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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J F Pain


John Francis Pain was born in St. Andrews, Scotland on 25th June 1921 where his Australian parents were medical students. He returned with them to Australia as a child where his mother remarried, her husband was Sir Alan Mansfield, Governor of Queensland.

Pain attended Slade School in Warwick, Queensland 1929-33 before going on to the Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane 1933-38.

Accepted as a candidate for an RAF short service commission, Pain sailed for England on 30th August 1939 in the SS Orama. He arrived at 9 EFTS Ansty on 30th October for his initial flying training.

With the course completed, Pain joined 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill from 7 OTU on 29th July 1940.


Above: 32 Squadron

P/O JP Pfeiffer, F/Lt. JBW Humpherson, F/Lt. PM Gardner, S/Ldr. MN Crossley, F/O DH Grice, P/O JF Pain.

F/O AF Eckford, P/O K Pniak, P/O BA Wlasnowolski.


He claimed a Me109 probably destroyed and a Ju88 damaged on 15th August, destroyed a Ju88 and probably another on the 16th and on the 18th he destroyed a Do17 and probably another.

On this day, in an engagement over Biggin Hill, Pain was shot down in flames by Me109's in Hurricane P3147. He baled out, wounded, landed near Horsmonden and was admitted to hospital. He did not return to his squadron until 31st October.

Pain was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald on 26th November but on 18th December he left and soon after embarked on the aircraft carrier HMS Furious. He flew off to Takoradi and then flew a Hurricane along the ferry route to Egypt in stages, arriving at Abu Sueir on 16th January 1941. Pain flew a Hurricane to Malta on 29th January and joined 261 Squadron at Ta Kali.

On 1st February he claimed a Ju88 destroyed, on the 4th probably another, on the 12th a probable Me109 and a Ju88 damaged, on the 25th a Me110 damaged, on the 26th a Do215 probably destroyed and a Me109 damaged, on 5th March a Me110 probably destroyed and a Do215 shared, on 18th March a CR42 destroyed and probably another, on 20th April another CR42 destroyed and probably a second and at night on 15th May a He111 destroyed.

In early May 1941 Pain returned to the Middle East and was posted to ADU Takoradi. He was serving with 73 Squadron in the Western Desert in 1942. On 3rd July he destroyed a Me109, probably a Ju87 and damaged another, and on the 10th he damaged a CR42.

After a short spell with 123 Squadron in Persia, Pain returned to England, commanded 26 AACU in 1943 and later in the year was at 20 MU.

In late March 1944 Pain resigned his commission and returned to Australia. He changed his name to Brooker-Pain in 1972.

He died on 12th September 1980.


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