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Air Commodore J N H Whitworth (26249)

John Nicholas Haworth           

b: 10 Jan 1912                      

r: 25 Jul 1964                      

d: 13 Nov 1974

CB – 11 Jun 1960, DSO – 18 Apr 1941, DFC – 17 May 1940, Bar – 22 Nov 1940, MiD - 24 Sep 1941, CMC - 12 Jan 1943.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off: 19 Dec 1931, Fg Off: 19 Jun 1933, Flt Lt: 19 Jun 1936, Sqn Ldr: 1 Feb 1939, Act Wg Cdr: 16 Sep 1940?, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1941, Act Gp Capt: 16 Mar 1942, Act A/Cdre: 10 May 1943 - 23 Aug 1943, Act Gp Capt: 23 Aug 1943, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1944, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1950, Act A/Cdre: 4 Jul 1955, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1957.

Photo - Crown Copyright© (AVM R A Cochrane, Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, King George VI and Gp Capt Whitworth discussing the 'Dambusters Raid' in May 1943)

16 Jan 1930:            Flight Cadet, 'B' Sqn, RAF College.

19 Dec 1931:           Appointed to a Permanent Commission

19 Dec 1931:           Pilot, No 99 Sqn

28 Feb 1933:           Pilot, No 70 Sqn.

27 Apr 1936:          Attended Instructors' Course, Central Flying School (graded B).

13 Jul 1936:             QFI, Oxford UAS/Station Flight, RAF Abingdon.

 5 Feb 1939:            'B' Flight Commander, No 10 Sqn. (Whitleys)

 4 Apr - xx xxx 1940:            Officer Commanding (Temporary), No 10 Sqn.

20 May 1940:          Flight Commander, No 78 Sqn (Whitleys)

12 Jun 1940:            'B' Flight Commander, No 10 Sqn. (Whitleys)

10 Jul 1940:            Officer Commanding (Temporary), No 10 Sqn.

13 Sep 1940:           Supernumerary, No 78 Sqn (Whitleys/Halifaxes)

16 Sep 1940:            Officer Commanding, No 78 Sqn (Whitleys/Halifaxes)

14 Feb 1941:           Air Staff, HQ No 4 Group.

xx Oct 1941:           Adviser to USAAC, USA.

26 Jan 1942:            Officer Commanding, No 35 Sqn (Halifaxes)

 5-19 Jan 1942:            Officer Commanding, RAF Leeming

13 Mar 1942:          Supernumerary, RAF Scampton.

16 Mar 1942:          Officer Commanding, RAF Scampton.

28 Feb - 3 Mar 1943    Attended Course in Aviation Medicine, Farnborough

10 May 1943:          Base Commander, No 52 Base.

29 Aug 1943:           Deputy Director of Bomber Operations

 9 Apr 1946:            Attended Course No 16, RAF Staff College (Overseas), Haifa.

 4 Jan 1947:             Air Staff Officer, AHQ India.

15 Aug 1947:           Air Staff, RAF Units in India and Pakistan

 8 Dec 1947:            Air Attaché, Bangkok.

xx xxx 1948:            Group Captain –Operations, AHQ India.

xx xxx xxxx:             Commanding Officer, RAF Swinderby 

 3 Aug 1953:           Group Captain - Operations, HQ Bomber Command.

13 Sep 1954:          SASO, HQ No 1 (Bomber) Group.

22 May 1958:         Commandant, Central Flying School.

16 Feb 1961:          Chief of Staff, Ghana Air Force.

27 May 1962:          AOC, RAF Hong Kong.

He represented the RAF College at Athletics, Cross Country and Shooting and also attained the rank of Flight Cadet Corporal.  He was Base and Station Commander at Scampton at the time No 617 Squadron was formed and later acted as technical adviser on the film ‘The Dambusters’.

Recommendation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

"WHITWORTH, John Nicholas Haworth, W/C, DFC (26249, Royal Air Force) - No.78 Squadron

This officer has commanded No.78 Squadron from 18th September 1940 to 14th February 1941.  During this period he has shown exceptional ability.  He has carried out 38 operational sorties, five of which while in command of the squadron, and by his fine leadership and example has encouraged others to do the same.  In this way he has been responsible for bringing the squadron to its present high state of efficiency.  His knowledge and application of airmanship has been an inspiration to his subordinates."

On 1 March 1941, Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham added his remarks: -

"Wing Commander Whitworth has been on operations since the commencement of the war, rising from Flight Lieutenant to Acting Wing Commander.  Throughout all appointments he has set the highest possible example of keenness, courage and perseverance.  His airmanship has been an inspiration on which the operational strength of his station has been built up.

As a squadron commander he has carried out his responsibilities lightly but firmly, the light touch, which is so good for morale, being based on knowledge, experience and confidence.

Wing Commander Whitworth now leaves his squadron to become GTI of the Group.  At the present moment I should think that his experience and ability entitle him to rank as the leading night bomber pilot in Bomber Command.  He leaves an excellent squadron at the top of its form.  Strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Service Order."

(Source - Air 2/8892 drafted by the Officer Commanding, Station Dishforth, 23 February 1941 when he had flown 38 sorties (294 operational hours))

This page was last updated on 17/12/23

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