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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J Lonsdale


John Lonsdale, of Stockton-on-Tees, was born on 18th September 1914, the son of Robert Leonard Lonsdale and Esther Lonsdale (nee Watt).

He joined 608 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force before the war as an Aircrafthand. About May 1939 he remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot and began flying training.


Above: Lonsdale is the subject of a prank at 608 Squadron's Annual Camp at Warmwell 1939.



Above: also prewar with 608 Squadron AAF - P/O J Lonsdale seated front left, Sgt. WA Peacock standing top left, Sgt. L Davies seated bottom right, others currently unknown.




Called up on 24th August 1939, Lonsdale completed his training, was commissioned in late June 1940 and arrived at 7 OTU Hawarden on 1st July. After converting to Hurricanes he joined 3 Squadron at Wick on 15th July.

He had married Doris Ledgerwood Bousfield in Durham in July.

Lonsdale flew his first operational sortie on the 24th, a scramble. His second sortie came the next day, when he and F/O DAE Jones were scrambled and shared in the destruction of a He111 off Kinnaird Head.

On 1st October Lonsdale made a forced-landing near Chryston, Lanarkshire, in Hurricane P3261, because of a fuel shortage. The aircraft was a write-off but Lonsdale was unhurt.

He assumed command of ‘A’ Flight of 3 Squadron on 21st October.

Lonsdale was killed on 26th November 1942 as a Flight Lieutenant, still serving with 3 Squadron, aged 28. Flying from Hunsdon, his Hurricane IIb AM280 collided with Sgt. A Rankin in Z5449 over Norfolk. Rankin was able to bale out, unhurt.

Lonsdale is buried in Durham Road Cemetery, Stockton-on-Tees.


Above image courtesy of Dimitrios Corcodilos.



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