Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. G B Johns

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. G B Johns

 

George Binmore Johns was born at Totnes, Devon on 14th March 1917, the son of an instructor at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He was educated at Sutton Secondary School, Plymouth and joined the RAF on 9th January 1934 as an Aircraft Apprentice at No. 1 School of Technical Training at Halton. In December 1936 Johns passed out as an LAC Fitter II and was posted to 4 Squadron at Farnborough, an army co-operation unit.

He later volunteered for pilot training and was selected in March 1939. Johns did his initial training at 4 E&RFTS Brough and then moved on to 3 FTS Grantham.

 

 

After being promoted to Corporal in early August, Johns was awarded his flying badge on the 19th. He completed his training and joined the reformed 229 Squadron at Digby in November 1939 as a Sergeant-Pilot.

The squadron exchanged its Blenheims for Hurricanes in March 1940 and on 16th May Johns went to France with a squadron detachment. After suffering losses it returned to Digby on the 22nd. Johns took part in operations over Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain from September.

Commissioned in March 1941, Johns embarked with the squadron in May in the carrier HMS Furious, bound for the Middle East. The Hurricanes flew off to Malta on 21st May, refuelled there and then flew on to Mersa Matruh. Johns was attached to 73 Squadron for operations. He destroyed a Ju87 on 15th July, a Ju88 on the night of 8th August and a He111 by day on the 9th. In early September he and other pilots flew down to Takoradi to collect Hurricanes after which the squadron once again came together as a unit.

In March 1942 Johns was posted to 71 OTU Gordons Tree in Sudan as an instructor. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 7th April 1942). He returned to the Western Desert in January 1943 and took command of 250 Squadron on 2nd February. After the invasion of Sicily Johns was posted to the Middle East Staff College in September and in December went on staff duties.

He returned to the Desert Air Force in May 1944 and took command of 260 Squadron in Italy. With his tour completed, Johns was awarded the DSO (gazetted 29th December 1944) and posted to Sector Operations duties.

He returned to the UK in May 1945 and went on staff duties at the Air Ministry.

Johns stayed in the RAF postwar and was awarded the AFC (gazetted 2nd January 1956). He held a series of appointments and commands in the UK and overseas prior to his retirement on 24th March 1972 as a Group Captain. From then until June 1977 he was RAF Regional Liaison Officer for Scotland, a civilian post.

He died on 1st March 1991.

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