'a hostile Seaplane patrolling the mouth of the Straits, was pursued by
two camels Captain J.A.
Yonge and Second Lieutenant J. Lynch) which
continued to engage until Nagara Seaplane Shed
was reached. Tracers from both Camels had been seen to enter fuselage of enemy
machine which did not move after landing.
Our machines were subjected to intense machine gunfire
when at a height of about 100 feet,
but were only slightly damaged and were turning for home when two
Halberstadt Scouts from behind Chanak dived on them.
An engagement which lasted 15-20 minutes took place over the Narrows and Chanak at an altitude of 50 to 1200 feet.
The enemy machines eventually
drew off and the camels,
severe A.A. and machine
gun fire from the land,
did not follow, as
had expended all his ammunition'
Arrived here at Mudros at about 7 a.m. and reported to the drafting officer. Met Yonge and he is in trouble - a weeks disciplinary course after
getting into Feeney's bad books. He objected to flying and others being ordered to fly, on dark nights in Camels. Everyone supported him. However he eventually flew but not before writing a letter to the Wing Captain. Feenny was very ungentlemanly about it,
but when he was going on leave and offered to shake hands, Yonge turned his back and walked away. Now all he wants is to be transferred to the Western Front..
Yonge asks me for dinner over in his mess. Things are much better now than when I stayed here before. Everything organised and under control.
In the evenings we sit by the fig tree outside our mess hut and Scott plays his mandolin and we softly sing sentimental songs. ......... . It seems that Bowhill is to ask all pilots what they have been doing out here as he is thinking of sending in recommendations
for decorations. Everyone is getting ready to shoot a good line of bull.
Conditions at the landing strips were not good and that is quite
apart from the difficult landing and take off conditions. The Crew lived in tents, had earth latrines and were constantly surrounded by dust and insects. One pilot
wrote if you were eating jam, you had to waive your hand over it all the way from your plate to your mouth, to make sure you were not eating flies. The only time to
use the latrines as just before lunch. As soon as the gong sounded the flies left the latrines and went over to the mess tent.
He was automatically in the Royal Air Force, when it took over the
R.N.A.S and the R.F.C. from its establishment on April 1st 1918. He held from 1st
April1918, the wartime rank of rank of Captain. A title which he used when promoting his flying school in Indiana in the early 1920’s.
The Confidential Report on his service in the Aegean states
“VG officer and pilot”
Number 222 Squadron came back to England to be disbanded on the 27th
February 1919. His medical record shows that he had four weeks leave granted in July 1919 following fracturing his left fibula. It is not known whether this was the result of a flying accident. In August he was assessed as category A and told to report forthwith
to his unit. On the 22nd of August 1919 he was discharged.
In September 1919 he appears on the Air Force Register as unemployed. By June 1920 he was off the register.
On the formation of the Royal Air Force on the 1st April 1918, an interdepartmental/service committee was set up to consider if inter alia the new
service should have its own special decoration.
In March 1918, the committee advised that a decoration should be instituted for the Royal Air Force, corresponding to the Distinguished Service Cross
for the Navy and the Military cross for the Army.
On the 6th May 1918 the King approved the creation of the Distinguished Flying Cross and three other lesser air force decorations. The Victoria Cross
would be the highest award for all three services.
Notice of the institution of the decorations with notices of the first four awards appeared in the London Gazette on the 3rd June 1918.
However the formal Royal Warrant was not published until the 5th December 1919. It read in part:
"Whereas we are desirous of signifying our appreciation of acts of valour courage and devotion to duty performed by officers and men in our Air
Force ...... We do hereby for Us, Our heirs and successors institute and create ..... The Distinguished Flying Cross ...... . It is ordained that the Distinguished Flying Cross shall be granted only to such Officers and warrant Officers of Our said Forces
as shall be recommended to Us for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy ."
His award of the D.F.C .was recorded in the 7th supplement of the London Gazette dated 31/12/1918 which was published Wednesday 1st January 1919.
It states under the heading "Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross "Captain John Arthur Yonge" There were several hundred such medals issued at this time.
