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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. J B Holderness


John Browning Holderness was born in Rhodesia, the son of an English lawyer who emigrated from Yorkshire in 1902. Three years later Mr. Holderness became a partner in a law practice started by Sir Thomas Scanlen in Sailsbury, Rhodesia in 1896. Although holding a law qualification, Holderness was commissioned in the Air Section of the Permanent Staff Corps of Southern Rhodesia. He transferred in May 1938 and went on attachment to the RAF.

He joined 248 Squadron at Hendon when it was reformed there on 30th October 1939. In August 1940 Holderness was posted to 1 Squadron at Tangmere. He shared in the destruction of a Me110 on 7th September. He moved to 229 Squadron at Northolt on 17th October and was posted away in

December 1940.


229 Squadron

P/O V Ortmans, Sgt. J Arbuthnot, R Berry (not BoB) F/Lt. JB Holderness, F/Lt. JFF Finniss

Sgt. FJ Twitchett, Sgt. GF Silvester, Sgt. CG Hodson


After rejoining the Southern Rhodesian Forces on 26th August 1945, Holderness went back to Rhodesia and farmed until 1971. He then sold his farm and returned to the family law business. Holderness had two younger brothers in the RAF. One was on anti-submarine duties and was awarded the DSO, DFC and AFC, the other flew Mosquitos in 100 Group, engaged in long-range escorting of night bombers. Both brothers survived the war, one joined the family firm and the other remained in England and joined British European Airways.

Holderness was killed in a road traffic accident near his home in South Africa on 15th April 2008 aged 96.

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