Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet, GCB, OBE, AFC, commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Bomber Command during the height of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
Born in Gloucestershire, Harris emigrated to Rhodesia in 1910, aged 17. He joined the 1st Rhodesia Regiment at the outbreak of the First World War and saw action in South Africa and South West Africa. In 1915, Harris returned to England to fight in the European theatre of the war. He joined the Royal Flying Corps, with which he remained until the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918. Harris remained in the Air Force through the 1920s and 1930s, serving in India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Palestine, and elsewhere.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Harris took command of No. 5 Group RAF in England, and in February 1942 was appointed head of Bomber Command. He retained that position for the rest of the war. In the same year, the British Cabinet agreed to the "area bombing" of German cities.