Air Marshal Sir John Patrick Joseph McCauley, KBE, CB was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1954 to 1957. He earned praise for his efforts in attacking invading Japanese forces before the fall of Singapore. He died in Sydney in 1989, aged 89, and was knighted a year later.
About John McCauley in brief
Air Marshal Sir John Patrick Joseph McCauley, KBE, CB was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1954 to 1957. A Duntroon graduate, he spent four years in the Australian Military Forces before transferring to the RAAF in 1924. He earned praise for his efforts in attacking invading Japanese forces before the fall of Singapore, and for his dedication in evacuating his men. He died in Sydney in 1989, aged 89, and was knighted a year later. He was nicknamed ‘Black Jack’ in tribute to his dark looks, but ‘Crasher’ in reference to his shaky flying reputation as an aviator. He had a son and two daughters with Murielle Burke, his wife of 50 years, who he married in 1925. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son-in-law, all of whom were born in Australia in the 1920s and 30s. He also had a daughter with his wife Mary, who was born in the late 1930s and died in the early 1990s. His son, Peter, was the first Australian to graduate from the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He went on to study at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and the RAF Armament and Gunnery School. He graduated from the RAF Staff College, Andover, and qualifying as a flight instructor at Central Flying School, Wittering, in 1933. In 1935, he joined RAAF’s Directorate of Training.
He took over as Director of Training in 1936. He commanded engineering and flying training schools for the first eighteen months of World War II. In 1939 he kept the senior wing at Point Cook, Victoria. From March to October 1940, he served as the inaugural commander of No.1 Engineering School at Ascot. During his tenure, the number of aircraft operated by the school doubled from 52,000 to more than 1,800. During the Malayan Campaign in 1941, he was promoted to group captain, then took over No 1 Flying Training School at Kingwyn, Victoria, when he handed over to Commander Elwyn King. In 1947 he was appointed Chief of Staff at British Commonwealth Occupation Force Headquarters in Japan. In 1949 he was the last Air Officer Commanding Eastern Area and the inaugural AOC Home Command. Raised to air marshal, he took up the position of Chief ofthe Air Staff in January 1954. In 1957, he chaired various community and welfare organisations, serving as Federal President of theAir Force Association for ten years. He retired from military life in March 1957, and later became a well-known author and broadcaster. He wrote a book about the history of the Royal Air Force, The Air Force and the Second World War, published in 1970. He later died in 1989 in Sydney and was buried in a suburb of Sydney.