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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J V Gurteen


John Vinter Gurteen was born on 10th February 1916 in Haverhill, Suffolk, the son of Conrad Sharp Gurteen and Frances Annie Gurteen.

The family was long established in Suffolk and Essex. His father is shown in the 1939 register as a clothing manufacturer. JV Gurteen attended Summer Fields School, Oxford and Marlborough College, 1929-33.

He played a number of sports at Marlborough and was a member of the OTC. He was sponsored by the English Speaking Union on a scholarship to Choate School, Connecticut (now Choate Rosemary Hall).

Gurteen then lived in Nottingham and worked for the Shipstone brewery company. He was related to the owning family on his mother’s side.

He joined the RAFVR about March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September, he completed his training at 5 FTS, Sealand and after converting to Hurricanes went to 504 Squadron at Castletown in late June 1940.




He was shot down and killed in combat over the southern outskirts of London on 15th September 1940. His Hurricane, N2481, dived at full throttle on to Whiffens Cottage at Hartley, near Longfield, Kent. The cottage was destroyed but the resident was in a nearby shelter and survived. He rebuilt the cottage after the war.

Gurteen was 24. He was cremated at Hendon Crematorium and his ashes were scattered over his house by Flight Lieutenant WB Royce of 504 Squadron.


One of Gurteen's sisters, Isabel Anne (1918-2001), was a painter who married Godfrey Rampling, a career soldier in the Royal Artillery. Lieutenant Colonel Rampling became the oldest living Great Britain Olympic gold medallist, having competed in the 1932 and 1936 summer games.

In 1936 he was part of the winning Great Britain 4 x 400 metres relay team. He died in 2009 aged 100. Their daughter is the actor, Charlotte Rampling.




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