Title: Scherger – A Biography of Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger KBE, CB, DSO, AFC
Author: Rayner, Harry
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1984
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 201 pages
Comments: Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Rudolph William Scherger KBE, CB, DSO, AFC (18 May 1904 – 16 January 1984) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force. He served as Chief of the Air Staff, the RAAF’s highest-ranking position, from 1957 until 1961, and as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, forerunner of the role of Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force, from 1961 until 1966. He was the first of three RAAF officers to date who have held the rank of Air Chief Marshal.
Born in Victoria of German origins, Scherger graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon before transferring to the Air Force in 1925. He was considered one of the top aviators between the wars, serving as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and flying instructor. He held senior training posts in the late 1930s and early years of World War II, earning the Air Force Cross in June 1940. Promoted Group Captain, Scherger was acting commander of North Western Area when Darwin, Northern Territory suffered its first air raid in February 1942. Praised for his actions in the aftermath of the attack, he went on to lead the RAAF’s major mobile strike force in the South West Pacific, No. 10 Operational Group (later the Australian First Tactical Air Force), and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in September 1944 for his actions during the assaults on Aitape and Noemfoor in Western New Guinea.
After the war, Scherger served in a variety of senior posts, including Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Head of the Australian Joint Services Staff in Washington, D.C., and commander of Commonwealth air forces in Malaya during the emergency. In 1957, he was promoted Air Marshal and became Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), presiding over a significant modernisation of RAAF equipment. Completing his term as CAS in 1961, he was the Air Force’s first appointee to the position of Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). As Chairman of COSC, Scherger was promoted Australia’s first Air Chief Marshal in 1965, and played a leading role in the commitment of troops to the Vietnam War. Leaving the military the following year, he became Chairman of the Australian National Airlines Commission and, from 1968, of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. Popularly known as “Scherg”, he retired in 1975 and lived in Melbourne until his death in 1984 at age seventy-nine.