Air Marshal Sir Donald Percy Hall KCB, CBE, AFC; born November 11, 1930, died

January 12, 1999

Sir Donald Hall, who retired

to Woodend Croft, Alford, Aberdeenshire, 10 years ago, was one of Britain's most senior Royal Air Force officers. Born in Hull, he was educated at Hull Grammar School and the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell.

He was commissioned in 1952 and, after being appointed to a series of posts which took him to the higher reaches of command of the RAF and the British Armed Services, Sir Donald retired in 1987 and had a subsequent civilian career in the private defence sector industry, first with Marconi Defence Systems and then as Vice-chairman of GEC-Marconi.

An outstanding pilot, Sir Donald held a series of flying appointments from 1952 to 1975.

Later, his skills at the controls of military jets resulted in his appointment as officer commanding No 111 Squadron, the Empire Test Pilots School.

In the New Year's Honours list of 1963, the senior RAF officer was awarded the Air Force Cross for his skills as a Test Pilot, based at RAF Boscombe Down in England.

Unusually for a senior Air Force flyer, Sir Donald did not have a single posting to a Scottish air base during his exemplary career.

Throughout his long-flying career as a pilot, Sir Donald had command of most of the aircraft types coming into service in the post-war era, including Meteors, Venoms, and Lightnings, right up to today's frontline warplanes, including Harriers and Tornados.

Knighted in 1984, Sir Donald, who had been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1981 and a CBE in 1975, held a series of staff and command appointments from 1964 to 1986.

As well as Commander of No 111 Squadron and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, these included: Air Officer Commanding No 11 Group; Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operational Requirements); and Air Officer Commanding 38 Group, the largest in the Air Force, which includes bombers, fighters, and helicopters.

Before retiring in 1987, Sir Donald was Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff.

In civilian life, he chaired Marconi Defence Systems from 1987 to 1989, before being appointed Vice-chairman of one of Britain's most important defence companies in 1990.

He had suffered from cancer for the past three years, an illness which had curtailed his hobbies of flying, walking, and swimming. As well as Lady Hall, he is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.