royal Air Force commander. He was a fast jet pilot in the late 1970s and 1980s, saw active service during the Gulf War and then went on to higher command. He was the air component commander on Operation Telic (British operations in Iraq) and served as chief of the air staff, the professional head of the RAF, from 2006 to 2009. In that role Torpy hosted the RAF's biggest air display in two decades, and argued for consolidation of all British air power in the hands of the RAF.

Early lifeEdit

The son of Gordon Torpy and Susan Torpy (née Lindsey),[1] Torpy obtained a BSc degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London.[2]

Military careerEdit

Torpy joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer on 8 September 1974,[3] and spent his early career, after he left the RAF College Cranwell, undertaking flying duties in Jaguar aircraft before qualifying as a weapons instructor on Hawk aircraft.[2] He was promoted to flying officer on 8 March 1975, with seniority backdated to 8 June 1973,[4] flight lieutenant on 8 December 1975,[5] and squadron leader on 1 July 1983.[6]

His early commands included a tour as a squadron leader in Tornado aircraft before being appointed Officer Commanding No. 13 Squadron in 1989.[1] Having been promoted to wing commander on 1 July 1989,[7] Torpy saw active service during the Gulf War with No. 13 Squadron and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).[8] He was made personal staff officer to the air officer commanding RAF Strike Command in 1992.[1] Promoted to group captain on 1 July 1993,[9] Torpy was appointed station commander at RAF Bruggen, Germany, in 1995.[10] After promotion to air commodore on 1 January 1997,[11] he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1997.[1] He was appointed assistant chief of staff (operations) at Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood in 1998 and director of air operations at the Ministry of Defence in 1999.[1] Torpy was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours[12] and became assistant chief of defence staff (operations) at the Ministry of Defence in 2000.[1]

From 2001 to 2003 Torpy was air officer commanding Number One Group,[13] and also served as the air component commander for Operation Telic (British operations in Iraq).[2] He was awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) from the United States in "recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq" in 2003.[14] He was promoted to air vice-marshal on 1 January 2001,[15] and to air marshal on 18 July 2003.[16] From 2003 to 2004 Torpy was deputy commander-in-chief at RAF Strike Command.[1] On 26 July 2004, he was appointed chief of joint operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood.[17] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2005 New Year Honours.[18]

With promotion to air chief marshal on 13 April 2006,[19] Torpy became chief of the air staff and an air aide-de-camp to Her Majesty the Queen on 13 April 2006.[19] He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[20] In July, 2008, Torpy hosted the RAF's biggest air display in two decades, as a 35-mile long procession of aircraft flew past the queen to commemorate the service's 90th anniversary.[21] Controversially, in June, 2009, he argued for consolidation of all British air power in the hands of the RAF, effectively questioning the future of the Royal Navy's jet aircraft.[22]

Torpy retired from the RAF in July, 2009, and became senior military advisor to BAE Systems.[23] He is also a trustee of the RAF Museum and a governor of Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Torpy married Christine Jackson in 1977. His interests include golf, hill walking, military history and cabinet making.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Brief biographical details of the senior UK commanders involved in Operation Telic". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  3. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46440. p. 13199. 24 December 1974. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46513. p. 3291. 11 March 1975. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46757. p. 15648. 8 December 1975. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49406. p. 8833. 4 July 1983. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51799. p. 7803. 3 July 1989. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52588. p. 16. 28 June 1991. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53363. p. 11374. 5 July 1993. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. "RAF Station Commanders - 2 TAF, BAFO & RAF Germany". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54642. p. 217. 6 January 1997. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55711. p. 42. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  13. "Group No's 1 - 9". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  14. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57100. p. 12. 31 October 2003. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56078. p. 14622. 2 January 2001. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57018. p. 9733. 5 August 2003. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  17. "Joint Defence Commands". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  18. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57509. p. 2. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  19. 19.0 19.1 The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57965. p. 5686. 25 April 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  20. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 2. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  21. "Queen watches biggest RAF display for two decades". The Telegraph. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  22. "RAF chief predicts controversial takeover of Royal Naval air power". The Telegraph. 7 Jun 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy". Human Systems. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
R.A. Wright
Station Commander RAF Bruggen
Succeeded by
N.D.A. Maddox
Preceded by
P.V. Harris
Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group
Succeeded by
C.H. Moran
Preceded by
Sir Brian Burridge
Deputy Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
Succeeded by
Sir Clive Loader
Preceded by
Sir John Reith
Chief of Joint Operations
Succeeded by
J.N.R. Houghton
Preceded by
Sir Jock Stirrup
Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Stephen Dalton

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