Shire Horses at Country Fair by Air Vice Marshall Norman Hoad. Signed lower right, Post War. Norman Edward Hoad was born on July 28, 1923 in Brighton, and was educated locally. He entered the RAF when he was 18, trained as a pilot in what was then Southern Rhodesia, and returned to Britain in 1943 to complete his training as a bomber pilot before joining No 61 Squadron. He flew operations in support of the Allied landings in Normandy and attacked targets in Germany before being shot down.
After his tour with No 192, Hoad attended the Army Staff College and was then appointed chief of war plans at the HQ of the Second Allied Tactical Air Force based in Germany, an appointment that took full advantage of his knowledge of Soviet air defence capabilities.
After his return to Britain in 1960 he spent much of his time as a senior officer in appointments with the RAF's strategic air transport force. He commanded the RAF's first jet transport squadron, No 216, equipped with the Comet, and later the RAF transport base at Lyneham, at the time when the US-built Hercules was entering RAF service, In 1968 he was put in command at Abingdon, where he was also responsible for organising the RAF's 50th anniversary celebrations, the largest display since the Coronation Review of 1953. At the end of this period he was promoted to air commodore and appointed CBE.
In January 1969 Hoad embarked on three years as defence and air attache in Paris. This coincided with a period of extensive Anglo-French collaboration involving the joint development and introduction into RAF service of the Gazelle and Puma helicopters, the Jaguar strike attack aircraft, and the Martel air-launched anti-shipping missile. In his final months in Paris, Hoad helped to plan the Queen's state visit to France in May 1972 . He was appointed CVO.
After 18 months at the MoD as a director on the Defence Policy Staff, Hoad became chief of staff of No 46 Group, which operated the RAF's fleet of transport aircraft. Within six months he became the Air Officer Commanding, until the Group was absorbed into No 38 Group at the end of 1975.
For his final tour of duty, he was the senior RAF member of the directing staff at the Royal College of Defence Studies, retiring in March 1978.
A highly talented artist specialising in aviation and animal subjects, Hoad studied under the renowned aviation artist Frank Wootton. With Wootton and others (including David Shepherd), he was a founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists, later becoming a life Vice-President. His works are on display at the RAF Museum, Hendon, and in many public and private collections.
Horses were a favourite subject in his paintings, and in 1979 the Society of Equestrian Artists was formed under his chairmanship. Among his best-known works is one of the Queen reviewing Trooping the Colour on her favourite trooping horse, Burmese.
Norman Hoad married, in 1945, Olive Coe, who survives him with their two sons.