Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. J N Davis

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. J N Davis

 

Nothing is currently known of the background of Sgt. John Norman Davis until 10th May 1940 when, as a regular RAF navigator, he was attached to 600 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force.

Six Blenheims of the squadron had been detailed to attack Waalhaven airfield, south of Rotterdam, to disrupt the German reinforcements being landed there by Ju52s. The Dutch Air Force had been virtually wiped out and could not mount an effective resistance.

The force was to be led by the CO, S/Ldr. J Wells. As his workload leading the formation to the fighter escort RV and on to the target would be high, Davis was assigned to his crew, in Blenheim L6616 BQ*R.

The formation arrived at the RV over the North Sea and circled for an hour but the fighter escort, who had been given the wrong timings, failed to appear.

Pressing on, the Blenheims were intercepted by Me110s of ZG1 over Pernis, a Rotterdam suburb, and five were quickly shot down. Davis baled out from L6616 but Wells and the gunner, Cpl. B Kidd, were killed.

Although suffering a head injury and minor burns, Davis was able to evade capture and make contact with retreating Dutch troops. They passed him from unit to unit till he arrived at the Hook of Holland and was able to embark on HMS Hereward, which had arrived to rescue the Dutch Royal family. It sailed on 13th May for Harwich.

 

Above: Davis (left) after landing at Harwich. He is accompanied by AC RB Barrie, a survivor from Whitley N1357 which was shot down by Dutch aircraft when it flew over neutral Holland returning from a sortie over Germany on 28th March 1940

 

He rejoined 600 at Manston and was recorded as saying ‘Wells practically kicked me through the escape hatch’.

The Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 32 of 6th June 1940 reported him as ‘Previously Missing, now Wounded in Action’.

Davis stayed with 600 and flew thirteen operational sorties during the Battle of Britain.

His subsequent postings are currently unknown, he was commissioned from Warrant Officer on 22nd June 1943 and promoted to Flying Officer on 5th October 1943.

He does not appear on the CWGC database so it may be assumed that he survived the war.

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