John was born at Tilbury, Essex, England on Aug 30, 1923 and attended St. Chad’s Secondary School, Tilbury. He was an Auto-mechanic apprentice. He enlisted in the RAF at Romford, Essex in August, 1941.
He trained at #11 I.T.W., Scarborough, Yorks; #15 E.F.T.S. Carlisle, Cumberland, England. He received his Pilot Wing at Pensacola, USA on January 12, 1944.
He was posted to P R C Harrogate, England in March 1944. His operational training took place at #20 (P) A.F.U. Kidlington, Oxon., #3 S. of G.R. Blackpool; #1519 B.A.T. Flight, Feltwell, Norfolk; #302 F.T.U., Killadeas,
Northern Ireland and Oban and Alness, Scotland.
He was then posted to #209 Squadron, Koggala, Ceylon, and Kai Tak, Hong Kong.
Most Memorable Incident
“I had the misfortune to be thrown off the wing of a Catalina when preparing to beach the aircraft. Other than taking a soaking, I was not injured but I missed being thrown into a propeller by inches. Also had a close
encounter with a mountainous island off Vietnam. We spiralled down througth overcast cloud to our landfix. Took a terrifying close look at it and promptly did a climbing spiral upwards, back through the clouds.”
John was demobbed at Kirkham, Lancashire in August, 1946.
Post Service Career
John finished his Auto-mechanic apprenticeship and became a diesel/generator stationary engine mechanic.
He married Mary and they have two sons, David and Jim and a daughter, Audrey.
Ted Oakes Pensocola - 1943
John - Pensacola -1943