Image above, Portal in 1947
From 1940 to 1946, Charles Portal was the Chief of the Air Staff, and the Secretary of State for Air’s principal adviser. He was a hugely influential figure, and can be seen for example standing behind Churchill in this photograph of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta in February 1945. (Franklin D Roosevelt Library and Museum)
For details on Portal’s role in the creation of the Path Finder Force, see: Tales from the Archive 6. 28 March 2018
As part of our emphasis on the wider picture and on the wartime context in which the Pathfinders operated, we are giving details of RAF wartime organisation and it can easily be seen where Portal as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) fitted into this.
The sheets below were issued by the Directorate of Flying Training, the Air Ministry, in September 1942, the month after the Path Finder Force was formed. These were notes for new cadets, not the seasoned crews who were flying on operations, but they give a very good overview of the way in which the RAF command hierarchy was set up. At the end of the sheets, a note warns that they are for OFFICIAL USE ONLY, and the contents should not be communicated to anyone outside the Service nor taken in the air.
We are most grateful to David Nevans for supplying this material, part of a very extensive series of training notes.