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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. B J Jennings


Bernard James Jennings was born in Luton on 21st March 1915 and joined the RAF as an Aircrafthand on 1st May 1933.

After training he was posted to the Parachute Flight, Hendon and was standby member of the Parachute Pull-Off team for the Air Display in 1934, which involved standing on the wingtip of a Vickers Virginia.

In 1934 Jennings went to Farnborough for a photographic course and in 1935 was posted to 33 Squadron at Upper Heyford as a photographer/air gunner.



The squadron went to the Middle East in October 1935. Having applied for pilot training, Jennings returned to the UK in late 1937 and remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot on 6th December 1937.

He did his initial training at 11 E&RFTS Perth. In March 1938 he was posted to 10 FTS Tern Hill and in November went as a staff pilot to the Signals Squadron at RAF Cranwell.

On 4th September 1939 Jennings joined 19 Squadron at Duxford. Over Dunkirk on 27th May 1940 he shared in a probable Do17 and on 1st June destroyed two Me110s and damaged a Do215 on a later patrol.

He claimed a Me110 destroyed and a He111 probably destroyed on 11th September and a Me109 destroyed on the 29th.

He was awarded the DFM (gazetted 4th April 1941).


Above: F/O FN Brinsden, Jennings.


Jennings went to CFS Upavon on 12th April 1941 for an instructors course, after which he was posted to 5 FTS Sealand in May but returned to Upavon in September, as an instructor. Commissioned in December 1941, he was at CFS until March 1943, when he went to 3(P)AFU at South Cerney.

To prepare for a return to operations, Jennings went to 41 OTU Hawarden in May 1944 and in August joined 168 Squadron, a tactical recconaissance unit with Mustangs and later Typhoons.

After the squadron disbanded on 26th February 1945, Jennings was appointed CO of 85 GSU Ferry Flight.

He retired from the RAF on 21st March 1962 as a Wing Commander. From 1963 until 1980 he was with the Ministry of Defence.

Jennings died in 2000.

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