William Sholto Douglas

William Sholto Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside, Marshal of the Royal Air Force is commemorated in the RAF chapel in Westminster Abbey. His name, with other RAF war leaders, was painted in 1989 below the Battle of Britain memorial window.

He was born on 23rd December 1893, son of Captain Robert Douglas. He was educated at Tonbridge school and Oxford and was mentioned in dispatches during the 1914-1918 war, receiving the Military Cross, D.F.C. and the French Croix de Guerre. He commanded two fighter squadrons. After a brief spell as a chief pilot at Handley Page Transport he returned to the RAF and by 1940 was Deputy Chief of Air Staff. He was Air Officer Commanding in Chief at Fighter Command, Middle East Command, and Coastal Command. He was made a Knight of the Order of the Bath and his stall plate can be seen in the Lady Chapel in the Abbey.

After the war he was Governor of the British zone in Germany and received many overseas medals. He was chairman of British European Airways 1949-1964. His first two marriages were dissolved and he married thirdly Hazel Walker and they had one daughter. He died on 29th October 1969 and his memorial service in the Abbey was held on 5 December. His ashes lie in St Clement Danes church in the Strand (the RAF church in London)

A memorial to RAF Coastal Command is in the south cloister of the Abbey, with a roll of honour book kept in the nave.

Further reading

"Years of Combat" autobiography, 1963


23th December 1893


29th October 1969




Lady Chapel

William Sholto Douglas
William Sholto Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside by Herbert James Gunn

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

William Sholto Douglas
William Sholto Douglas Bath stall plate

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster