Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. J W Ditzel

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. J W Ditzel


John William Ditzel was born in London on 26th March 1920 and joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t WOp/AG. He was called to full-time service at the outbreak of war and joined 29 Squadron at Debden in October 1939.

Ditzel was posted to 25 Squadron at North Weald in April 1940 and flew with the squadron until February 1941, when he went to 1417 Flight for a few weeks before being put on ferry duties.

In April 1941 Ditzel was posted to 46 MU Lossiemouth, where he took part in testing overhauled aircraft before their return to squadrons.

In September 1941 Ditzel joined 125 Squadron at Fairwood Common. Initially equipped with Defiants, the squadron began to receive Beaufighters in February 1942.

Commissioned in May 1942, Ditzel began the process of retraining as a Navigator/Radar in June and was posted away from 125. He went to 6 AOS Staverton in August for a course, moved on to 62 OTU Cranfield in October, then to 51 OTU there in March 1943.

In June Ditzel flew to Gibraltar on his way to North Africa. He joined 600 Squadron at Monte Corvino, Sicily in September 1943.

On the night of 29th January 1944 Ditzel’s Beaufighter encountered a Do217 over the Anzio beachhead.

After a running fight his Beaufighter sent out a Mayday saying they had been damaged by flak and return fire and were attempting to land on a beach. The subsequent events are currently unknown but resulted in the death of his pilot, F/O HR Adams, who is buried in Bolsena War Cemetery.

Ditzel was captured.

Ditzel was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He died in 1995.

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