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George Walter Johnson
|Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased)|
Wing Commander George Walter 'Johnnie' Johnson flew more than 60 operations against targets in Germany before becoming one of the Royal Air Force's most experienced test pilots. After leaving the RAF, he embarked on a career in the aviation industry and played a leading role in the success of overseas sales of the Harrier and Hawk jets. Johnson joined No 158 Squadron, flying Halifax bombers, at the height of the Battle of Berlin early in 1944. On his first operation over the 'Big City', the radio communications with his two gunners failed immediately after take-off. He could justifiably have returned to base; but, conscious of the stigma of being thought 'LMF' (lacking moral fibre) on his first operation, he decided to press on to the target, using light signals to keep in contact with his crew. Flying the same aircraft the next night, the fault recurred. Reflecting that he had got away with it the night before, he stayed with the bomber stream and dropped his bombs. By the end of March, Johnson and his crew had flown 16 operations and losses had been so high - 16 crews in four operations - that they were the senior crew on the squadron. They were then transferred to the Pathfinder Force to fly Lancasters with No 635 Squadron at Downham Market. Priorities for Bomber Command had changed in the build-up to the D-Day landings, and supply dumps, marshalling yards and transportation targets in France were attacked. Returning from one target early on June 15, Johnson and his crew were crossing the Thames Estuary at low level 'when something overtook us going very quickly and apparently on fire'. They had seen one of the first V-1s launched against London. The Pathfinder force marked targets for the main bomber attack supporting the breakout from Normandy. Johnson flew as a marker against the V-1 sites in the Pas de Calais and the huge construction site at Wizernes before the bombing offensive against Germany was resumed. His aircraft was hit by flak over Kiel and then by night fighters. Despite the damage to his Lancaster, he landed safely. By the end of October, Johnson had completed 62 operations, including 46 as a Pathfinder. He was awarded a Bar to the DFC he had been given earlier in the year for his 'high standard of courage, determination and devotion to duty'. The son of a civil servant, George Walter Johnson (always known as Johnnie) was born on January 8 1923 at Camberley, Surrey. He was educated at Erith County School, Kent, and joined the RAF on his 18th birthday. Johnson trained as a pilot in the United States before returning to England where, to his great disappointment, he was sent to be a flying instructor on single-engine aircraft. After a year trying to persuade the authorities to send him to an operational squadron, he was expecting to be posted to fighters, but found himself training on four-engine bombers. After completion of his bomber tours, Johnson was sent to Transport Command before joining the RAF Mission to Australia and New Zealand to fly Dakotas. He first went to Canada to collect a new aircraft and then flew it from Montreal, via the Pacific islands, to Sydney. For the next year he flew freight and passengers between Australia and the Pacific staging posts occupied by the British and Commonwealth forces as the Japanese retreated; he flew into Hong Kong shortly after the Japanese surrender. After a spell as the personal pilot to the RAF Chief of Staff (Australia), he returned to England and joined No 6 Course at the Empire Test Pilots' School. He was just 23, and had flown 2,500 hours on more than 20 different types of aircraft. Johnson spent the next three years at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down during which he tested some of the early jet fighters and bombers. He conducted the hot weather trials of the Vampire jet fighter at Khartoum. During a test flight to assess the efficiency of an airventilated suit being developed to keep pilots cool, the cockpit heating system stuck on hot, and Johnson just managed to land before passing out. The doctors lifted him clear of the cockpit and measured his body temperature before thinking of giving him some water. Johnson returned to England to learn that he had been posted to Namao, Alberta, to join the Winter Experimental Flight to conduct cold weather trials. During two years in Canada, Johnson flew many aircraft to assess performance in extreme cold temperatures. This often involved taking aircraft to airfields in the Yukon and to Churchill on Hudson Bay where outside temperatures reached minus 45 degrees centigrade. After spending another three years at the Empire Test Pilots' School as an instructor, Johnson was sent to the RAF Staff College, Bracknell, then became a staff officer at Fighter Command. In February 1962 he was