The Airmen's Stories - F/O J L Kemp
John Leslie Kemp was born on 22nd January 1920 and
began his RAFO initial training at 11 E&RFTS Perth in January 1938. He was commissioned in Class ‘A’ of the RAFO at Uxbridge in March and posted to 10 FTS Ternhill.
On completion of his training Kemp joined 64 Squadron at Church Fenton in late 1938. With his one year of service completed, Kemp returned to civilian life in January 1939.
Called up on 2nd September 1939, Kemp completed further training and then joined 609 Squadron at Drem on 1st December. He was detached to 12 Group Pool Aston Down on 26th December for further training. He arrived there on 1st January 1940. After converting to Spitfires Kemp rejoined 609 on 26th January.
Kemp joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch on 27th May 1940. On 4th July his aircraft was damaged in combat with Me109's near Manston.
During a convoy patrol on the 21st, in Spitfire N3184, his engine failed 15 miles east of Clacton. He baled out and was rescued by a destroyer.
After an action with Me109's off Dover on 12th August he made a forced-landing at Lympne, wounded. He was declared non-effective sick and did not rejoin the squadron until 25th August.
Kemp was posted away from 54 to SHQ Catterick on 5th December 1940 for Ops Room duties. He did not fly again. He went on to Fighter Control duties and landed in Normandy soon after D-Day with a small mobile radar control unit. By VE Day he had reached the Baltic.
Kemp was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in April 1991 in Cirencester.