Air Marshal Sir Charles Soutar
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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:05 AM
"Air Marshal Sir Charles Soutar, who has died aged 96, filled many of the senior medical posts in the RAF before his appointment in 1978 as the service’s Director General of Medical Services.
Soutar served overseas on numerous occasions, but his most testing time came in 1967 when he arrived in Aden to take up the post of Principal Medical Officer at HQ Middle East Command (MEC). He and his staff had a huge parish to serve encompassing bases in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. However, his most pressing commitment was to provide medical and welfare support during the period leading up to the British withdrawal from the Aden Protectorate.
British casualties, both military and civilian, had started to increase and there was an urgent need to accelerate the evacuation of families and non-essential personnel. This was completed during July and, as the final withdrawal approached, the RAF’s major hospital at Steamer Point was closed in September. A temporary facility had to be created on the RAF airfield at Khormaksar and on the commando carrier HMS Albion. Some patients had to be evacuated by air.
Throughout this hectic period, medical services had to continue as normal in the rest of the region and Soutar and his staff moved to the new HQ MEC established in Bahrain from where the final withdrawal from Aden was coordinated. It was completed on November 29 1967.
Charles John Williamson Soutar was born on June 12 1920 at Ilford and educated at Brentwood School and at the London Hospital Medical School where he qualified as a doctor. He joined the RAF in May 1946.
After service at No 11 (Fighter) Group, he spent two years at Kai Tak in Hong Kong, which had a resident fighter squadron and also provided flying support during the Korean War."
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