Air Commodore, Sir John Adrian Chamier K.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S., was born in 1883. He was educated at St. Paul’s School and R.M.C. Sandhurst and served in the Indian Army between 1902 and 1915. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, which later went on to become the Royal Air Force.
After leaving the R.A.F. John Chamier went on to become Secretary of the Air League of the British Empire. The object of the League was to promote “Air Mindedness” amongst the people, especially the youth of the country. They did not have government support, but nevertheless managed to do a magnificent job in interesting the public in all aspects of flying.
In 1938 The Air Defence Cadet Corps was set up, and interestingly, on its organising council was Sir Malcolm Campbell, who broke the world speed record for Britain. Campbell’s car “Bluebird” carried the insignia of the BUF as its badge. Of course members of the movement had a right to privacy regarding their membership of the BUF and Mosley never mentioned their names unless they specifically told him that he may do so.
Malcolm Campbell by sporting the blackshirt badge nailed his colours to the mast as did John Chamier by joining the BUF January Club, which included many influential people.
The Air defence Cadet Corps quickly evolved in to the Air Training Corps in the early years of the war and John Chamier became Commandant. He had also held the posts of Director of Technical Development at the Air Ministry and Technical Director of Vickers (Aviation). Ltd and the Supermarine Aviation Works. He was later aviation correspondent for the BBC European Service. Finally he worked as a consultant dealing in technical accessories in the import and export business. He was author of the book, The Birth of the Royal Air Force.
It remains a mystery how he came to be missed during the 18B round-ups, but it was common for active members to be missed and unknown people who took little part in events to fall victim. This was probably due to the intelligence service not having a membership list and working instead from some incomplete branch lists, people who had written in the BUF press, tittle tattle from neighbours and Jewish and communist “hit lists”.
The main person involved in trapping “spies” and “traitors” was Anthony Blunt, one of the most treacherous people in the history of Britain. When dealing with 18B cases he was expecting to find people who, like himself, were anti-British and prepared to do anything for money. Perhaps that is why he missed John Chamier.