Air Commodore G. S. O'Brian, OBE, AFC
Master 1935-1939

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 uncertain); 
  • To Reading, 6 November 1916; 
  • To No.15 RS, 15 January 1917; 
  • Graded as Flying Officer, 23 January 1917; 
  • Instructed at Central Flying School; 
  • Ferry pilot, 29 April 1917 to 17 September 1917; 
  • To Canada (Leaside), 1 October 1917; 
  • 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 Co-Operation) Squadron. 
  • To reserve of officers, 4 October 1935. 
  • Re-enlisted on the first day of WWII, 3 September 1939. 
  • 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.

Officer, Order of the British Empire

"This officer 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 January 1946
Air Force Cross
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
Mentioned For Valuable Services
Awarded as per London Gazette dated 22 January 1919