Hodges, Lewis MacDonald

Date of birth:
March 1st, 1918 (Richmond, Greater London, Great Britain)
Date of death:
January 4th, 2007
Service number:
33408
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Lewis Hodges was educated at St.Paul's and joined the RAF in 1937.
In September 1940, flying an Hampden bomber, he was shot down over France but made it back via Vichy France, Spain and Gibraltar. When asked what he had missed most whilst on the run for eight months, he responded without hesitation "my pyjamas". From that moment, he always wore them under his uniform when flying on operations.
He was selected by Charles Pickard to fly moonlit operations for SOE and joined No. 161 Squadron. The squadron used, depending on the cargo, the Lockheed Hudson, Halifax or Lysander. Sometimes he dropped sabotage equipment for the French resistance or transported secret agents. One time he picked up two future Presidents of the Republic (Auriol and Mitterrand), bringing them to England for meetings with General de Gaulle.
In december 1944, after a rest from operations, he volunteered for another tour and was given command of No 357 Special Duties Squadron at RAF Jessore near Calcutta. This was equipped with Liberators for long-range parachute operations, Dakotas for medium-range sorties, including pick-ups, and a flight of Lysanders for pick-ups in Japanese occupied Burma.
After the war he held several positions in the RAF. In 1968 he was appointed AOC-in-C Air Support Command and in 1970 Air Member for Personnel. From 1973 to 1976 he was Deputy Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe.
In retirement from the RAF after 1976 he was president of the RAF Escaping Society, 1979-2000 chairman of the RAF Benevolent Fundís education committee; president of the Royal Air Force Association; and president of the Special Forces Club and the RAF Club.

Post-war decorations:
January 1st, 1954: OBE
June 12th, 1958: CBE
January 1st, 1963: CB
June 8th, 1968: KCB
1988: Grand Officer Legion d'Honeur

Promotions:
December 17th, 1938: Pilot Officer
June 17th, 1940: Flying Officer (war sub)
June 17th, 1941: Flight Lieuteant (war sub)
June 1st, 1943: Squadron Leader
July 1st, 1950: Wing Commander
January 1st, 1957: Group Captain
January 1st, 1961: Air Commodore
July 1st, 1963: Air Vice-Marshal
July 1st, 1968: Air Marshal
May 1st, 1971: Air Chief Marshal

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force (No. 49 Eskader, Royal Air Force)
Awarded on:
May 26th, 1942
Action:
Citation;
"Sqn. Ldr. Hodges served with the squadron in France, in 1940. when he displayed gallantry and determination. Since August, 1941, he has commanded a flight and has completed many operational missions, some of which have been undertaken in daylight. Many of these sorties have been completed in the face of most adverse weather and strong opposition from the enemy. Despite these difficulties, Sqn. Ldr. Hodges has frequently remained in heavily defended areas, for considerable periods, in order to ensure positive identification of his target before bombing."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Awarded on:
June 11th, 1942
Mentioned in Despatches
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 161 Squadron, Royal Air Force (No. 161 Squadron, Royal Air Force)
Awarded on:
May 25th, 1943
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has completed many sorties, achieving much success. He is an extremely efficient and gallant flight commander, whose leadership and unfailing devotion to duly have proved inspiring."
Details:
Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 161 Squadron, Royal Air Force (No. 161 Squadron, Royal Air Force)
Awarded on:
August 19th, 1943
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has undertaken many sorties. The successes obtained reflect the greatest credit on the efforts of Wing Commander Hodges whose efficiency and personal example, both in the air and on the ground, have been outstanding."
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Squadron Leader
Awarded on:
1944
Croix de Guerre (1939-1945)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 357 Squadron, Royal Air Force (No. 357 Squadron, Royal Air Force)
Awarded on:
October 19th, 1945
Action:
Citation:
"Wing Cdr. Hodges has completed two tours of operational duty. He has taken part in special duty operations over Burma, Siani and French Indo China and has also down on several long range sorties to Malaya, some of which entailed fights of over 20 hours duration.
At all times this officer has set a fine example of determination and endurance. An outstanding leader, Wing Cdr. Hodges has moulded his squadron into a high standard of operational efficiency."
Details:
Second DSO awarded as abar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1948
Commandeur de l' Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur

Sources