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The Airmen's Stories - F/O J S Hart

 

John Stewart Hart of Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada was born on 11th September 1916. He studied at Mount Allison University while learning to fly at Halifax Flying Club.

He travelled to the UK on a freighter and joined the RAF on a short service commission in January 1939.

He began his initial flying training on 28th December 1938 at 9 E&RFTS Ansty. On 4th March 1939 Hart went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge for a short induction course. He moved to 10 FTS Ternhill for No. 11 Course, which ran from 20th March to 14th October 1939.

 

Above: 602 Squadron

Rear row L to R: F/O CB Willey MC (MO), P/O SN Rose, Sgt. A McDowall, F/O JS Hart, Brazebrook (IO ?), Sgt. J Proctor, S/Ldr. AD Farquhar, Sgt. RFP Phillips, P/O A Lyall, Sgt. GA Whipps, P/O DH Gage, F/O PPC Barthropp, Taylor (? non-BoB), P/O HG Niven.

Front row L to R: F/Lt. CJ Mount, F/Lt. RF Boyd, S/Ldr. AVR Johnstone, S/Ldr. JD Urie, F/Lt. D Jack

 

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With the course completed, Hart was posted to No. 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum for further training. After this he was put into a Lysander Pilots Pool at Old Sarum.

He was injured in a road accident which kept him off flying until he was attached to 614 Squadron at Odiham on 29th April 1940. The attachment ceased on 6th May and Hart was taken on to the strength of 614 Squadron.

On 12th July 1940 he was was posted to 613 Squadron at Netherthorpe. Hart must have volunteered for Fighter Command because he arrived at 7 OTU Hawarden on 22nd August. After converting to Spitfires he joined 54 Squadron at Catterick on 3rd September and moved to 602 Squadron at Westhampnett on the 20th.

On 10th October Hart shared in the probable destruction of a Ju88, on the 29th he destroyed a Me109 and on 13th November he shared a Ju88.

Hart moved to 91 Squadron at Hawkinge on 6th March 1941. He damaged a Ju88 on 28th April and some time later he rejoined 602. His operational tour ended in October 1941 and Hart went to 57 OTU Hawarden as an instructor.

In August 1942 Hart was posted to India. He went via South Africa, where he was delayed, not arriving at Bombay until 25th January 1943. He joined 79 Squadron at Ramu on 7th February.

He served with it until 9th May 1943 when he was given command of 67 Squadron at Alipore. In July 1943 Hart was posted away to Air HQ Bengal as a Staff Officer, staying there until June 1944, when he began his third tour of operations with 113 Squadron at Palel.

Hart was again posted away in September 1944 to 73 OTU at Abu Sueir in Egypt, where he commanded the Gunnery School. In April 1945 he took command of 112 Squadron at Cervia in Italy.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd June 1945), returned to the UK in August 1945 and was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

Hart returned to Canada and took up real estate work in Vancouver. He retired in 1976.

Hart died in Naramata, British Columbia on 18th June 2019 aged 102.

 

 

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