His service record states "Service considered for the grant of war medals" which would suggest that his D.F.C. was for general activities and not
for one heroic act. With the aircraft of the time and the ferocious fighting it was rare for a pilot to survive for long. Probably a number of medals were awarded just for surviving.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force and was instituted for "an act or acts of
valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".
The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the RAF.
During World War I, approximately 1,100 DFCs were awarded, with 70 first bars and 3 second bars. A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received
a second award.
The medal is a cross flory and is 2⅛ inches wide. The horizontal and bottom bars are terminated with bumps, the upper bar with
a rose. The medal's face features aeroplane propellers superimposed on the vertical arms of the cross and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram surmounted by an Imperial Crown.
The reverse features the Royal Cypher in the centre and the year of issue engraved on the lower arm. The medal is issued named.
The ribbon was originally white with purple broad horizontal stripes, but changed in 1919 to the current white with purple
broad diagonal stripes.
On the 18th
of March 1919 he was elected as a member of the Royal Aero Club of the UK. It is not clear for how long he kept up his membership.
It is not clear what g he did before going to England. One report
states that he was engaged in barnstorming. Barnstorming was a form of entertainment in which stunt pilots performed tricks, either individually
or in groups called flying circuses. Devised to "impress people with the skill of pilots and the sturdiness of planes", it became popular in the Britain after the war with many ex military pilots taking part.
He arrived in Quebec from Glasgow on the 19th
or 20h of June 1920 either from Glasgow or Liverpool and on different ships according to the index on Ancestry .com! June 1920. The immigration record shows that he
was intending to settle in Canada in British Columbia and that he intended to undertake fruit farming though what he knew about fruit farming is debatable unless he was involved briefly before the war. Probably like many young men who had only known war, he
was unsettled and did not know what to do when peace came. As his employer or business contact he has out down the British Columbia firm of A Rutherford who were wholesale dealers in fruit and vegetables. Immigration Form 30A which he completed gives much
the same kind of information but including that he was going to stay with a friend Major Watson in Victoria, British Columbia.
The UK Outward Passenger list states that he was going to Montreal and that his occupation was already that of fruit grower. Maybe this is what he
had done in Madeira. This also shows him embarking at Liverpool.
So while there is some discrepancy in the records or how the records are described, the general tenor is clear.
In November 1920 he entered the USA, traveling on a ship of the White star Dominion Line. . He stated that he was living in Vancouver British Columbia
and that he was traveling to Chicago. The Ancestry.com index states he was traveling from landlocked Winnipeg, Manitoba!
At some point he came back to Canada before going back to the US.
For according to his service record, and Flight Magazine he married Marita MacMillan Kerr of Lochranza Arran,
November 1891, in Toronto on the 4th
October 1923. On his death certificate and her death entry, her name is given as
Mary Macmillan. They had no children.
For 1925 we have a number of references to him and his flying school in Gary, Indiana.
He advertised extensively in 1925 in the Magazine “Popular Mechanic”
He also published his own publicity booklet. In this booklet for his Flying School in Gary Indiana, probably published in 1925, he refers briefly
to his war record where he says he was in charge of a flight of Sopwith Camels. This cannot be confirmed from all the records that have been checked. He goes on to say that since the end of the war he has devoted himself to commercial flying – training, passengers,
aerial photography and surveying and that in 11 years he has flown 200,000 miles.
The same booklet refers to the planes he uses, an Eaglerock and a Standard J-1. He praises both planes for their flying qualities. Wikipedia has the
Alexander Eaglerock was one of a number of airplanes built for civilian use to replace the dwindling supplies of World War I surplus craft. Winging away from the Denver-based Alexander Aircraft Corporation at "mile-high" altitudes, equipped with a Curtiss
OX-5, 90 horsepower engine, the Eaglerock cruised at heights and speeds that many old and weary warplanes couldn't reach anymore.
In 1925, the first Eaglerock bristled with new innovations such as a tail wheel and wings that folded back for storage. When buyers didn't seem ready for such "modern" gimmicks, a more
conventional plane appeared in early 1926. The Eaglerock is considered one of the first significant certificated aircraft, with ATC (Approved Type Certificate) Barnstormers landed the Eaglerock in farm fields across rural America in the 1920s and '30s, giving
rides in these "new flying machines" to the brave souls willing to take the risk of flight. Ten-minuterides sold for 50 cents to a dollar.
Standard J was
a substitute standard basic trainer aircraft produced in the USA from 1916 to 1918. It was a two-seat tandem biplane constructed from wood with wire bracing and fabric covering. The J-1 was considered from the beginning as a stopgap to supplement the more
JN-4 production. Though the J-1
and its variants were produced in large numbers, it was disliked by instructors and students alike because of its highly vibration-inducing and unreliable engine.
Fatality records show while the JN-4 production outnumbered the Standards by only about two to one to June 1918, the number of fatalities in J-1s to JN4s was about one to seven, which is probably indicative of the actual limited use of the available aircraft.
Many of the later production J-1s were never taken out of their delivery crates. In June 1918, even while training was at a fever pitch, all Standard J-1s were grounded Many J-1s carried on with civilian flying schools, joy-riding, and barnstorming operations
until they wore out, or were forced to be retired by the nascent air transport legislation, introduced in 1927, which forbade the use of wooden aircraft for passenger transport.
So it seems he used one good plane though it should be noted that Jack was sole distributor for the State of Indiana and one not so good but cheaper
to buy. Probably a question of money.
During this period he was a member of the Gary Aeronautical society and of the American National Aeronautic Association.
Also the Aero Digest records in 1926, the same year that he was advertising the Gary Flying School that he was said to be of the “Great Lakes Aviation
Co Lake Forrest. Other newspaper cuttings for 1923 and 19256 indicate he was the proprietor. It seems to have been a small airline co operating out of the Chicago area and charging 20 cents a mile. It was based at the town of Lake Forest in Illinois.
We do not know when he gave up his flying school in Indiana but his service record shows that from 1928-28 he was a Flying Officer [with a question
mark] with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The RCAF was responsible for civil tasks such
as anti-smuggling patrols, forest fire watches, aerial forest spraying, mail delivery, mercy flights, law enforcement, and surveying/aerial photography, and there was some training. A major undertaking by the RCAF during 1927–28 was the Hudson
Strait Expedition whose purpose was to investigate ice movements and navigation conditions
in the Hudson Strait in
preparation for the possible creation of a major shipping port on Hudson
Bay at Churchill,
The RCAF replaced
the Air Board and the CAF as the regulator of Canadian civil aviation. In 1927 the management of aviation in Canada was reorganized so
that the RCAF, now considered to be a purely military body, did not control civil flying. A new government branch, the Civil Government Air
Operations (CGAO) Branch, was formed to manage air operations that supported civil departments. All RCAF operational flying units and their
personnel were transferred to the new organisation The RCAF establishment was reduced to a headquarters, two training stations and five training squadrons. So the short time he was with the RCAF was a time of transition.
At some point he joined International Airways, who were based
at Hamilton Ontario. In May 1929 that Company and Fairchild Aviation and Canadian Airways merged but the idea was that each company would keep its own identity. However by June he was on the payroll of Canadian Airways. The Company’s main business was the
carrying of mail but many mail planes also carried passengers, summer and winter. There was also aerial photography and surveying and charter trips for fishermen and game hunters and mining camp. With the primitive planes, rudimentary aids, basic landing grounds,
which included frozen lakes and terrible winter weather, the flying would have been challenging to say the least
The origin of Canadian Airways was Western Canada Airways (WCA) which was established in 1926 In order to expand WCA at the
national level, the Company convened a syndicate, which led to the formation of the Aviation Corporation of Canada in July 1929. The purpose of this formation was to help in the acquisition of eastern Canadian aviation companies to facilitate the planned expansion.
In 1930, Canadian Airways Limited was established after the acquisition of several aviation companies.
Air Mail was the backbone of aviation at the time as it underpinned regular services and helped cover costs. However in 1932,
Government mail contracts were cancelled and a host of new restrictions were introduced by the Federal Government. These actions would serve to gradually undermine Canadian Airways and was presumably why John set up his own Company in 1933.
The assistant to President of Canadian Airways in 1930 was Colonel R.H. Mulock. He was a pilot with the Canadian contingent of the Royal Naval Air
Service in WW1 and it may well be that at some point in their service careers John Yonge met him. He spoke at a Company dinner in 1930 at which John was present.
