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Air Commodore J L Mitchell (78986)

John Lewis                  b:  12 Nov 1918                      r:  1 Sep 1974                d:  7 Feb 2016

MVO – 24 Jun 1943, DFC – 11 Feb 1941, AFC – 1 Jan 1953, LoM (L) – 24 Jan 1947.

Plt Off (P):  21 Apr 1940, Fg Off:  21 Apr 1941, Flt Lt (WS):  21 Apr 1942, Act Sqn Ldr:  xx xxx xxxx, Flt Lt: 10 Sep 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr:  1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr:  1 Jul 1954, Gp Capt:  1 Jul 1961, Act A/Cdre:  12 Nov 1965, A/Cdre:  1 Jul 1968.

xx xxx 1939:            U/T Observer, RAFVR

xx Apr 1940:           Attended No 10? OTU (Abingdon)

xx Jul 1940:             Observer, No 58 Sqn (Whitleys - Linton-on-Ouse)

xx Feb 1941:           Attended Specialist Navigation Course, No 31 ANS, Canada

xx Aug 1941:           Member, Celestial Navigation Trainer Development Team, No 31 ANS.

23 Mar 1942           Attached, British Air Commission, Washington

17 Jul 1942:             Posted to RAF Ferry Command (transit to UK)

xx July 1942:            Staff Officer, Directorate of Navigation Training

xx xxx 1942:            Navigator, VVIP Flight, No 24 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx (1944)  Serving in Canada

25 Sep 1945:           Assistant Air Attaché, Washington.

10 Sep 1946:           Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining his existing rank current at the time0 [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx xxxx:             Navigation Officer, Central Bomber Establishment.

xx xxx xxxx:             Attended Course No 1, RAF Flying College, Manby

xx xxx xxxx:             Senior Navigation Instructor, RAF Flying College, Manby

21 Oct 1957:           Staff Officer, Directorate of Plans (developing navigation systems for the V-bombers)

30 Nov 1959:          Secretary, Joint Intelligence Committee, HQ Middle East Air Force.

 8 Aug 1962:           SASO, HQ No 25 Group.

 12 Nov 1965:          Air Attache, Moscow.

 4 Oct 1968:            Director of Manning.

 7 Dec 1970:            Air Commodore - Intelligence.

15 Oct 1973:           Project Officer for Review of Scientific and Technical Current Intelligence Centre.

Born in South Croydon, he was educated at Bancroft’s School and worked for HM Customs and Excise, joining the RAFVR in 1939, being mobilised at the outbreak of war.  He trained as an Observer and was commissioned in April 1940.  Joining No 58 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse, flying in Whitleys he flew 24 bombing operations, targets including Berlin, Stettin as well as ones in Italy. Returning from one such raid against Genoa, his aircraft ran out of fuel and was ditched off the North Foreland, Kent, with the crew being picked up by a fishing boat.

From late 1942 he served as the Navigator on the aircraft used by Winston Churchill.

Citation for the award of the Legion of Merit, Degree of Legionnaire (United States)

"MITCHELL, John Lewis, S/L, MVO, DFC (78986, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)

Squadron Leader J L Mitchell, Royal Air Force, performed exceptionally meritorious service during his assignment at the Royal Air Force School of Air Navigation, Port Albert, Canada from December 1941 to April 1942. He collaborated with personnel of the United States Army Air Force in the development of the Celestial Navigation and Bombing Trainer, and his thorough analysis of the original trainer contributed in large measure to the improvement and standardization of a training device which was successfully used to expedite the training of thousands of American airmen in celestial, dead-reckoning and radio navigation."

(Source: Air 2/9682)

 This page was last updated on 31/01/23©

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