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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J P B Greenwood


John Peter Bowtell Greenwood was born on 3rd April 1921 in Stratford, East London and educated at Tiffins School, Kingston-on-Thames.

He left school at 14 years of age. He went on to work on the Stock Exchange but this ended when he was offered a short service commission in the RAF in February 1939.

He began his flying training at 11 E&RFTS Perth. In April he moved to 2 FTS Brize Norton and after completing his training joined 253 Squadron at Manston when it was being reformed there on 30th October 1939.



In February 1940 the squadron began to receive Hurricanes. On 16th May 'A' Flight was sent to France, based at Lille. Greenwood destroyed a Me109 on the 19th. The squadron returned to England on the 21st to build up again after heavy losses.

On 30th August Greenwood destroyed a He111 which had been attacking Farnborough. He was posted to 5 FTS Sealand in December 1940 as an instructor. In February 1941 he went to Turnhouse, where 59 OTU was being formed. The OTU moved in March to Crosby-on-Eden.

Greenwood volunteered for the MSFU and joined the unit at Speke on 20th May 1941 and boarded the Empire Flame on 18th June. He completed one Atlantic and one Russian convoy but was not required to launch his Hurricane on either. On his return in the following November he was posted to 55 OTU Usworth. He went to 615 Squadron at Fairwood Common in February 1942.

The squadron left for India in March and after arriving in June and acclimatising to jungle conditions flew its first operation on 5th December 1942. In January 1943 Greenwood was posted to 17 Squadron at Alipore as a Flight Commander. He went to 151 OTU Risalpur in April and after suffering malaria and dengue fever in October, he was posted to 223 Group at Peshawar.

Greenwood joined 9 (Indian Air Force) Squadron in February 1944 and in July went to a job in the War Room at 221 Group. He volunteered for Visual Control Post duties, concerning the front line direction of strike aircraft on to specific targets in support of the Army. He did a parachute-jumping course and was attached to an Airborne artillery brigade which took part in operations in Indonesia after the war against the Japanese ended.



He returned to the UK in March 1946. He joined 130 Squadron where he flew Spitfire IXs and later Vampire jets. In November he was posted to Fassberg in Germany where he flew Tempest IIs until demobilized in July 1947 as a Flight Lieutenant.

After studying for a degree from the London School of Printing he emigrated to Australia in May 1950. After stints of printing in Brisbane, wine making in McLaren Vale SA and crop spraying in Bolgart WA he joined Guinea Airways (later South Australian Airways). Greenwood led a campaign to prevent the overloading of the aircraft operated by the company. The danger was realised and legislation was introduced but he was dismissed by the airline as an agitator.

He set up his own business, firstly running a newsagency in Perth then later a general store.

Greenwood John retired in 1981 and took up golf and bowls, staying active until he died on 31st December 2014.


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