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Significant Scots
Hugh Dowding

“Hugh Dowding is considered one of the masterminds behind the victory in the Battle of Britain - one of the most prominent battles in World War Two. Dowding is seen as one of the more important military commanders of the war.

“Dowding was born in Scotland in April 1882 and educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Dowding served in Ceylon, Gibraltar, Honk Kong and then for six years in India. When he returned to Britain from this tour of duty, Dowding took up flying and received his flying license in 1913. Following this, he joined the newly created Royal Flying Corps and fought in World War One where he commanded 16 Squadron. During this war, he clashed with the head of the Royal Flying Corps - General Hugh Trenchard - over the issue of rest for pilots exhausted by constant flying sorties. As a result, Dowding was sent back to Britain. He was promoted to brigadier-general, but took no more active part in the war itself.

“After the war, Dowding joined the newly established Royal Air Force becoming a vice-marshal in 1929. In 1933, he was promoted to air marshal and in 1934, Dowding was knighted.”

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