- Harris, Sir Arthur Travers, 1st Baronet
died April 5, 1984, Goring-on-Thames, OxfordshireBritish air officer.He served in World War I and after the war in various posts in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Nicknamed Bomber Harris, as air marshal and commander of the RAF bomber command (1942), he developed the saturation technique of mass bombing (concentrating clouds of bombers in a giant raid on a single city) that was applied with destructive effect on Germany in World War II.
* * *▪ British military officerbyname Bomber Harrisborn April 13, 1892, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Englanddied April 5, 1984, Goring-on-Thames, OxfordshireBritish air officer who initiated and directed the “saturation bombing” that the Royal Air Force inflicted on Germany during World War II.Harris was reared in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and educated in English public schools. He joined the 1st Rhodesian Regiment at the outbreak of World War I and served in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia). Following his return to England in 1915, he joined the Royal Flying Corps and eventually commanded various squadrons in France and at home. After the war he was given a regular commission in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Throughout the 1920s and '30s, he served at several posts in Iraq, India, and Britain and in the Air Ministry.Harris was made an air commodore in 1937, was named air vice-marshal in 1939, and rose to air marshal in 1941 and to commander in chief of the RAF Bomber Command in February 1942. A firm believer in mass raids, Air Marshal Harris developed the saturation technique of mass bombing—that of concentrating clouds of bombers in a giant raid on a single city, with the object of completely demolishing its civilian quarters. Conducted in tandem with American precision bombing of specific military and industrial sites by day, saturation bombing was intended to break the will and ability of the German people to continue the war. Harris applied this method with great destructive effect in Germany—most notably in the firebombings of Hamburg and Dresden. During the preparations for the Normandy Invasion in early 1944, Harris was subordinate to American commanders such as Dwight D. Eisenhower (Eisenhower, Dwight D.) and Carl Spaatz (Spaatz, Carl) and directed the destruction of transportation and communication centres in cities all across German-occupied France.Harris retired in September 1945 and the following year was made marshal of the RAF. Soon after, he wrote his story of Bomber Command's achievements in Bomber Offensive (1947). The morality and even the efficacy of saturation bombing came under severe question after the war, and, disappointed by such reappraisal of his war aims and methods, Harris lived for a time in South Africa, where from 1946 to 1953 he was managing director of the South African Marine Corporation. He was created a baronet in 1953.Additional ReadingHarris's life and career are discussed in Dudley Saward, “Bomber” Harris (1984); and Charles Messenger, “Bomber” Harris and the Strategic Bombing Offensive, 1939–1945 (1984).
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sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy … Universalium
baronet — baronetical, adj. /bar euh nit, bar euh net /, n. a member of a British hereditary order of honor, ranking below the barons and made up of commoners, designated by Sir before the name and Baronet, usually abbreviated Bart., after: Sir John Smith … Universalium
Arthur — /ahr theuhr/, n. 1. Chester Alan, 1830 86, 21st president of the U.S. 1881 85. 2. legendary king in ancient Britain: leader of the Knights of the Round Table. 3. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Port Arthur Adamov Arthur Arthur s … Universalium
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