appointed to command the Operations Wing at RAF Tengah, Singapore, the home of four RAF squadrons of Hunters, Javelins and Canberras and a RNZAF bomber squadron. In November 1963 the generally even tenor of station life overseas was interrupted by the 'confrontation' with Indonesia. With detachments of his squadrons in Malaysia, Kuching and Labuan, Johnson had a hectic time, commenting that 'confrontation' became 'a way of life, never reaching a climax but causing a good deal of frustration, proving that 'action stations' with no subsequent action is extremely debilitating'. On coming home, Johnson joined the staff of the RAF Staff College at Andover, where the student body was half British and half 'visiting officers'. The close association with many foreign air force personnel was to be important for his future. Johnson retired from the RAF in 1969, having flown more than 100 types of aircraft, in order to join the Hawker Siddeley Aviation marketing team, led by Bill Bedford, the former chief test pilot, whom he eventually succeeded. Sadly on the 28th July 2004 Wing Commander G W Johnnie Johnson died aged 81 (Telegraph obituary)
Items Signed by Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased)
| ||A Friday in Winter by Keith Woodcock. (C)|
Price : £90.00
|Sadly, but two examples of the Handly page Halifax exist today - the unrestored W1048 at the RAF Museum at Hendon, and the Yorkshire Air Museums pristine LV907 Friday the 13th, a rebuild from the remains of HR792. ......|
Packs with at least one item featuring the signature of Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased)
|Squadrons for : Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased)|
|A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased). A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.|
Country : UK
Founded : 4th September 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1945
Strength in unity
|No.158 Sqn RAF|
Full profile not yet available.
Country : UK
Founded : 20th March 1944
Fate : Disbanded 1st September 1945
Nos ducimus ceteri secunter - We lead, others follow
|No.635 Sqn RAF|
Full profile not yet available.
|Aircraft for : Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased)|
|A list of all aircraft associated with Wing Commander George Walter Johnson (deceased). A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Douglas
Production Began : 1941
Retired : 1970
DOUGLAS DAKOTA, Transport aircraft with three crew and can carry 28 passengers. speed 230-mph, and a altitude of 23,200 feet. maximum range 2,100 miles. The Douglas Dakota served in all theatres of world war two, The Royal Air Force received its first Douglas Dakota's in April 1941, to 31 squadron which was serving in India. These were DC2, later DC3 and eventually C-47 Dakotas were supplied. The Douglas Dakota was developed from the civil airliner of the 1930's. The Royal Air Force received nearly 2,000 Dakotas, But many more than this served in the US Air Force and other allied countries. The last flight of a Douglas Dakota of the Royal Air Force was in 1970. You can still see Douglas Dakota's in operational and transport use across the world.
Manufacturer : Handley Page
Production Began : 1941
Retired : 1952
Number Built : 6177
Royal Air Force heavy Bomber with a crew of six to eight. Maximum speed of 280mph (with MK.VI top speed of 312mph) service ceiling of 22,800feet maximum range of 3,000 miles. The Halifax carried four .303 browning machine guns in the tail turret, two .303 browning machines in the nose turret in the MK III there were four .303 brownings in the dorsal turret. The Handley Page Halifax, first joined the Royal Air Force in March 1941 with 35 squadron. The Halifax saw service in Europe and the Middle east with a variety of variants for use with Coastal Command, in anti Submarine warfare, special duties, glider-tugs, and troop transportation roles. A total of 6177 Halifax's were built and stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1952
Manufacturer : Avro
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Number Built : 7377
The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.
Full profile not yet available.
|Battle of Britain Timeline of Related Info : 21st May|
|21||May||1941||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O L. W. Stevens of 17 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1941||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O M. DFC Kramer of 600 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1941||Former Canadian Battle of Britain pilot, F/O P. W. Lochnan of 1 RCAF Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1942||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. C. Wilcock of 248 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1942||Former Czech Battle of Britain pilot, P/O K. J. Vykoukal of 111 and 73 Squadrons, was Killed.|
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