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Air Marshal Sir Richard Bruce Bolt KBE CB DFC AFC RNZAF (born 16 July 1923), was a World War II bomber pilot and a senior Royal New Zealand Air Force officer in the post-War years. He was Chief of the Air Staff from 1974 to 1976 and Chief of the New Zealand Defence Staff from 1976 to 1980 when he retired from the military.

Bolt was educated at Nelson College from 1936 to 1939.[1] His father was the pioneering New Zealand aviator George Bolt.

During World War II, Bolt served with the Pathfinder Force, flying the Lancaster Bomber. After the War, Bolt held two different squadron commands as the Commanding Officer of No. 40 Squadron RNZAF, the Commanding Officer of No. 24 (Commonwealth) Squadron RAF.

Honours and awards

In the Birthday Honours 1959 the then Sqdn. Leader Bolt was awarded the Air Force Cross.[2][3] In the New Year Honours 1977 Bolt was appointed a Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath.[4] In May 1973 Bolt was appointed as Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.[5] and later elevated to Knight Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.[6]


  1. Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition
  2. "Birthday Honours List" (18 June 1959) 35 New Zealand Gazette 787 at 812.
  3. "No. 41729". 5 June 1959.. 
  4. "No. 47104". 30 December 1976. 
  5. "No. 45985". 22 May 1973. 
  6. "No. 47871". 22 May 1973. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
D F St George
Chief of the Air Staff
1974 – 1976
Succeeded by
L Siegert
Preceded by
Sir Richard Webb
Chief of the Defence Staff
1976 – 1980
Succeeded by
Sir Neil Anderson

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