Battle of Britain London Monument – W/Cdr. J S Dewar

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – W/Cdr. J S Dewar


John Scatcliff Dewar was born at Mussoori, Lahore Province, India in 1907. He was educated at King’s College, Canterbury and entered RAF College Cranwell as a Flight Cadet in January 1926. He was a brilliant student with ‘exceptional’ ratings. Dewar graduated in December 1927 and on the 17th of the month he joined 13 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Andover.


He was posted to the School of Naval Co-operation, Lee-on-Solent on 18th July 1929. Dewar joined 822 Squadron on the carrier HMS Furious on 6th May 1933 and was posted to 801 (Fleet Fighter) Squadron also on the Furious, on 10th July 1934. On one occasion, whilst serving in Furious, Dewar was washed overboard during a gale in the Bay of Biscay but was quickly rescued.

Dewar went to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath as a test pilot on 23rd June 1936. He was posted to SHQ Thorney Island on 26th March 1938. On 21st November 1939 Dewar arrived at 11 Group Pool, St. Athan for a refresher course.

He was posted to 60 Wing in France on the 25th and in December 1939 he took command of 87 Squadron at Lille/Seclin. He broke his shoulder in a flying accident but continued to fly regularly. The squadron destroyed more than sixty enemy aircraft during its stay in France, of which Dewar was credited with five. He was one of the first four officers to receive the double award of DSO and DFC (gazetted 31st May 1940).

The squadron was withdrawn to England on 22nd May and after a few days at Debden it moved to Church Fenton to refit. On 5th July 87 Squadron moved to Exeter and on the 11th Dewar claimed two Me110’s destroyed and probably another.

On the 12th Dewar was promoted to Acting Wing Commander and made Station Commander at Exeter. He continued to fly occasional operational sorties, generally with 213 Squadron. On 13th August he shared a Ju88 and on the 25th he destroyed a Ju88 and probably a Me109.


Above: his portrait was made by William Rothenstein

Dewar failed to arrived at Tangmere on a routine flight from Exeter on 12th September 1940 in 213 Squadron Hurricane V7306 and was reported ‘Missing’. His body was washed up at Kingston Gorse, Sussex on 30th September. No cause was ever discovered.

He is buried in St John the Baptist churchyard, North Baddesley, Hampshire.



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