The Airmen's Stories - P/O J W Bland
John Wellburn Bland was born on 9th May 1910 in Calne, Wiltshire, a son of the Vicar of St. Matthews, Cotham Park, Bristol. He was educated at Monkton Coombe School, near Bath and went on to Bristol University. It is believed that he later qualified as an accountant.
He joined 501 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force before the war and was commissioned in June 1939. Called to full-time service on 24th August, Bland completed his training at 5 FTS Sealand and joined 601 Squadron at Tangmere.
He flew his first operational sortie on the 22nd and claimed a Me109 destroyed on 7th June, shot down East of Le Tréport.
On 11th July 1940 he shared a Do17. Next day he was posted to 501 Squadron at Middle Wallop.
On the 29th he claimed a Ju87 shot down over Dover. His own port mainplane was hit by return fire but Bland got back to base.
On 18th August he was shot down and killed by a Me109. His Hurricane, P3208, crashed at Calcott Hill, Sturry, Kent.
Bland was 26. He is buried in Gravesend Cemetery.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner