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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J W White


John William White was born on 20th January 1914 in Nottingham and joined the RAF at Halton in September 1929 as an Aircraft Apprentice. After passing out in August 1932, as a Fitter Airframes/ Engines, he was posted to 35 Squadron, equipped with Fairey Gordons at Bircham Newton.



The squadron later went to the Sudan and White retrained as an air gunner.

He applied for pilot training, was selected and remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot in December 1935. He began his training at 6 FTS Netheravon, qualified as a Sergeant-Pilot in December 1936 and was posted to 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill in January 1937.




White and Sgt. JE Proctor went to the BBC on 29th December 1939 to take part in a broadcast 'Christmas Day at a Fighter Squadron'.

White took part in operations over the Low Countries, France and Dunkirk and he destroyed a Do17 on 19th May over Cambrai and possibly a Me109.

Commissioned on 15th June, White was posted to 3 Squadron at Wick on 26th June. He joined the Fighter Interception Unit at Tangmere on 10th September.

On 7th October White was in a Blenheim making a photographic record of AI responses for use in instructing AI Operators. The aircraft was flown by P/O DL Ryalls, with Sgt. EF Le Conte as gunner. They were attacked by three Me110's, which Ryalls managed to evade after Le Conte had fired at one attacker and possibly damaged it.

White was attacked and damaged by a German raider at night on 15th October. On landing, he overshot the runway and the undercarriage of his Blenheim collapsed.

In January 1941 White went to hospital and was subsequently declared unfit for further flying because of lung damage. From April to August 1941 he was a student at the Officers Engineering College and transferred to the Engineer Branch.

White was Engineer Officer with 264 Squadron from September to December 1941, Flight Commander of the Repair Section at 58 MU until April 1943, and OC of 235 (Mobile) MU at Netheravon until February 1944.

In March he was promoted to Wing Commander and took command of No. 1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit at Netheravon. He was later appointed to command RAF Netheravon, doing so until October 1945.

Made an MBE (gazetted 1st January 1945), White held a series of appointments at home and overseas, including at the Air Ministry, before retiring from the RAF on 12th November 1966 as a Group Captain.

He joined Rolls Royce in 1968 in an executive capacity and remained there until 1980.

White died in August 1996 in Hendon.



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