With this account are some copy flight records of Canadian airways.
It shows that on 7/8th June 1930 he was involved in various flights to
and from London, Brantford and Hamilton, linked to the opening of Brantford Airport The records show that only small amounts of mail were carried on these inaugural flights. On the flight of the 7th
of June there were just four cachets with 1189 pieces of mail. His address is shown at this time as being Vancouver British Columbia and England.
An examination of his salary payments shows that with bonuses his
salary on an annual basis was over $5000 in 1930 and for 1931 and1932 for nine months (he did not work January to March) he earned over £13000 ..A
check on comparative salaries (far more meaningful than some astronomical multiplier) taken from various sources and rounded up or down
as convenient this shows pilots at the top of the tree. By comparison
Farm hand $150
College Teacher $2000
Coal miner $1000
Bus driver $900
Train conductor £1800
The reference in the salary details suggests he put in a lot of overtime and night and international flights but clearly
he was doing very well.
So at a time of general economic collapsehe
was doing very well but the good times were not to last.
There is a note in the Company files which It states that he left the Company in March 1931 but the payroll records shows
him as still in receipt of his salary for 1932. 1932 was the year the Airline lost the airmail contract
The payroll records for Jan-March were missing and suggesting he might not be with the Company .Possibly he chose not to fly in the worst of the winter
but perhaps he had to resign to do that and then taken on again in the spring. But then again if he resigned to avoid winter flying that would have happened at the start not the end of winter and not the end. A mystery.
What is not a mystery is that his employer, Canadian Airways was in a bad way.
In 1932 the airmail contract cancellation which had been threatened in the previous year actually took place. This resulted in a further reduction
in personnel and strict economy measures to ensure the survival of the Company. The problem was made worse by the fact that the passenger services which were set up to provide a new source of revenue were not a success.. Cancellation took place throughout
the year starting on the 31st Match. even though the Company had four year contract and had invested in aircraft, facilities and personnel on this basis. While the Government sympathised the counties finances were in a dire straight. Cuts in aviation were
to amount to over 10% of the total cut in government expenditure.
As soon as the cancellations were announced in 1932 cut salaries of all employees save pilots by 10%, the pilots having had a 30% cut the previous
September. However there were also lay off's including pilots . In January 1931 the Airline had 234 employees. With progressive reductions it was down to 161 by May 1932.
A further 10% reduction in salaries did not take place when it was pointed out that the cuts had led to many departments being understaffed with man
men doing two men's jobs and thus that morale was bad.
In 1931 the Company made an operating profit before depreciation of $171,430 while in 1932 for the first half t of the year they made a loss of $51211.
After depreciation they made a loss of $76928 in 1931 and $227973 in 1932. The options they could come up with was to increase the volume of business or suspend operations
The losses continued into 1933 and the only part of the business making money was bush flying but that needed capital which was not there, to be invested
in it. . In 1933 bank overdraft was doubled to $4000000 and liquid assets dropped $4500000 and two important surveying contracts were lost and the investments made for the now canceled air mail contracts still had to be paid for
The Company had to continual dilemma of bidding so low for contacts that they could not hope to make any money or letting rivals with lower costs
take that business
During 1933 Government expressed concerns that unless the Government supported them that they could not last another year
The only reason the airline did not cease operations was that there would still be fixed costs to pay on rentals and leases equipment would deteriorate
and organisational skills lost
We do not know if Jack was made redundant or if he left before he was pushed.
Throughout the middle to late 1930's Canadian Airways barely kept up its fleet and the only new craft purchased was to replace losses. Their new competitors
which had sprung up were largely equipped with new aircraft.
From 1933, at which point he presumably left Canadian Airways, he was the proprietor of “Yonge Letter Service.” According to his service record this
continued up to 1940. Despite extensive inquiries it has not been possible to find out anything more about this firm.
We do not know if Jack was a Bush Pilot but even if he was only flying in the more settled parts of Canada conditions and problems would only have
been better by a matter of degrees.
The term "bush flying" has never been properly defined but essentially it means flying in the sparsely settled territories in the Canadian north.
In the summer sea or float planes were used while in winter skis were fitted. Only in time and in the more settled parts of the country were there more rough prepared strips were wheeled planes used. .
