Commodore G. S. O'Brian,
Air Commodore Geoffrey Stuart
O'Brian taught at St, Andrew's College from 1935 - 1939. Initially he was
Housemaster of Memorial House, then Flavelle House and finally, Headmaster of
the Lower School - MacDonald House. He taught English and History in the Upper
School, coached several teams and was the Master in charge of the Cadet Corps
during his time at SAC.
Enlisted in Canadian Expeditionary
Force, 1914, served in Canadian Divisional Cycling Company
Joined Royal Flying Corps, 16
August 1916 at Reading, England;
To Oxford, 24 August 1916;
To Central Flying School (date
To Reading, 6 November 1916;
To No.15 RS, 15 January 1917;
Graded as Flying Officer, 23
Instructed at Central Flying
Ferry pilot, 29 April 1917 to
17 September 1917;
To Canada (Leaside), 1 October
Served with No.88 Canadian Training
Squadron; squadron commander at Deseronto in 1918;
To Headquarters, No.42 Wing,
Canada, 30 December 1918.
Mentioned for Valuable Services,
22 January 1919 (see below).
Struck off strength of RAF,
15 April 1919.
Awarded Air Force Cross, 3 June
1919 (see below).
Claimed to have flown Caudron,
Avro, five types of BE, Martinside Beardmore, RE.8,
SE.5 and SE.5A, DH.5, DH.6,
Camel, Sopwith two-seater, and Curtiss JN-4.
In postwar Militia until he
joined RCAF Auxiliary, Toronto, 5 October 1932, serving with No.10 (Army
To reserve of officers, 4 October
Re-enlisted on the first day of WWII, 3 September
Later Commanding Officer of No.16 SFTS and at
overseas depot, Bournemouth.
January 1, 1946 appointed Officer,
Order of the British Empire.
In 1934 he served on the "Flying
Committee" for the Centennial of the City of Toronto celebrations.
Order of the British Empire
was one of the first officers appointed to the Auxiliary Air Force.
His unbounded enthusiasm and interest were in a large measure responsible
for the unit which he commanded getting off to a really good start and
was later reflected in the state of efficiency of this unit at the outbreak
of hostilities. During the war years, this officer has commanded
with distinction, No.1 Initial Training School, No.16 Service Flying Training
School, Hagersville, and Royal Canadian Air Force Station Rockcliffe, and
in addition, served a tour of duty overseas. In all these appointments,
his keenness, intelligent interest and unswerving devotion to duty have
been reflected in those who served under him. He is a fine leader
who by his excellent work and unswerving loyalty has made a significant
contribution to the war effort of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
NOTE: Public Records
Office Air 2/9336 contains a recommendation for a CBE prepared for the
King's Birthday List (May 1943). No priority was attached to the
recommendation, and it was clearly not granted at that time. This
citation was as follows:
This officer was specially
lent by the Canadian government to carry out the duties of Officer Commanding,
No.3 Personnel Receiving Centre at Bournemouth, a centre which consisted
of qualified air crews from the Dominions as well as Royal Air Force personnel
returning from training overseas. Group Captain O'Brian is now being
relieved by another Royal Canadian Air Force officer and is returning to
Canada. During the tenure of his appointment he applied himself to
the complete reorganization of No.3 Personnel Receiving Centre and has
produced discipline and order from a condition of affairs which was unsatisfactory
when he took over. The average strength of the station is 1,700 officers,
5,000 airmen and 1,000 airwomen and Group Captain O'Brian has been singularly
successful as a commanding officer."
Award effective 1 January
1946 as per London Gazette of that date
and AFRO 82/46 dated 25
No citation other
than "In recognition of distingished services rendered during the war".
Awarded to Officers and Warrant Officers for an act or acts of valour,
courage or devotion to duty whilst flying but not in active operations
against an enemy.
Awarded as per London Gazette
dated 3 June 1919
For Valuable Services
Awarded as per London
Gazette dated 22 January 1919