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Sir Stephen Dalton
Sir Stephen Dalton in Afghanistan.jpg
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton in Afghanistan
Born 23 April 1954
Place of birth Leicester
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Years of service 1976–2013
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held XIII Squadron
British Forces, Op Jural
RAF Coltishall
Chief of the Air Staff
Battles/wars Operation Jural (Operation Southern Watch)
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (1987)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Gary George Dalton, GCB, ADC (born 23 April 1954)[1] is a retired Royal Air Force Air Officer. As commanding officer of XIII Squadron, he deployed on Operation Jural, the UK contribution to Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the No-Fly Zone over Southern Iraq. He then moved on to high command, serving as Head of Air Operations at the Ministry of Defence during the preparations for and conduct of Operation Telic in Iraq. Most recently he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff, the professional head of the Royal Air Force, in which role he advised the British Government on the deployment of air power during the Libyan conflict. In that capacity he implemented 2,700 redundancies, as determined by the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Early lifeEdit

Dalton was educated at Clarendon Park Junior School and Lancaster School in Leicester,[2] and then the University of Bath, where he studied Aeronautical Engineering.[3]

Military careerEdit

Dalton was commissioned as a University Cadet on 16 September 1973,[4] before being regraded as a pilot officer following graduation on 15 July 1976.[5] Dalton was promoted to flying officer on 15 January 1977,[6] and then flight lieutenant on 15 October 1977.[7] He flew the SEPECAT Jaguar on three tours, operating from the UK and Germany in both ground attack and tactical reconnaissance roles.[3] Dalton was promoted to squadron leader on 1 July 1984,[8] and awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the 1987 New Year Honours.[9]

RAF Jaguar Tactical Meet

Jaguars of RAF Germany in the late 70s, a type flown by Dalton on three tours in the UK and Germany

Following the Advanced Staff Course, training to fly the Panavia Tornado,[3] and promotion to wing commander on 1 July 1990,[10] Dalton commanded XIII Squadron.[3] He deployed on Operation Jural, the UK contribution to Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the No-Fly Zone over Southern Iraq.[3]

Dalton was promoted to group captain on 1 July 1994,[11] and in 1997 took command of RAF Coltishall and the RAF's Jaguar force.[3] On promotion to air commodore on 1 January 2000,[12] he was appointed Head of the Eurofighter Typhoon Programme Assurance Group at the Ministry of Defence.[3] Following the Higher Command and Staff Course in 2002, Dalton was appointed Head of Air Operations, also at the Ministry of Defence.[3] His tenure in this role was dominated by the preparations for and conduct of Operation Telic in Iraq.[3]

On promotion to air vice marshal on 14 May 2003,[13] Dalton was appointed Director Information Superiority.[3] He was also appointed Controller Aircraft in 2004, retaining this post upon his appointment as Director Typhoon on 2 May 2006.[14] He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2006 New Year Honours.[15]

On 1 May 2007, Dalton was promoted to air marshal,[16] and appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief Personnel at Air Command and Air Member for Personnel.[17] In the 2009 Birthday Honours he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB).[18] He was promoted to Air Chief Marshal and appointed Chief of the Air Staff, and Air Aide-de-Camp to HM The Queen, on 31 July 2009.[19] Dalton was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 2012 Birthday Honours.[20]

In light of the Libyan conflict, Dalton warned that there "was a heck of a lot to be doing" and that the military was nearing the point of "exhaustion". The RAF became the first part of the military to bring in the cuts when it spelled out its plans for 2,700 lay-offs in April 2011, following the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010, and Dalton admitted that some were likely to be compulsory.[21] On 24 June 2011 The Daily Telegraph confirmed that Dalton, in common with the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the General Staff, would lose his position on the Defence Board, the highest non-ministerial Ministry of Defence committee, which makes decisions on all aspect of military policy.[22] He retired in July 2013.

Personal lifeEdit

Dalton is married [23] with two grown-up children.[3] His interests include sports, theatre and history.[3] He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Leicester in 2011[2] and an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Bath in 2013.[24]


  1. Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Sir Stephen Dalton - LLD (Doctor of Laws)". University of Leicester. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 "Chief of the Air Staff Biography". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46138. p. 14087. 26 November 1973. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46984. p. 10917. 10 August 1976. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47123. p. 710. 17 January 1977. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47352. p. 13103. 17 October 1977. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49800. p. 9435. 9 July 1984. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50764. p. 25. 30 December 1986. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52200. p. 11368. 2 July 1990. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53724. p. 9611. 4 July 1994. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55722. p. 13840. 4 January 2000. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  13. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56939. p. 6213. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  14. "Air Rank Appointments List 04/06 dated 10 April 2006". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57855. p. 2. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58326. p. 6985. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  17. "Air Rank Appointments List 01/07 dated 16 January 2007". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  18. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59090. p. 2. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  19. "Air Rank Appointments List 07/08 dated 16 October 2008". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  20. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 2. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  21. "Overstretched RAF will be in Libya 'at least six months' warns forces chief as Government announces £5bn military cuts". Daily Mail. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  22. "Top military chiefs "sidelined" after Afghanistan row". The Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  23. "Lady Dalton Opens New Dementia Wing at Princess Marina House". Cobseo. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  24. "Sir Stephen Dalton". University of Bath. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
A. P. Waldron
Head Air Operations,
Ministry of Defence

Post subsumed
Preceded by
Director Information Superiority,
Ministry of Defence

May 2003 – April 2006
Succeeded by
S. D. Butler
Preceded by
D. N. Williams
Controller Aircraft
April 2004 – May 2007
New title Director Typhoon,
Ministry of Defence

May 2006 – May 2007
Post subsumed within
Chief of Materiel Air
Preceded by
B. M. Thornton
as Commander-in-Chief,
Personnel and Training Command
Deputy Commander-in-Chief Personnel,
Air Command

May 2007 – April 2009
Succeeded by
S. Bryant
Preceded by
B. M. Thornton
Air Member for Personnel
May 2007 – April 2009
Preceded by
Sir Glenn Torpy
Chief of the Air Staff
July 2009–July 2013
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew Pulford

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