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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. J Ellis


John Ellis was born in Deal on 28th February 1917 and educated at Sutton Valence School.

He joined the RAF in March 1936. He was posted to 11 FTS Wittering on 2nd June and after a short spell with 66 Squadron he was posted to 213 Squadron when it was reformed at Northolt on 8th March 1937.

At the outbreak of war Ellis went to 610 Squadron at Wittering as a Flight Commander. Over Dunkirk he destroyed a Me109 on 29th May and a Me110 on the 31st. He shared a He111 on 12th June.


Above: Ellis with the wreckage of one of his victims.


Ellis shared a Do17 on 3rd July, destroyed two Me109s on the 24th, three more on the 25th, damaged a Me109 and probably another on 12th August, damaged a Ju88 on the 16th, destroyed a Me109 and a He111 on the 18th, shot down a Me109 on the 26th and a He111 on the 27th.

Ellis had been promoted to Acting Squadron Leader on 26th July and given command of 610 Squadron.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 13th August 1940), receiving it from the King on 3rd September.

He destroyed a He111 at night on 10th March 1941.

In early May Ellis was posted away to 55 OTU as an instructor and was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 2nd May 1941). He went to the Middle East at the end of 1941, served as Wing Commander Flying at 71 OTU Khartoum and also served with the Desert Air Force.

In April 1943 Ellis was appointed to lead the Krendi Wing in Malta. He was reported 'Missing' on 13th June 1943. He was shot down by Me 109s when escorting B-24s who were going to attack Catania and Gerbini airfields. He bailed out over the sea in Spitfire JK533 and was picked up by a German search and rescue ship. He was sent to Stalag Luft III and became active in the Escape Committee as deputy to Roger Bushell.

Repatriated in 1945, he took part in the first Battle of Britain flypast in September. He stayed in the RAF postwar, was made an OBE (gazetted 31st May 1956) and a CBE (gazetted 11th June 1960) and retired from the RAF on 28th February 1967 as a Group Captain.

Ellis died on 19th November 2001.


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