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The Airmen's Stories - F/O J B H Nicholas


John Beville Howard Nicholas was born on 13th May 1919 in Paddington, London. His father was an officer in the Royal Navy and then an airline pilot; his paternal grandfather had been an RAMC officer.

JBH Nocholas joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his flying training at 12 E&RFTS Prestwick on 5th April 1937.


Above: 65 Squadron.

(L to R) - P/O NE Hancock, F/O JBH Nicholas, P/O B Drobinski, P/O ED Glaser, Sgt. GW Tabor, Sgt. CR Hewlett


Nicholas went to 6 FTS Netheravon on 30th May and after completing his training joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch on 31st December 1937.

He married Betty Hillstead in October 1939.

Over Dunkirk on 26th May 1940 Nicholas destroyed a Me109 and damaged a Me109 and a Me110. During the Battle of Britain he damaged a Do17 on 24th July and shared in probably destroyng a Me109 on 14th August.

Nicholas was posted away to 2 CFS Cranwell on 9th December 1940 for an instructors course, after which he went to 9 EFTS Ansty as a Flight Commander.

On 14th April 1943 he was posted to Cranwell for a refresher course, went to 61 OTU Rednal on 15th June and moved to 2 TEU Grangemouth on 8th October.

Nicholas was posted to Australia in 1944. After a month at 2 OTU Mildura, he took command of 54 Squadron at Darwin in June.

He led the squadron until its disbandment on 31st October 1945. Nicholas returned to the UK in November and on 5th February 1946 he went to a staff job at HQ 11 Group.

He stayed in the RAF on an Extended Service Commission and resigned in July 1949 as a Flight Lieutenant.

Nicholas died in April 1993 in London.



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