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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database

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RAF Crest
3 TEU Typhoon Ib MN127 W/O. Leonard H. Johnson

Operation: Training

Date: 05th July 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 3 TEU (Tactical Exercise Unit). 9 Group

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MN127

Code: -

Base: RAF Honiley, Warwickshire

Location: West of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire

Pilot: W/O. Leonard Horace Johnson NZ/42408 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

After just 20 minutes into the flight he was seen in company with another aircraft 'beating up' an American hospital near Kenilworth. After one dive the Typhoon rolled on to its back on the top of the climb. It remained inverted for a couple of seconds, righted itself then immediately spun out of control and crashed west of Stoneleigh.

The enquiry stated that the aircraft was fit for the flight and the pilot was capable in carrying out the orders.

The primary cause of the accident was the 'unauthorised 'beating up' the hospital. It is thought the aircraft stalled whilst on its back or during the attempt to right it. It would be expected that the engine would cut out after a short period inverted, one witness stated the he saw smoke at that point.

It was decided that the pilot was to blame for the accident, but noted that the pilot was inexperienced on the Typhoon and was not under a proper degree of supervision. F/O. Schwartz, who authorised the flight had only been with the unit a few weeks. His authorisation of low flying and aerobatics to be done on the same flight was foolish, although no orders prohibiting such a practice.

Burial and personal details:

W/O. Leonard Horace Johnson. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot 1/2. Grave 242. Born on the 04th July 1922 at Palmerston North. Worked as an exchange clerk for the Post and Telecommunications Department prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF at Levin on the 11th January 1942. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 17th October 1942. Son of Horace William and Florence Eveline Johnson (née Cottrell), of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand. 713 hours logged with the majority on the Hurricane.

Researched for relatives of the pilot with thanks to Mike Howes for bringing this loss to our attention. Mike is hoping to make contact with relatives when he visits New Zealand in 2016. Also with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY Updated 18-03-2021

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 18 March 2021, 18:40

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