John Chatterton

Military

Object Number - UPL 57576 - John Chatterton who trained at Falcon Field on Course 10 starting on 23 June 1942 and graduating on 1 January 1943.

John Chatterton trained at Falcon Field on Course 10 starting on 23 June 1942 and graduating on 1 January 1943.

The nickname ‘Johnny’ was adopted at OTU because four of the six airmen that formed his crew shared the forename John. To avoid confusion the other three Johns became known by the monikers Jack, Jock (a Scot) and Wee Jock (a rather diminutive Scot).

The nickname ‘Ace’ was inherited from New Zealand pilot Gordon ‘Ace’ Burness, one of the genuine ‘characters’ on 44 Squadron. Burness took John on his ‘second dickey’ trip to Dusseldorf the night Bill Reid won his VC. Ace was posted to the newly-formed 630 Squadron on which he completed his tour with three successive trips to Berlin and John, thanks to his crew, found himself the bearer of Ace’s title.

John completed a full tour of thirty operations with 44 Squadron, including eight to Berlin and the disastrous Nuremberg raid of March 1944 in which 96 aircraft were lost.

His service with 630 and 57 Squadrons at East Kirkby saw John flying from the former farm on which he was born in 1920. The farmhouse itself was destroyed when Lancaster PB360 blew up at its dispersal in April 1945.

John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (published London Gazette, 25 April 1944).

John’s introduction of the Avro Lincoln to squadron service was shared with flight commander Squadron Leader M J Beetham DFC, later Marshall of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham GCB CBE DFC AFC.

When John’s son, Mike, became captain of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster PA474 it was the first recorded occasion of father and son holding that title in RAF history.

In 1999 the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre opened at the former RAF East Kirkby. Owners Fred and Harold Panton opened it as a memorial to their brother, Chris, who was lost on the Nuremberg raid in March 1944. As Fred later recounted, “In some strange way, it was heartening to know that when Chris went down on his way to Nuremberg he was in the company, so to speak, of an old friend and neighbour. All that way from home, and yet John was probably flying no further from Chris than the two families lived from one another.”

The showpiece of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, the restored Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611, made her first public taxi run under her own power in 1995. At the controls was Mike Chatterton, watched by his very proud and, in his own words, slightly envious father.

Richard W. Underwood has written John's biography, entitled "Ploughshare and Shining Sword", published by Tucann Books 2004.

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

Places

  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Falcon Field No.4 British Flying Training School

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, England
RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire, England No.6 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit [No.6 (P)AFU] April 1943. RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD
RAF Tilstock, flying from RAF Sleap, Shropshire Operational Training Unit (OTU). June 1943 Posted to RAF Tilstock, flying from RAF Sleap, Shropshire MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD
RAF Swinderby, No.5 Group Bomber Command 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) September 1943 RAF Swinderby, No.5 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD
RAF Dunholme Lodge, No.5 Group Bomber Command 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron October 1943 RAF Dunholme Lodge, No.5 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : OPERATIONAL AIRFIELD
RAF Syerston, No.5 Group Bomber Command No.5 Lancaster Finishing School (5LFS) May 1944 RAF Syerston, No.5 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD
RAF East Kirkby, No.5 Group Bomber Command No.630 Squadron April 1945 Officer Commanding Training Flight (colloquially known as ‘Check Pilot’) RAF East Kirkby, No.5 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : OPERATIONAL AIRFIELD
RAF East Kirkby, No.5 Group Bomber Command No.57 Squadron June 1945 Officer Commanding Training Flight (introduced the Avro Lincoln into squadron service) RAF East Kirkby, No.5 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD
RAF Mildenhall, No.3 Group Bomber Command 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron November 1945 – May 1946 RAF Mildenhall, No.3 Group Bomber Command MILITARY SITE : AIRFIELD

Revisions

Date11 Jun 2022 08:54:55
ContributorKathryn_4BFTS
Sources

Son Mike Chatterton and biographer Richard Underwood.

Date7 Jun 2022 14:01:10
ContributorKathryn_4BFTS
Sources

Son Mike Chatterton

Date7 Jun 2022 13:53:10
ContributorKathryn_4BFTS
Sources

Son Mike Chatterton

John Chatterton: Gallery (7 items)