[51], Harris was promoted to the substantive rank of air marshal on 1 January 1944[52] and awarded the Russian Order of Suvorov, First Class on 29 February 1944. [77], In February 1953 Winston Churchill, now prime minister again, insisted that Harris accept a baronetcy and he became baronet. We are bombing Germany city by city and ever more terribly in order to make it impossible for them to go on with the war. Later, after severe shortcomings were displayed on operations, the Manchester would be redesigned to become the very effective Avro Lancaster. Harris, for example, carried out a running battle against the—to say the least—disapprobation of the other two services: 'It is a most extraordinary thing that you hear a great deal about the bombing of a place like Dresden and the attacks on German cities as being invented by the bloody–minded air force against a civilian population. The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive ... should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany ... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. [63] Raids such as that on Pforzheim late in the war as Germany was falling have been criticised for causing high civilian casualties for little apparent military value. During his funeral in 1984, a bomber flew low over the cemetery. Many senior Allied air commanders still thought area bombing was less effective. [46] Winston Churchill continued to regard the area bombing strategy with distaste and official public statements maintained that Bomber Command was attacking only specific industrial and economic targets, with any civilian casualties or property damage being unintentional but unavoidable. "Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives". The statue had to be kept under 24-hour guard for a period of months as it was often damaged by protesters and vandals. [21] In Mesopotamia he commanded a Vickers Vernon squadron. This operation included the first use of a bomber stream, which was a tactical innovation designed to overwhelm the German night-fighters of the Kammhuber Line. Arthur Harris died of natural causes in 1984, he and his wife are buried in this grave. [18][16], Harris remained in the newly formed Royal Air Force (RAF) following the end of the First World War, choosing an air force career over a return to Rhodesia because he and his first wife Barbara had just had their first child, and he did not think Barbara would enjoy being a Rhodesian farmer's wife. I’ve come to the conclusion that people who say that sort of thing not only have never been outside, but they’ve never looked out of a window. An inscription on the statue reads: "The Nation owes them all an immense debt." [56] Harris was promoted to the substantive rank of air chief marshal on 16 August 1944. His commander in Iraq had been the future Chief of the Air Staff Sir John Salmond, who was also one of his commanders back in Britain. With regard to this period, Harris is recorded as having remarked "the only thing the Arab understands is the heavy hand. [57], The historian Bernard Wasserstein notes that the official history of British strategic bombing says, in what Wasserstein describes as 'an unusually sharp personal observation', that "Harris made a habit of seeing only one side of a question and then of exaggerating it. Having acquired the skills necessary to ranch successfully in Rhodesia, Harris decided that he would start his own farm in the country as soon as Townsend returned. Gilmour, Ian and Andrew. This page was last edited on 30 August 2020, at 23:34. The lead character in the show was a Rhodesian farmer who returned to England to wed, but ultimately fell out with his pompous fiancée and married the more practical housemaid instead. [43] Harris was promoted to temporary air marshal on 1 December 1942[44] and acting air chief marshal on 18 March 1943.[45]. These areas were the primary target of Bomber Command in 1943 and the autumn of 1944. [35] Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 11 July 1940[36] he was made Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in November 1940 and promoted to the acting rank of air marshal on 1 June 1941. It was accepted by Cabinet and Harris was directed to carry out the task (Area bombing directive). Before he returned to Britain to command No. Bernard Montgomery was one of the few army officers he met while at the college whom he liked, possibly because they shared certain underlying personality characteristics. It referred to his seeming indifference to the losses his aircrew were suffering. He joined the Royal Flying Corps, with which he remained until the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918. In 1942, the British Cabinet agreed to the "area bombing" of German cities. In this book he wrote, concerning Dresden, "I know that the destruction of so large and splendid a city at this late stage of the war was considered unnecessary even by a good many people who admit that our earlier attacks were as fully justified as any other operation of war. Harris was given the task of implementing Churchill In Gary Sheffield, ed. Attacks on cities like any other act of war are intolerable unless they are strategically justified. [74], Within the postwar British government there was some disquiet about the level of destruction that had been created by the area-bombing of German cities towards the end of the war. In the same year, the British Cabinet agreed to the "area bombing" of German cities. 5 Group. [31], On 2 July 1937 Harris was promoted to air commodore[32] and in 1938 he was put in command of No. Harris was born on 13 April 1892, at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where his parents were staying while his father George Steel Travers Harris was on home leave from the Indian Civil Service. Cox notes that half of the oil was produced by Benzol plants located in the Ruhr. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother who looked surprised when she was jeered by protesters, one of whom shouted, "Harris was a war criminal." [29] From 1934 to 1937 he was the Deputy Director of Plans in the Air Ministry. In 1936 Harris commented on the Palestinian Arab revolt that "one 250 lb. Goulter, Christina. [50] In November 1943 Bomber Command began what became known as the Battle of Berlin that lasted until March 1944. [22] He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 3 June 1927[26] and promoted to wing commander on 1 July 1927. [53], After the war, Harris was awarded the Polish Order of Polonia Restituta First Class on 12 June 1945,[70] advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 14 June 1945[71] and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross of Brazil on 13 November 1945. But they are strategically justified in so far as they tend to shorten the war and preserve the lives of Allied soldiers. [5] Harris earned his living over the next few years mining, coach-driving and farming. [59] His summation is rejected by Sebastian Cox head of the Air Historical Branch (AHB). The RAF Aircrew's nickname for Harris, "Butcher" or "Butch," was not bestowed as a comment on the morality of his bombing policy. [55], After D-Day (6 June 1944), with the resumption of the strategic bomber campaign over Germany, Harris remained wedded to area bombardment. That is our object; we shall pursue it relentlessly. I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier. [19] In April 1920 Squadron Leader Harris was jointly appointed station commander of RAF Digby and commander of No. "[23], During the 1920s Harris occasionally doubted his decision to remain with the RAF rather than going back to Rhodesia; he submitted his resignation in May 1922, but was persuaded to stay. [80], In 1974 Harris appeared in the acclaimed documentary series The World At War produced by Thames Television and shown on ITV. Arthur Travers Harris, known as “Bomber” Harris, became commander of RAF Bomber Command in early 1942. 44 Squadron on Home Defence duties, Harris claimed five enemy aircraft destroyed and was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) on 2 November 1918.