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Thread: John 'Jack' Spedding D.S.O. D.F.C., 109 Sqn

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    Default John 'Jack' Spedding D.S.O. D.F.C., 109 Sqn

    I came across the grave of the above airman in a local churchyard (St Mary's in Mitford), and I've been trying to track down some more information about his R.A.F. service during the war. I have found a list of his promotions posted on a family tree on ancestry.co.uk. It includes the dates for his D.F.C. (March 1945 whilst an Acting Squadron Leader), and the D.S.O. in October that year after completing 96 ops with 109 Squadron.

    When he died in 1982, there was a warm appreciation printed in 'Castellum', the magazine of the Durham Castlemen's Association, which gives some details of his life both before and after the war.

    I'd like to find out about some of the missions he flew with 109 Sqn, if anyone had access to the 109 Sqn ORB? I can't seem to find a 109 Sqn Association.

    Regards

    Simon

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    SPEDDING, John, F/L, DFC (65574, Royal Air Force) - No.109 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 October 1945. Born 1909 in Wakefield, Yorkshire; educated at Bately Grammar School; enlisted August 1941; commissioned December 1943. No citation in Gazette; following text from Air Ministry Bulletin 20047 and Flight, 20 December 1945.

    This officer has completed two tours of operational duty. For the majority of his sorties he was engaged on target marking duties in attacks directed against vital and strongly defended industrial targets in the Ruhr or in the Ludwigshaven and Gotha areas. He has a fine record of successes. Flight Lieutenant Spedding has also been in command of a flight, and by his fearless leadership, determination and unswerving devotion to duty he has set an inspiring example to all under his command.

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    Hi Simon
    The Squadron Association for 109 was shared with 582 Squadron and was called The Little Staughton Pathfinders Association which disbanded around 2005.
    John Spedding was posted to 109 Squadron with his Navigator, F/L T. Rimmer, on May 9 1944 from the No.1655 MTU and served with 109 until the end of the war. His first operation with 109 was on the night of May 20/21, a bombing attack on Dusseldorf using Oboe. Spedding found his port engine cutting out at the operational height of 30,000 ft.and jettisoned his 4000 lb. cookie over the target area.
    His last operation was April 25 1944 to Annaburg when he dropped 2 Munroe bombs filled with leaflets from 28,000 ft over the POW camp, Stalag IV/D. On D-Day he marked the coastal battery at Merville for 104 heavies at 00:30.
    If 109 Squadron was the only squadron he flew with on operations then it is highly likely that he was an instructor on beam approach landings. Many beam approach instructors with no operational experience were selected for Oboe duties at 109 & 105 Squadrons while all of the navigators had done a tour of ops before going on to Oboe duties with these two squadrons. Spedding's operations with 109 were the usual mixture of mostly marking duties for the main force and precision bombing attacks, all using Oboe.
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 17th September 2014 at 16:27.

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    Many thanks indeed for the replies gentlemen.

    Dave thanks for the dates and details of the ops you listed, that's very helpful. You mention his last Op was April 1944 - presumably the date is April 1945?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Sorry Simon
    That was a mistake, should have read April 25 1945

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    Dave

    I've managed to get in touch with jack Spedding's son via the ancestry.co.uk website, and he tells me that Jack Spedding was a flying instructor at what was then the Empire Flying School at Brize Norton for several years before he joined 109 Sqn.

    Regards

    Simon

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    That makes sense Simon, I think Spedding was following the same path to 109 Squadron but just a month later than my father's pilot at 109 Squadron, Graham Foxall. They joined 109 Squadron April 1st 1944 following their Oboe training at 1655 MTU. Prior to that Foxall was also an instructor at Brize Norton, doing beam approach training. Both ended up as Flight Commanders with 109 in 1945. I don't know of any pilots who did first tours at 109 Squadron that weren't involved with beam flying training.
    Cheers
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by HughAHalliday View Post
    Born 1909 in Wakefield, Yorkshire; educated at Bately Grammar School; enlisted August 1941; commissioned December 1943.
    I'm afraid this is incorrect Hugh.

    My Dad was born in 1912 in Ashington, Northumberland, and educated at King Edward Grammar School, Morpeth, and University College, Durham. I am not sure of his date of joining the RAF, but he was in the RAFVR, having flown in the University Air Squadron while at Durham, he was commissioned as a pilot officer on joining up, and served at the Empire Flying School at Brize Norton. I still have the photos of him in the annual photos of the staff there. The other John Spedding is from a different branch of the Speddings, the Wrest Yorkshire ones!

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    Hi David,

    not strictly true. Jack Spedding left 109 at the end of May 1945 and served in 162 squadron from Blackbush delivering official mail throughout Europe until his demob at the end of October 1945, still flying Mosquitos.

    I remember my Dad telling me about 'Foxy'. Do you have access to the official squadron diaries? It would be very interesting to see another version of my Dad's flying career.

    Kind regards

    Richard Spedding

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    Hello Richard, fancy seeing you here! Welcome aboard.

    Regards

    Simon

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