Flying Officer John Johnston

Flying Officer John  David Johnston Royal Air Force Volunteer Squadron. He served with 103 Squadron R.A.F. and was lost on an Air Operation on 23rd November 1943 aged 26. He was the son of George and Mary Jane Johnston, the husband of Catherine Laidlaw Johnston ( Nee Forbes ) and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. 103 Squadron was part of the Main Bomber Force and flew Avro Lancasters from Elsham Wolds and flew over 6000 operational sorties during the War. F/O Johnston was a noted footballer and had been on the books of Newcastle United F.C. He  had flown on 21 Operations including Kassel, Dusseldorf, Hannover, Munich ,Sttutgart , Mannheim and Berlin. Once on a “Spoof” Raid to Ludwigshaven his Lancaster was coned by searchlights for over 11 minutes and suffered a Flak hit to the nose.  He was lost  on his 22nd operation on a raid to Berlin which was part of the Battle of Berlin and covered 16 raids between 19th November 1943 and 30th March 1944. Four of his crew survived to become Prisoners of War. They were Sergeant R. Crossley, Sergeant A. H. Stanton, Flying Officer R. H. Kerr and Flying Officer R. T. Jones. His aircraft was downed by a Messerschmitt BF-110 night fighter flown by Ludwig Meister. He survived the War but drowned whilst on holiday in the Netherlands whilst vainly trying he save his daughter and nephew. Over 500 aircraft were lost together with 2,690 aircrew and 1,000 Prisoners of War during the “Battle of Berlin” and Berlin itself was devastated. The second picture shows P/O Johnston with his crew in front of a Vickers Wellington which he flew in training flights before converting to the heavier Halifax and then the Avro Lancaster. The crew was ( Back row ) Harold Kerr( Navigator), Pat Stanton( Mid  Waist Gunner), Johnnie( Pilot), Nobby  Clarke( Wireless Operator ), Front Row, Jim  Reilly( Rear Gunner ) and Dick  Jones( Bomb Aimer ). Other aircraft used in training were the De Havilland 82A ( the Tiger Moth )and the Airspeed Oxford.

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