Often there was no or limited competition with ground transport so if the weather was especially bad pilots could simply put a flight on hold.. Also
the abundance of lakes and rivers meant that in the event of engine trouble there was normally a place where a pilot could touch down..
However landing on water imposed different difficulties in both summer and winter. In summer landing on smooth glassy water especially at dawn or
dusk and in winter landing in a white out both meant that it could be very difficult to estimate exactly where the surface was.
With no radar, limited radio communication poor or non existent maps and compass deviation the more north one went, navigation could difficult
The term "bush aircraft" like "bush flying" has been used since the very early days of aviation in Canada. Obviously a bush aircraft is one that has
been used for bush flying but some types that were used were not really suited. Generally a bush aircraft should be thought of as one that could carry a payload for a reasonable distance together with enough equipment to take care of itself and its crew under
emergency conditions. Speed was not important but the plane must be capable of landing and taking off in a small area.
In the early days of bush flying the success of any base or operation was almost entirely due to the capability of the pilot, not only from the standpoint
of his skill in operating the aircraft but from his initiative in bringing in new business, making friends with the local people and sizing up the general business situation at the time. while these conditions changed somewhat with the development of the bush
flying business and the establishment of a number of main bases in which several aircraft were stationed with radio operators, agents and sometimes personnel to look after other phases of the business, nevertheless this characteristic was still very much needed
in the establishment of new bases.
Overloading was a common feature of bush flying in Canada. It could have serious consequences. Take off distance would become greater with no guidelines,
climbing rates are slowed, engines could overheat and the plane was less stable in the air when buffeted by gusts. All foolish but the reality was equipment might have to be loaded in the bush with no scales available and the weight would have to be estimated,
Also unless a special trip was scheduled and that could cost money a long gap might elapse before there was another flight. The temptation for an operator already working close to the margins to fly overloaded was great.
All bush pilots were expected to carry a lot of emergency equipment with them so as to be self supporting in the bush. Doubtless the rules were sometimes
bent as all such equipment cut down on paying payloads
An expense that aviation had in Canada that other countries did not there were periods of about eight weeks when flying was difficult and impossible
fro float planes which had to cope with the freezing and break up of water on the lakes. Skis could be used in winter but were easily damaged.
Another expense was fuel which in remote locations often had to be propositioned and paid for up to a year in advance.
Winter flying had its own special hazard including having to light a fire under an engine to unfreeze it an operation that normally had to be done
in the darkness so that the engine was thawed out when it was light enough to fly. On landing the engine would be drained as quickly as possible before it froze solid.
The cargo carried could be anything and everything including canoes camping equipment food supplies generators drilling rigs etc etc
The operation of the few bush airmail contracts that were kept on in the depression years could have been of material assistance to operators. However
the Post Office kept cutting the contract rates so that almost all routes were operated at a loss by the airline companies.
The point was repeatedly made to no avail that other countries encouraged their airline industry and especially through air mail contracts.
An industry insider, Thompson wrote in 1938:
"As you doubtless know commercial aviation in this country is having an extremely difficult time never more so than in the past year due to falling
revenues caused by the general conditions of business which might almost be termed a depression. Just what is going to happen I do not know but if the government does not come tour our assistance in the very near future I am afraid there will not be very much
northern air transportation left except of a fly by night nature"
"To any close student of aviation in Canada and those who have money invested in operating companies the whole outlook is depressing and unless some
practical step it taken to improve the situation what should be one of Canada foremost industries is actually heading for the rocks.
An article in the Winnipeg Free Press in the late 1930's read:
"The bush transport operators remain financially at the mercy of the Post Office Department. They are not blameless for their position. They have
acted in the past like fighting cats and their inability to reconcile differences among themselves prevented them from presenting a united front to a Post Office Department ready to grind them down on contract rates This does not however permit the public
to be ungrateful for the national service provided by bush air transport. That service has been given without drawing a cent of money from the national treasury. All that bush flying has asked is that the Post Office pay at a fair rate."
It seems that those wishing to carry mail had to have a Post Office contract and could not carry post on their own account. Mackenzie Air Service
who shipped out newspapers direct to subscribers and Canadian airways who flew newspapers for a pilot who was canvassing for an election to Parliament both had to reimburse the post office for lost revenue.
