Air Commodore Andrew James Wray Geddes CBE DSO LoM EM RAF was probably the only British officer who retired as a captain in the Royal Artillery and an Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force. As a boy he went to Wellington College and to the Royal Military Academy Woolwich to become a ‘Gunner’. However he was seconded to the RAF. This way he fulfilled his dream of becoming a pilot.
His career saw him fly an array of aircraft from the Avro 405 biplane to the Mustang fighter, some 30 types. He was Officer Commanding No.II (Army Co-operation) Squadron when war broke out in 1939 and the Squadron fought in the Blitz in May 1940. He flew the first secret sorties to France in a Lysander, calling it radio calibration flights. Geddes served in North Africa and was involved in all the preparations for D-Day as Air Commodore Plans of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.
He flew over the Normandy beaches, bringing home the first pictures of the landings. In 1945 General Eisenhower told him to prepare and negotiate food drops over starving West Netherlands. At Achterveld in Holland Geddes sat opposite the Germans and secured eleven drop zones to allow 5,000 flights, bringing some 12,000 tons of food to the Dutch in less than 10 days. When his wife Anstice became very ill, he retired and joined local Civil Defence.
In 1985 Andrew Geddes was the Guest of Honour of the Dutch during the 40th anniversary of Operations Manna & Chowhound. He renewed his friendship with HRH Prince Bernard of the Netherlands and was handed the Dutch Erasmus Medal by Prime-Minister Lubbers of the Netherlands.
This book describes his life, using his private diaries and documents. The life and times of the ‘Winged Gunner’ gives a fascinating testimony of the career of a brave and loyal officer. Andrew Geddes passed away in 1988.