Military Wiki
Robert Dickinson Oxland
Born 4 April 1889
Died 27 October 1959(1959-10-27) (aged 70)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915-1946
Rank Air Vice-Marshal
Commands held No. 502 Squadron RAF
No. 503 Squadron RAF
No. 1 (Bomber) Group
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

Air Vice-Marshal Robert Dickinson Oxland CB CBE OBE (4 April 1889 – 27 October 1959) was a senior Royal Air Force officer and member of Bomber Command.[1] He was AOC 1 Group between 1940 and 1943.[2]

Early life[]

Robert Dickinson Oxland was born in Sydenham on 4 April 1889, the son of Charles Oxland, a Mining Engineer, and his wife Eleanor.[3][4] He was educated at Bedford Modern School.[1]


At the outbeak of World War I, Oxland joined the County of London Yeomanry[Clarification needed].[5] He was commissioned in 1915 and seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916[3] having learned to fly in Norwich, earning RAeC Certificate No. 2444 on 9 February 1916.[4][5][6] He was with No. 20 Squadron in France in 1916 and with No. 38 Squadron in 1918.[5]

Oxland transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1918.[3] As a qualified meteorological observer[5] his first postings were in Iraq as a specialist staff officer.[2] He returned to England in 1925 as a Squadron Leader[2] and was the first Commanding Officer of No. 502 Squadron RAF.[7] In 1926, he was responsible for organising the formation of No. 503 Squadron RAF and was its Commanding Officer until 1930.[6][8]

Oxland was promoted to Wing Commander in 1930 and thereafter ‘took a series of staff appointments at home and overseas’.[2] In 1934 he was appointed to the Directorate of Operations and Intelligence at the Air Ministry.[5] In 1936, as Director of the Air Ministry’s Operational Requirements,[9] Oxland was Chairman of the Committee that decided to produce the four-engined heavy bombers resulting in the Stirling, Halifax and Lancaster.[6] In 1938 he was promoted to Air Commodore and the post of Director of Personal Services at the Air Ministry.[2]

In November 1940 he was promoted to AOC 1 Group.[2] During his time at HQ Bomber Command, ‘he concentrated on the direction of operations in support of Operation Overlord whilst Hugh Walmsley oversaw the area bombing programme’.[6] In February 1943 he was succeeded as Commander of 1 Group by Air Vice-Marshal Edward Rice.[2] Thereafter he held a ‘special appointment' at HQ Bomber Command[10] and his final position from 1945 was AOA, HQ Air Command South East Asia.[6]

Oxland retired in May 1946.[3]

Awards and honours[]

Oxland was invested as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1929. In 1942 he was invested as Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Commander of the Order of Polonia Restituta.[3][11] In 1943 he was made Companion Order of the Bath.[3]

Oxland was also twice mentioned in despatches, on 1 January 1943 and 8 June 1944.[6]

Family life[]

Oxland was a member of the United Service Club.[3] In 1929 he married Ethel Barbara Williams, daughter of Colonel Henry David Williams CMG.[3] They had two daughters.[3] He died in Maidenhead, Berkshire on 27 October 1959.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kelly’s Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes 1958, Published by Kelly’s Directories Limited, 1958
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "RAF - The Group Commanders". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "Who's Who". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records at". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Times, 23 October 1934
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "R D Oxland_P". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  7. Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982
  8. Hunt, Leslie. Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925–57. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-85511-110-0. (New edition in 1992 by Crécy Publishing. ISBN 0-947554-26-2.)
  9. "Avro Lancaster". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  10. The Times, 22 February 1944
  11. "Dzienniki czynności Prezydenta RP Władysława Raczkiewicza, 1939-1947". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 

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