Marshal of the Royal Air 
Force the Lord Portal of Hungerford, GCB, DSO, M

Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Lord Portal of Hungerford, GCB, DSO, M.C., Chief of the Air Staff, 1940–1945


I should like to recall here what has been said much more fully in the general preface in the first volume, namely, that this is primarily a history of Royal Air Force operations and the policy governing them. While not part of the full-length official Military History of the War, it was nevertheless officially commissioned, and is based throughout on official documents, to which full access was given by the Air Ministry.

The text of this volume, like that of the others, was substantially completed in 1950. It is entirely the work of Hilary Saunders, except that the last chapter, an attempted assessment of the whole wartime effort of the Royal Air Force, was planned and written jointly with myself. Hilary Saunders did not live to read the proofs of this or either of the other two volumes. He would certainly have wished, in this last foreword, to repeat our thanks to those we mentioned in the general preface: to emphasize our great and continued indebtedness to the Air Ministry Historical Branch under Mr. J. C. Nerney, ISO; and to join with me in a warm expression of gratitude to three senior officers who read the text of all three volumes and helped us very greatly by their comments and criticisms—Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor, GCB, DSO, MC, Air Chief Marshall Sir Guy Garrod, GBE, KCB, MC, DFC, and the late Mr. C.G. Caines, CB, OBE.

D. R.

November 1953