Military Wiki
Sir Ernest Leslie Gossage
Born (1891-02-03)February 3, 1891
Died July 8, 1949(1949-07-08) (aged 58)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1912-1944
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held No. 56 Squadron RFC
No. 8 Squadron RFC
1st Wing RFC
RAF Balloon Command
School of Army Cooperation
British Forces Aden
No. 11 Group
RAF Balloon Command
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mention in Despatches (5)

Air Marshal Sir Ernest Leslie Gossage KCB, CVO, DSO, MC (3 February 1891 – 8 July 1949). He was a former artillery officer who become a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps and later a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was born in Liverpool in 1891 and died aged 58 in Sussex in 1949.[1]

Early military career[]

Royal Field Artillery[]

It is believed that he was a member of the Royal Field Artillery Special Reserve whilst a university student.[2] He was commissioned in 1912 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.[3]

World War I[]

When the first World War started in 1914 Gossage was still a young 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery, where he remained for the first year of the war.[2] However, on 12 May 1915, he was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps where he was assigned to No. 6 Squadron as a pilot.[2] By 5 September 1915 he had reached the rank of Captain and had become a Flight Commander in No. 6 Squadron.[2]

Following a promotion to Major in 1916 Gossage was given command of No. 56 Squadron, later taking command of No. 8 Squadron in the same year.[2] In 1917 Gossage was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and took command of the Royal Flying Corps' 1st Wing.[2] When the Royal Air Force was founded on 1 April 1918 Gossage transferred where he was appointed as a Staff officer in the Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.[2]

Interwar years and World War II[]

Air Marshal Gossage, fourth from left, as Air Member for Personnel, in session with the Air Council during World War II

After the War he became Officer Commanding the School of Army Co-operation before moving on to be Deputy Director of Staff Duties at the Air Ministry in 1928.[2] He was appointed Air Attaché in Berlin in 1930, Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters Air Defence of Great Britain and Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters RAF Iraq Command in 1934.[2] He went on to be Air Officer Commanding British Forces Aden in 1935 and Air Officer Commanding No. 11 Group in 1936.[2] He served in World War II as Inspector-General of the RAF, as Air Member for Personnel and then as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at RAF Balloon Command.[2]

Following his retirement from regular service with the Royal Air Force, Gossage agreed to be re-employed to assume the role of Commandant Air Cadets after the retirement of Air Commodore John Adrian Chamier. He served in this role until he stepped down in 1946.[2]


Gossage has received several decorations for his service to the British Empire. In 1941 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

In chronological order he has been awarded:


External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
C F A Portal
Commander, Aden Command
1935 – 1936
Succeeded by
W A McClaughry
Preceded by
P B Joubert de la Ferté
Air Officer Commanding No. 11 Group
7 September 1936–January 1940
Succeeded by
W L Welsh
Preceded by
Sir Charles Burnett
Inspector-General of the RAF
Succeeded by
Sir Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt
Preceded by
C F A Portal
Air Member for Personnel
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Babington
Preceded by
O T Boyd
Commander-in-Chief Balloon Command
Succeeded by
W C C Gell

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