BLAIR – John

Flight Lieutenant – DFC – navigator – Halifax – 102 Sqn, Pocklington – retired from RAF in 1963

[Source: CG, AD]

605486 – J.J. Blair – Jamaica – attested 28.10.42 – P/O Navigator UK 15.2.44
55629 – F/O – commissioned 28.1.44

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876]

[Photograph: IWM]

Pilot Officer J J Blair (right) from Jamaica signs in to the Colonial Centre at 17 Russell Square for the night. He is receiving his ticket for a cubicle (costing half a crown) from the reception clerk Mr Alfred Stanismore, from British Honduras. According to the original caption, a bed in a dormitory would have cost him 2/-. The original MoI ‘background story’ caption for this sequence of photographs reads: Colonial Centre, a London residential club for men from all over the British Colonial Empire, is housed in an old Georgian mansion overlooking Russell Square. Here a man can get a bed for 2/- a night, a good three course meal, in a restaurant to which he can invite his friends, for 1/9. Opened by the Duchess of Gloucester on March 9th, 1943, the club has already become headquarters of much of the social life of the students, war workers and men in the forces who live, or spend their leaves in London.

Further Information: The original MoI ‘background story’ caption for this sequence of photographs reads: Colonial Centre, a London residential club for men from all over the British Colonial Empire, is housed in an old Georgian mansion overlooking Russell Square. Here a man can get a bed for 2/- a night, a good three course meal, in a restaurant to which he can invite his friends, for 1/9. Opened by the Duchess of Gloucester on March 9th, 1943, the club has already become headquarters of much of the social life of the students, war workers and men in the forces who live, or spend their leaves in London.

[Source: IWM]

Flight Lieutenant John J. Blair in 1960′s

Jamaican RAF volunteers in 1942 – John Blair is 2nd from right in the back row

John Blair and crewmate in Halifax III in 1945

John Blair in 1943

VE-dinner, London 1995, from left: John Blair, John Ebanks and an unidentified veteran.
[Photographs courtesy Mark Johnson]

One addition to “BLAIR – John”

  1. Mark Johnson adds:

    Flight Lt John J Blair, DCF, volunteered for the RAF from Jamaica in 1941. After training at Monkton in Canada, as well as at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, he was assigned to 102 (Ceylon) Squadron in December 1944. 102 were stationed at Pocklington, Yorkshire and John flew as a Navigator in Halifax bombers from December 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, and was involved in many of the main bomber raids during the period. His Squadron, with he served with Flt Sgt LO Lynch, was joint third for the heaviest casualties suffered by any RAF squadron during WW2. In the six weeks after he joined the Squadron, a total of 8 aircraft were lost on operational duties over Europe and many of their crews were killed.

    John Blair completed his full tour, received the DFC, and was then accepted into the Pathfinder force, but he transferred to Transport Command at the end of the war. He remained in the RAF until 1963, engaging in such activities as flying British casualties back from Malaya (he met his future wife Margaret who was a nursing sister on one such flight) and providing logistical support for the British nuclear tests in the Pacific. Uncle John passed away in 2004, back in his beloved homeland of Jamaica.

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