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Flight Lieutenant John Younie D.F.C. and Bar

Flight Lieutenant John Younie D.F.C. and Bar
Born: February 20th 1921 at Kippen, near Stirling. Died: April 8th 2012 Age 91.


Flight Lieutenant John Younie, was twice awarded the DFC for flying fighter reconnaissance and ground attack sorties over North Africa and the Balkans.

On March 23rd, 1945, Younie led four Mustangs of No 249 Squadron on an armed reconnaissance mission to Ljubljana to attack railway targets. 

He bombed a locomotive, and as he pulled away there was a series of explosions along the length of the 20 wagons, giving off a multicoloured display and large shock waves – it became obvious that the train was laden with ammunition, and the whole thing was completely destroyed.

A month earlier Younie and a colleague had flown a sortie along the Dalmatian coast.

Over Fiume, they discovered some German E-boats camouflaged in the harbour and flew in low to attack them with their cannons.

The leader’s aircraft was damaged and he was forced to bail out, landing in the sea. Younie, having observed him clamber into his dinghy, circled overhead and transmitted an emergency call, remaining on the scene until Spitfires arrived to provide further cover.

On April 6 Younie took off in bad weather to attack an observation post on the island of Pag off the Dalmatian coast which had stubbornly resisted all attempts to destroy it.

Under very difficult conditions, Younie dropped his bombs in a dive and then remained overhead to direct the rest of the formation.
The official report from the field confirmed that the post had been destroyed.

For his service over Yugoslavia, Younie was awarded a Bar to his earlier DFC for ‘consistently displaying a high standard of keenness and courage’.

The eldest son of the Reverend J.M. Younie, John Dickie Younie was born on February 20 1921 at Kippen, near Stirling, and educated at Fettes, where he was a member of the rugby, fives and shooting teams. He also won an open scholarship in Classics to Gonville and Caius, Cambridge.

In May 1941 Younie joined the RAF, training as a pilot on the second course at No 5 British Flying Training School at Clewiston in Florida, a scheme that had been established under the US Lend-Lease Act.

On his return to England he converted to fighters before joining No 241 Squadron in July 1942.

A fighter reconnaissance squadron equipped with Hurricanes, No 241 arrived at Maison Blanche in Algeria a few days after Operation Torch.

Over the next few weeks Younie flew many sorties in support of the British First Army as it advanced eastwards towards Tunisia.

Flying from rudimentary airstrips, he brought back valuable information on enemy dispositions despite having to face intense anti-aircraft fire.

He also dive-bombed several targets in adverse weather and against fierce German resistance.

The citation for his first DFC commented that he never failed to locate his targets in these difficult conditions and displayed coolness, courage and a quiet determination.

In early 1944 Younie moved with his squadron to Italy and flew shipping reconnaissance sorties, some to the coast of Albania.

In the spring the squadron reverted to supporting ground forces, and Younie led the less experienced pilots.

In January 1945 he transferred to No 249 Squadron as a flight commander to operate over Yugoslavia.

After leaving the RAF in October that year Younie was able to take up his scholarship at Cambridge to read Classics.

He then joined K Shoes in Kendal, eventually rising to chairman and managing director.

In 1979 he joined Marx and Newman, of the US Shoe Corporation, and moved to Florence, where he was to spend the rest of his life.

Younie excelled at languages and was a keen sportsman; he had a particular passion for golf.

His first marriage, to Margot Tully, was dissolved. He is survived by his second wife and a son and daughter of his first marriage.

Reprinted with the kind permission of the Daily Telegraph obituaries column.
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Article prepared by Barry Howard.

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