The Life of Air Chief Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane

Richard Mead

Biography of Ralph Cochrane, the brains behind the legendary Dambuster Raid and sinking of the Tirpitz.
Date Published :
December 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
32 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526765079
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Ralph Cochrane was born in 1895 into a distinguished naval family. After joining the Royal Navy, he volunteered in 1915 to serve with the RNAS in airships and was an early winner of the Air Force Cross. In 1918 he transferred to the fledgling RAF and learned to fly, serving in Iraq as a flight commander under ‘Bomber’ Harris. His inter-war career saw him as a squadron commander in Aden before he became the first Chief of Air Staff of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. During the Second World War he served mainly in Bomber Command and commanded 5 Group from early 1943. He formed 617 Squadron and was instrumental in planning the legendary Dambuster Raid, the most spectacular of the War, as well as the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz. An inspirational leader, he trained 5 Group in low level target marking skills.

Post war, Cochrane held a string of senior appointments commanding Transport Command, Flying Training Command and finally as Vice Chief of Air Staff, retiring in 1952. He died in 1977.

About The Author

Richard Mead was educated at Marlborough College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He has written 'General ‘Boy’: The Life of Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Browning' and 'The Last Great Cavalryman: The Life of General Sir Richard McCreery', 'Commander Eighty Army', 'The Men Behind Monty' and 'Commando General – The Life of Sir Robert Laycock', all in print with Pen and Sword Military.

Richard and his wife live in Gloucestershire and he has two grown-up sons.


"For the serious World War II reader, author Mead’s minor masterpiece not only adds Operation Chastise to one’s depth of the RAF’s most dangerous, controversial victories, but also a new name to rank alongside Great Britain’s most heroic warriors."

- Argunners

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