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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. J G Theilmann


John Graham Theilmann was born on 2nd April 1912 at Sculcoates, Yorkshire. He carried out training under the RAF expansion scheme at 1 RFTS Hatfield in 1935 and joined the RAF on a short service commission on 27th January 1936. Further training followed at 3 E&RFTS Hamble and 9 FTS Thornaby before he joined 41 Squadron on 11th October 1936.

When 234 Squadron was reformed at Leconfield on 30th October 1939 Theilmann joined it as 'A' Flight Commander.


Above image courtesy of and © David A Theilmann.


He relinquished this post when he was posted to RAF St. Eval on 7th August 1940 as non-effective sick, suffering from asthma.

When he recovered he took up instructing duties at 10 SFTS Tern Hill, 2 CFS Cranwell, 13 EFTS Peterborough and 21 EFTS Booker before going in 1941 to 4 Air School (SAAF) Benoni, South Africa and then 6 Air School (SAAF) at Potchefstroom in 1942.

His last posting was 45 Air School (SAAF) at Oudtshoorn before he returned to the UK in May 1944.

He went to 529 Squadron which was developing the early helicopters at Halton. After his release from the RAF in March 1946 he carried on this work at Air Contractors Ltd. He was appointed Chief pilot at the BEA experimental helicopter unit, operating the Bell 47 and Sikorsky S-51 until June 1953, when he emigrated to Canada.

He remained in the helicopter field with Spartan Air Services, a Canadian surveying company, until retirement in 1961.

Theilmann died in Canada on 2nd February 1985.


Additional research courtesy of 'Blood, Sweat and Courage; 41 Squadron RAF 1939-42'
(Steve Brew 2001, Fonthill Media).

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