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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.
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Fighter Command Crest
30.04.1941 Central Flying School Master T8678 P/O. J.F. Raw

Operation: Training

Date: 30th April 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: Central Flying School

Type: Miles Master I

Serial: T8678

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Upavon

Location: Fittleton Down, Nr. Netheravon, Wiltshire

Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Edward Robins 70582 RAF(O) Age 30. Killed

Pilot: P/O. John Frederick Raw 61294 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Detailed information submitted to Aircrew Remembered for publication in November 2017 by Simon Muggleton and Norman Franks.


For a mother to lose a son in wartime must be devastating, to lose three sons (two in one year) must be heartbreaking, and almost beyond imagination. This is exactly what happened to one mother, Irene Raw, during World War Two when three of her four sons, all RAF pilots were killed. The second eldest son, Peter would become a fighter pilot flying the Typhoon, and would die in this aircraft on a low level sweep over Holland on the 21st March 1944. Another brother.

John passed all his training with flying colours and became an instructor whilst waiting for a posting to a fighter squadron. Killed in Miles Magister in April 1941 whilst at the Central Flying School at RAF Upavon.

Right: John Raw in Master N7609

Taking off at 23:25 hrs on a night flying exercise. No sooner had they started to gain height the Master was then seen by its navigation lights to drop a wing and dive into the ground - the aircraft crashed at a place called New Zealand Farm on Fittleton Down, killing both the pilots instantly.

Further detailed information on Fl/Lt. Peter Edward Raw DFC. and another brother Sq/Ldr. Anthony William Raw DFC. AFC. and the Raw family, with numerous photographs can be found in the book 'Raw Courage'. ISBN: 978-1908117137. Published by Grub Street 19th August 2011. 224 pages - hardback-English.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. John Edward Robins. Tewkesbury Abbey Church (St. Mary) South Aisle of Church. The son of Edward Robins and of Bertha Robins (née Wheatley) and husband of Millicent Robins (née Galloway), of Neston, Cheshire. (M.A.Cantab).

P/O. John Frederick Raw. Upavon Cemetery. Row E. Grave 7. Born on the 22nd September 1916 at home, 66 Gains Road, Southsea, Hants, the son of Comdr. Frederick E. Raw, DFC., formerly R.N., and of Irene Raw, of Ealing, Middlesex and husband of Mona Raw.

Above: grave at Upavon Cemetery (courtesy Geoffrey Gillon)

Further information: Attended Hillsborough School for Boys Creffield Rd Ealing London. September 1929 (13 yrs) sent to Wellington School Somerset. Joined Combined Cadet Force and excelled in all sports:- House Prefect. 1st XV Colours Rugby 1934. 2nd XI Colours Cricket. Captain Swimming Team 1934. BisleyVIII Shooting Team. ‘Country Life’ Shooting Team 1933/4. Cross Country Team School Certificate’A’. Cadet Sergeant OTC. 24th October 1935 Joined HAC 1st Company Played for Ealing 1st Team Rugby. Went into Provisions Business Northern Island ( Castlebar Bacon Co) played for Corinthians Rugby Team, Malone Rugby Club, Captain of Water Polo Team. Joined Civil Air Guard in Belfast (CAG). 15th January 1940 joined RAF. No 2 Reception Centre RAF Cardington. 18th June 1940 No 4 ITW. 23rd June 1940 U/T Pilot (946998) 2 Squadron B Flight No 4 ITW RAF Hydro Hotel Paignton Devon. June 1940 7 EFTS RAF Desford Leicester ( 82% on 7 exams) September 1940 Meets and marries Mona Dancklefsen in Belfast. 03rd October 1940 No. 5 FTS RAF Sealand flying Miles Master 54 Course. 23rd November 1940 Flight Leader on course 7 Squadron gains his wings. 13th February 1941 sent to RAF Bassingbourn Cambridge T/Sergeant. Posted to Sutton Bridge Lincolnshire 56 OTU 81 Group fighter pilot training on Hurricanes and commissioned (61294 RAFVR) 07th April 1941 RAF Aldergrove, Belfast posted to 245 Squadron Hurricanes then to Central Flying School RAF Upavon 22nd War Course 16th April 1941 preparing for overseas duty. 20th April 1941 now designated to be a Flying Instructor taught by F/O. John Robins, a married man from Cheshire.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Norman Franks - Simon Muggleton November 2017. Page dedicated to the relatives of both the families - further information is welcomed from them. With thanks to Geoffrey Gillon for grave photograph.

KTY - 23.11.2017

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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