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Thomas Orde-Lees
1. Name Thomas Hans ORDE - LEES R.M.L.I
2. Date Commissioned 1 September 1895
3. Date retired 25 April 1919 (At own request)
4. Rank Ret rank Lieut. Colonel (7 November 1921)
5. Awarded wings None
6. Flying schools None
7. Aircraft types flown None
8. Decorations O.B.E 7 October 1919
A.F.C 1 November 1919 (1 January 1919)
China War Medal British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Orde - Lees was responsible for revolutionary changes in physical training in theService which resulted in the introduction of Swedish drill.
Only three Air Force Crosses have been awarded to the Corps - the other two being to Captain A.G. Bishop on 2 November 1918 for valuable flying services and to Lt. J. B. Frost on 5 June 1970 for helicopter rescue in deep jungle in Malaysia.
9. General Just at the outbreak of war he joined Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition in charge of transport. On return to England he was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps from 1 Aug 1917 until 6 April 1919. Whilst with the RFC he applied his abilities to new methods of parachute jumping to enable aircrews to escape from their aircraft in emergency. At that time pilots were not trained in the use of parachutes or provided with them and there was considerable scepticism and official inertia. Against official opposition he demonstrated their use by making jumps from Tower Bridge and the Middle Temple until the authorities were finally convinced. He was awarded with the Air Force Cross for his work and later the O.B.E.

He retired at his own request on 25 April 1919 and was a member of the Sempill mission to Japan in 1921 and was attached to the Japanese Navy as an expert in the use of parachutes. He lived in Japan until the outbreak of war in 1939 when he retired to New Zealand.

He died on 1st December 1958.

A small piece of land in the Antarctic is named Orde - Lees land in recognition of his work with the expedition.