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Sir Jock Kennedy

Sir Jock Kennedy

Air Chief Marshal Sir Thomas Kennedy (always known as Jock) became Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 1988 and served until his retirement in 1993. Find out more.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Thomas Kennedy (always known as Jock), who died last week at the age of 85, served as Controller of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund from 1988 until his retirement in 1993.

He arrived at the Benevolent Fund with an appetite for change, ready to improve areas he felt needed reform and to address practises he thought were outdated.

Indeed, instead of simply visiting RAF stations to talk about the charity’s work, Sir Jock invited station commanders and commissioned and non-commissioned officers to committee meetings to see first-hand how welfare applications were dealt with.

These visits helped to open the eyes of those who knew little of how the Benevolent Fund worked and many returned to their stations and units better informed about our aims.

Sir Jock built up a close relationship with the RAF Bands, resulting in ever improving fundraising cooperation. He also instigated a gliding scholarship scheme to provide flying opportunities for serving ground crew who were under 21 years of age.

In 1990, faced with increasing demands on the welfare budget, Sir Jock investigated new and innovative ways to raise funds and seized on the Battle of Britain’s anniversary to spearhead a £20 million appeal, working with the International Air Tattoo based at RAF Fairford.  The appeal was a huge success, massively exceeding its target.

Sir Jock improved staff pay and conditions, bringing them in line with the private sector, wishing, he said, to retain and recruit the best of staff. He will be remembered as a man unafraid of change, who upon retirement left the Benevolent Fund with a heightened profile and on a sound financial footing.

Before becoming Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, Sir Jock had an illustrious career in the Royal Air Force which began in April 1946 when he enlisted as an airman for National Service. He served for six months before being selected for the RAF College Cranwell, where he was awarded the Philip Sassoon Memorial Trophy for best all-round cadet.

On completing his pilot training, he joined No 297 Squadron, flying the Hastings. After taking part in the Berlin Air Lift he was selected as a captain in the VIP Flight of No 24 Squadron. During the Suez crisis in 1956, Sir Jock flew Canberras with No 27 Squadron and also commanded No 99, a Britannia transport squadron.

To read Sir Jock Kennedy’s obituary in full please visit:

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