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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J F Wise


John Francis Wise was born on 6th December 1920 in Poplar. His father, Joseph Wise, was born Wies in Oberheim, Germany (now Obrigheim, south of Frankfurt) in 1876.

He came to England and became a British citizen in 1911, later changing his surname to Wise.

Although his certificate (below) appears to have been drafted by Winston Churchill, it must have been done by an official in his name.



He married Hetwigg Louise Karpp, born in England, in Poplar in the third quarter of 1909.

John Francis Wise joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Aircrew.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and was serving as an Air Gunner with 264 Squadron at Duxford in May 1940.


Above: Wise before qualifying as an Air Gunner (the photo was labelled 'Jackie').


On 29th May, flying in a Defiant piloted by Sgt. AJ Lauder, Wise destroyed a Ju87 and shared in the destruction of a Ju88. At that time his rank was LAC. His last sortie with 264 Squadron was made on 7th June 1940.

He joined 141 Squadron at Turnhouse in early July. The squadron flew south to West Malling on the 12th.

Shortly after 09.00 hrs on the 19th, twelve Defiants moved to the forward airfield at Hawkinge. At 12.23 hrs they were ordered off to carry out an offensive patrol twenty miles south of Folkestone. Three were left behind with engine trouble.


Above: Wise, centre, with his AG badge but before promotion to Sergeant. Other personnel unknown.

Above images courtesy of the Wise family.


During the patrol the nine Defiants were surprised by a force of Me109’s of III/JG51. Wise's aircraft, L6983, was hit in the engine. The pilot, F/O IN MacDougall, ordered Wise to bale out. He then managed to get the aircraft back to West Malling.

Wise was never heard of again. He was 19 years old and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 21.




Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner



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