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Willie read

The meaning of «willie read»

Wing Commander William Ronald Read, MC, DFC, AFC** (17 May 1885[1] − 1972[2]) was a highly decorated Royal Air Force officer of World War I and the inter-war period. A pre-war member of the Royal Flying Corps (which became the RAF in 1918), he was one of only a handful of officers to ever receive a second bar to the Air Force Cross (i.e. he was awarded the AFC three times).

Read came from a wealthy family[2] and was the eldest son of W. T. Read of Hampstead.[3] Both his parents died when he was twelve and he and his siblings were raised by guardians.[2] He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge.[1][2]

Read was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Hampshire Carabiniers, a yeomanry (part-time volunteer cavalry) regiment, on 23 September 1906.[4] On 6 March 1907, after leaving Cambridge, he transferred to the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, a regular regiment.[5]

After obtaining his pilot's licence in April 1913,[1][6] Read was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot on 28 April 1914[7] and joined 3 Squadron.[6] He was promoted lieutenant on 14 June 1914.[8]

Read accompanied his squadron to France in August 1914.[6] He was wounded in December 1914. On 8 February 1915, he was appointed a flight commander in the Royal Flying Corps with the temporary rank of captain.[9][10][11] In December 1915 he was sent home to organise 45 Squadron, returning to France in command in April 1916.[2] He was awarded the Military Cross on 1 January 1916[12] and promoted to the substantive rank of captain on 19 August 1917.[13] In April 1917, disillusioned with heavy losses and with his superiors, he requested and received a transfer back to his regiment.[2] He did not much enjoy it, however, and returned to the RFC as the first commanding officer of 104 Squadron, a bomber unit, in September 1917 with the acting rank of major.[14]

He was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) on 1 January 1919,[15] and the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 3 June 1919 for services in France.[16]

After the war he remained in the Royal Air Force with the rank of flight lieutenant, although technically still on attachment from his regiment.[17] He served in Palestine with No. 216 Squadron from 1919 to 1921,[6] and received a bar to his AFC on 12 July 1920.[18] By October 1921, he had been promoted to squadron leader in the RAF, although still holding the rank of captain in the Army,[19] and was in command of 216 Squadron.[1]

On 17 November 1921, he finally transferred from the Army to a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force.[20] He was awarded a second bar to his AFC in the 1922 New Year Honours.[21]

He was promoted wing commander on 1 January 1924.[22][23] Having previously been commander of an apprentices' wing at RAF Halton,[1] in January 1928 he became station commander of RAF Upavon,[24][25] and he was appointed first commander of RAF Boscombe Down in September 1930.[6][25][26]

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