We do not know whether the "Yonge Letter Service" was a true bush flying operation or not but cleanly the attitude of the Post Office would have affected
every air mail carrier.
According to his nephew Colin Eyre Yonge, in an account in the 1990's Jack told him on a visit of Colin’s to England in the late 1950's that he, Jack was
involved in the training of the Dambuster pilots of 617 Squadron..
His World War 11 service record shows that he returned to Britain in 1940 and re-enlisted in the RAF and was granted a commission, with the rank of probationary
Pilot Officer on 12 July 1940, within the Administrative and Special Duties (A+SD) Branch, "for the duration of hostilities". On this date he is recorded as being posted to Loughborough.
Loughborough was not strictly an RAF airfield, but was a small airfield to the, north-west of the town with a grass runway of just under 2000 feet, used by Brush Electrical Engineering Company
to test fly the de Havilland Domine (the military version of the Rapide) bi-plane navigation/radio trainer which they built as part of the dispersal scheme. Jack Yonge would not have been involved with flying, (being A+SD).
In fact, the reference to "Stn" Loughborough while it may refer to the airfield; it could even refer to a non-airfield establishment in the town. There
he attended No.19 Course; although the actual course discipline cannot be deciphered from his service record.
On 3 August 1940 he was posted to an " Air Ministry Unit" (Location not specified) for a Link Trainer Instructor's Course. The link trainer provided a
cheaper alternative for training pilots in instrument flying than flying actual aircraft. It basically consisted of a circular cubicle in the centre of which was a Link trainer. It was made of curved sections covered with fibreboard on which was painted a
landscape with various features as seen from an altitude of about 2,000 ft. The function of the painted landscape was to present, realistically, the various climatic and geographical features which a pilot would encounter. Powerful bellows enabled the device
to simulate basic flying movements similar to pitching, banking, and turning of a real aircraft. The cockpit closely resembled a typical single-engined aircraft with the usual six basic instruments plus compass, radio, rudder pedals, and control column. The
instruments and the relevant control surfaces indicated any changes in flight attitude. Placing a detachable hood over the cockpit could simulate night flying; stormy conditions could be created by means of a 'rough air device'. Connections led from the trainer
to an instructor's desk where a small three-wheeled trolley called a 'tracking crab' (automatic recorder) reacted to time and rate of movement of the fuselage.. The instructor had a duplicate set of instruments, which enabled him to asses the pilots flying
Having achieved the required standard on 30 August 1940 he was then posted to No.12 Service Flying Training School at Grantham (Spittlegate), a unit within
No 21 Group. This was equipped with a mix of Hawker Harts, Fairey Battles and Avro Ansons. Here he had another ground instructional role, as a Link Trainer Instructor (LTI). He remained At Grantham until 19 October 1942, though by 1 Apri1 1942, the unit had
been re-designated No.12 (pilots) Advanced Flying Unit.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on 17 March 1941, Acting Flight Lieutenant on 17 June 1941 and Temporary F/Lt on 1 October 1942).
He attended a Medical Board on the 16th
April 1942 to assess his fitness to fly. The report says yes but not operational flying.
He was then posted to Bournemouth in October of that year, again as a Link Trainer Instructor. There was an airfield 4 miles N.E. of Bournemouth, although
its official designation was Hurn, home in October 1942 to Nos. 296 and 297 Sqns which soon left for North Africa to take part in Operation Torch (the Allied landings in N. Africa). At this time Hurn was used as a staging post for aircraft being sent to this
theatre. The Squadrons were to return in 1943, equipped with the Albermarle prior to another detachment for glider towing duties in the invasion of Sicily. During the time he was at Bournemoth/Hurn Airfield was also used by the USAAF, fighter squadrons and
Army Cooperation planes. Also at the same time, it is believed that the town of Bournemouth itself was a processing centre for Commonwealth aircrew (Australians and possibly New Zealanders -maybe even Canadians? and it is quite possible that there was a Link
Trainer set up there. The use of the ambiguous. abbreviation "Stn" and the lack of any formal unit title might suggest that he was not actually at Hurn airfield.
