Holder, Paul Davie

    Date of birth:
    September 2nd, 1911 (Port Elizabeth/Eastern Cape, South Africa)
    Date of death:
    April 22nd, 2001
    Service number:
    British (1801-present, Kingdom)


    Paul Holder and his family returned to the UK in his childhood. He joined the RAF in June 1934. In 1938 he was posted to 84 Squadron in the Persian Gulf and transferred to Iraq in 1939. He played a leading role when the station was attacked an besieged by Iraqi rebels after the Baghdad coup.
    In November 1941 he returned to the UK where he was placed in command of No. 218 Squadron flying Sterlings.
    His first action was against the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Brest harbour. He flew his 65th and last operational sortie in the daylight raid on the Lubeck U-boat pens.
    In 1943 after time spent at staff college, he was posted to Turkey as Chief of Staff to Force 686, a secret planning unit. From there he went to Libya to raise and train a Yugoslav Hurricane Squadron for Tito, after which he returned to RAF Staff College.
    After the war he was vice president of the RAF Selection Board, and then posted as commander of RAF Shallufa . In 1957 he was posted as AOC in Singapore and then moved on as AOC Hong Kong before returning to the UK. His final appointment was C-In-C Coastal Command before retiring in 1968.

    June 3th, 1934: Acting Pilot Officer (probation)
    March 3th, 1936: Pilot Officer
    September 3th, 1936: Flying Officer
    March 3th, 1938: Acting Flight Lieutenant
    September 3th, 1938: Flight Lieutenant
    June 1st, 1939: Squadron Leader
    June 1st, 1941: Temporary Wing Commander
    June 9th, 1943: Acting Group Captain
    Decmber 9th, 1943: Wing Commander (war sub)
    October 1st, 1946: Wing Commander
    January 1st, 1951: Group Captain
    February 26th, 1957: Acting Air Commodore
    July 1st, 1957: Air Commodore
    January 1st, 1960: Air Vice-Marshal
    January 23th, 195: : Acting Air Marshal
    July 1st, 1965: Air Marshal

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    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Wing Commander
    No. 4 Service Flying School, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    October 31st, 1941
    "Sqdn Ldr P.D. Holder has taken part in over 50 sorties. He has shown the greatest possible keenness not only during these sorties but on the ground as well, particularly during the first three days after the outbreak of hostilities when the tarmac was under shell fire at point blank range. His zeal and cheerfulness at all times have been an inspiration to others.”
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Wing Commander
    No. 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    October 27th, 1942
    Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
    “Wing Commander Holder took over the command of 218 Squadron on 1.1.42 Previous to taking over this command he was in Iraq where he carried out 55 sorties gaining the award of the DFC. Since taking over operational command of 218 Squadron he has carried out 14 sorties including a successful daylight attack on Lubeck in which he led his squadron. His courage, coolness and ability as Squadron Commander is outstanding. The esprit de corps of his squadron and the confidence his crews have in his ability and leadership. His keenness for operations does not effect the administration of his squadron and with his organising ability he has always managed to maintain a high serviceability with his Stirling aircraft. I have no hesitation in recommending him for an award of the D.S.O.”
    Awarded on:
    Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal 1953
    Awarded on:
    June 12th, 1965
    Knights/Dames Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (K/DBE)
    Awarded on:
    June 13th, 1964
    Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)
    "Malaya" clasp
    General Service Medal 1918-1962