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Ralph Cochrane - Bomber Command

Air Chief Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane was the visionary commander of the Bomber Command 5 group which undertook the Dambuster raids in 1943.

Born in Springfield, Fife, into a naval family whose seat was at Crawford Priory, Cochrane joined the navy in 1912 and served in the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War before transferring to the newly-formed Royal Air Force in 1919.

Following various appointments that included heading the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Cochrane took command of No. 3 and No. 5 Group of RAF Bomber Command. As such, he was responsible for planning bombing raids against German industry during the Second World War, including the famous 'Dambusters', in which the 617 Squadron destroyed three dams in the German Ruhr Valley.

He rose to become Vice Chief of the Air Staff in 1950 and retired in 1952, holding a number of appointments in business, including that of managing director of Rolls Royce, before his death in 1977.

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