As for any connection with the tests carried out by Barnes Wallis at Chesil Beach, whilst he was at Bournemouth, this seems highly unlikely as the tests
were conducted from RAF Warmwell, not Bournemouth.
Despite suggestions to the contrary in some cases, there is no real evidence that Service Records were "fudged" to conceal secret work, but as is often
the case, it can be shown that records of those who are known (and can be proven) to have been involved in such work were not corrupted or deliberately altered. Usually the entry refers to some obscure unit or station, without defining the role. With hindsight
and records it can be seen how these were linked to the task in hand, although without knowing of the "secret project" one would not be suspicious. At the time
Of course, this could be the case in this instance. However, the role of a Link Trainer instructor in Bournemouth does not seem to tie in with the training
of crews for dams raid. In any case, Scampton had its own Link Trainer Section which would have been used had occasion demanded it. Two Dambuster pilots in their accounts of the Squadron refer to going on the Link trainer but this appears to have been at Scampton.
to practice low level flying
The fact that the Dambuster crews were all highly skilled pilots and Jack was ground staff and as far as we know had no experience of modern operational
planes would make it very unlikely that he would have been required or able to give those pilots flying training. It is just possible that he could have made a visit to the Link unit at Scampton, even one visit could have technically justified the claim that
he helped train the dambusters.
So there is no evidence that he was involved with the Dambusters and plenty of evidence to suggest he was not. In particular there is no indication
that they were involved in any dual control training. He might just have been involved in the installation of the spotlight altimeter calibrator or with the “two stage amber “ stimulated night flying system, but it seems most unlikely.
There is an outside chance that during his Link Instruction period he may have had a pupil, possibly Canadian, who went on to serve with the “Dambusters”
Squadron at some stage, or he may possibly when at Bournemouth have has some transitory and peripheral involvement with the bouncing bomb or the squadron but there is no evidence to support this and plenty of evidence to suggest there was no link.
We are however left with the fact that he told his nephew, in the 1960’s that he flew mail planes in the Canadian North and helped train the Dambuster
pilots. The reference to Canada was certainly correct so possibly there was some kind of link but what.
The reference may have to do with the fact that in the last months of the war Johnnie Fauquier commanded 627 Squadron. He was a Canadian who in the 1930’s
flew in remote parts of Canada. Jack may have known him and perhaps trained him in Canada.
The "Special note" on his service record states; "In view of the representations made by the Ministry of Aircraft Production for his release from Air Force
Services, it was decided to approve his resignation of commission in the RAFVR with effect from 5 February 1944, and he was permitted to retain rank of F/Lt under an order from the Air Ministry.”
Under Kings Regulation Para 3647. An officer who resigns his commission will not retain any air force rank except by permission of the Air Council under
directions which H.M. the King may be pleased to give. It will be competent for the Air Council to give or withhold this privilege.
It would seem likely that, at the age of nearly 51 in February 1944 he would have been considered as
reaching the limit of eligible age for military war service. However, the request from the Ministry of Aircraft Production would seem to indicate that he had skills which were valued by that organisation and which they wanted to utilise. The record relating
to him gaining his certificate on the Miles Monarch states that he was “Pilot, service dept. Miles Aircraft. His home address was given as Reading.
The R.A.F Museum at Hendon has a photo of him at his time and the notes
with the photo state that on the 8th of March 1944 he took a certificate
on a Miles Monarch at the Miles aerodrome at Woodley near Reading. The Monarch was a civilian three single engine communications plane. The five in Britain when war broke out were taken over by the RAF.
Woodley was the main site of the Miles Company but it also had a RAF repair and training facility.
After the war he lived, at least in his latter years, at Pen-Y-Rhos, Llangurig. Llangurgig is on the banks of the River Wyre among the hills of Plnlymon,
Powys, North Wales. Here he farmed in a small way and looked after the electricity supply for the small isolated community. It is not known if this is the same as hydro electric plant just down the road from the village.
In 1958 Grahame Yonge visited Jack with his parents. Grahame's
grandfather was Jack's brother George Ernest (T65) Below is Grahame,s recollection of that visit
" From memory in 1958, myself with
my parents visited Uncle Jack on his farm in Wales.