John Ponsonby (RAF officer)

John Maurice Maynard Ponsonby, , is a British businessman and a retired senior officer of the Royal Air Force.


Ponsonby was born on 8 August 1955 to Myles Ponsonby and Ann Maynard. Charles Ponsonby, 2nd Baron de Mauley, was his great-great-grandfather. He has two sisters.

Military career

British Army

After graduating from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets as a second lieutenant on 8 March 1975. He was promoted to lieutenant on 8 March 1977, and to captain on 8 September 1981. He relinquished his commission on 7 March 1983, therefore retiring from the British Army.

Royal Air Force

Ponsonby was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in April 1983 as a pilot, after nine years service as an infantry in the British Army. On 10 April 1983, he was appointed to a permanent commission and promoted to flight lieutenant with seniority from 10 March 1980. On 1 July 1988, he was promoted to squadron leader, and then to wing commander on 1 January 1994. As a group captain, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1999 New Year Honours, and was made an Aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II on 1 August 2001. He relinquished this appointment on 3 May 2002, being promoted to air commodore on 1 July that year. Ponsonby was also awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the 2002 Operational Honours List "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Northern Ireland during the period 1 October 2001 to 31 March 2002". He was promoted to his final rank of air vice marshal on 4 January 2005.
He has served as a support helicopter pilot throughout his career, and as a helicopter and tactics instructor. He commanded No. 78 Squadron in the Falkland Islands, No. 27 Squadron in the UK, the Support Helicopter Force in Bosnia and RAF Aldergrove/Joint Helicopter Force in Northern Ireland.
He has held staff appointments at Group, Command and Ministry level, including as Deputy Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff, and most recently as Air Officer Plans at Headquarters Strike Command.
He is a graduate of the RAF Staff College and the Joint Service Command and Staff College.
He was appointed Air Officer Commanding Training Group on 4 January 2005 and became Air Officer Commanding No. 22 Group on 30 October 2006.

Later career

It was announced on 16 January 2007 that Ponsonby was to be Chief of Staff Operations, Headquarters Air Command, from July 2007. He chose instead to leave military service to take a commercial role as Senior Vice President Training, AgustaWestland.

Personal life

Ponsonby is married to Marie Jose Antoinette Van Huizen-Husselson since 1980. They have three children, Charlotte Emma, Luke Myles William and Francesca Sarah.