Battle of Britain London Monument – S/Ldr. J H Heyworth

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – S/Ldr. J H Heyworth


John Harvey Heyworth was born on 20th March 1910 in Belper, Derbyshire. He was educated at Rugby School and later Edinburgh University and went on to join the RAF on a short service commission on 11th September 1931.

On the 26th he was posted to 5 FTS Sealand. After training he joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch. On 22nd November 1934 Heyworth went to 504 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Hucknall as Flying Instructor. He went on to the RAFO in September 1936.

He was then employed as a test pilot with Rolls Royce and was involved in testing up until the start of the war, when he was recalled into the RAF.



At first assigned to instructional duties, he arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down for a refresher course on 21st May 1940 and converted to Hurricanes.

On 8th July Heyworth joined 222 Squadron at Hornchurch, possibly as a supernumerary. He took command of 79 Squadron at Acklington on 12th July and took it south to Biggin Hill in August.

On 27th September Heyworth shared in the destruction of a He111. On 10th April 1941, flying from Pembrey, he shot a He111 down into the sea off St. David’s Head, Pembrokeshire. He was posted away from 79 Squadron in June 1941 and in March 1942 was reassigned to Rolls Royce as a test pilot.

He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1946), postwar he continued to work for Rolls Royce and tested numerous jet engines and aircraft and rose to become chief test pilot.

He relinquished his commission in the RAFO on 20th March 1955, retaining his rank of Wing Commander.

He died on 21st September 1959 and is buried in Papplewick Churchyard, Nottinghamshire.

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