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Thread: Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson. Battle of Britain airman?

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    Default Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson. Battle of Britain airman?

    Dear all,

    I am trying to establish whether or not Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson participated in the Battle of Britain.

    I am aware that he was with 19 and 616 squadrons during 1940 but I can't find any entries in the ORBS confirming operational flights by him.

    I have heard that he was on a training flight that was diverted to intercept an enemy aircraft but cannot find any mention or proof of this.
    Does anyone have copies of his log book entries that confirm operational flights during the BoB?

    I must state that I am not trying to discredit him in any way. His contribution to the war effort and eventual victory was enormous.

    I am merely trying to establish the facts relating to his qualification as a Battle of Britain airman.

    Regards

    Gerry

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    There are probably other sources but mine is "Spitfire Ace of Aces" by Dilip Sarkar. There is quite a lot in his book that answers your question too much to transcribe here! He writes that when Johnson arrived on 19Sqn he realised he was not likely to fly on ops because he needed 50 hours on Spitfires and only had 23.50. Quite soon he was posted to 616 Sqn which had suffered serious losses and Sarkar records that Johnson qualified for his BoB Bar because he flew an "X-raid patrol" with 616 Sqn on 11/9/40.

    Steve

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    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I have heard about this flight on September 11th. Anecdotal evidence suggests that he was on a training flight that was vectored to intercept an unknown aircraft.
    However, There is no record of it in the ORB or anywhere else that I have checked.
    Johnsons own book is vague and perhaps that says a lot.

    I would love to see his log book entries for the September / October period to clear this up for once and for all.

    I suspect that like many other airmen he was with a right squadron at the right time but failed to make an operational flight.

    None of this detracts from the fact that he was an exceptional pilot.

    regards

    Gerry

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    When Johnnie Johnson's medals were sold on the London Auction a few years ago, there was no Battle of Britain bar on his 1939-45 Star. There are photographs of him wearing the bar or rosette on the star, but as the medals had come direct from the family, I think that we can accept that he had no entitlement. My old boss, Air Cdre John Topham, a B of B pilot, and a friend of Johnson was adamant that he was not entitled to wear the clasp.

    Cheers

    Jim

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    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for this additional information.

    It appears from the replies received so far that there is still ambiguity surrounding his participation and entitlement. Some feel strongly that he did participate and others disagree.
    This is precisely why I want to clear it up.
    I suspect that the log book will provide the only clear proof one way or another.

    Does anyone have contact details for the current keeper of Johnnie Johnsons medals / log books?

    Would that have been Johnny Topham who served with 219 in the BoB?


    regards

    Gerry
    Last edited by gedburke3; 29th April 2014 at 08:45. Reason: Additional info

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    Gerry,

    Yes, my immediate boss was John Groves Topham, DSO, OBE, DFC and Bar and yes, he had served with 219 Sqn.

    Regards

    Jim

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    Hi Jim
    I never met him but I was lucky to know several 219 aircrew that served with him.
    They all said he was a smashing chap.
    Gerry

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    Very little of this is in my field and I dip my toe in again with some trepidation. I omitted to write in my earlier post that Sarkar states on page 31 that the confirmation of events for 11/9/40 comes from Johnson's logbook and that he flew X4330.

    Steve

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    Johnson himself in an interview I did with him didn't consider himself a BoB pilot. I'll have to listen to the tape again to find out his exact words.

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    Hi John and Steve
    thanks for your replies.
    Steve, do you have a copy of the entry? Also, on Dilips own website it states that Johnson missed the Battle as a result of a shoulder injury which obviously contradicts the contents on page 31.
    John, that would be great if you could have another listen and confirm his own thoughts.
    cheers
    gerry
    Last edited by gedburke3; 30th April 2014 at 20:38. Reason: additional info

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