Flight Lieutenant – Pilot

Educated QRC, PO to FO Jan 43.

[Source: CMHA]

3 additions to “RICHARDS – John L.H.”

  1. Jerome Lee adds:

    RICHARDS, JOHN LEICESTER HAZELL Initials: J L H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Age: 27 Date of Death: 01/04/1945 Service No: 47726 Additional information: American D.F.C. Son of John Macdonnell Richards and Gladys Hazel Richards; husband of June Richards, of Kings Ripton, Huntingdon. Educated at QRC. Of St Vincent & Trinidad. Flying accident. MM328 – PRXVI – PRDU – Broke up in air during auto-pilot trials over Southrop Glos. 1.4.45 F/L J.L.H. Richards was the pilot of Mosquito PR.XVI MM328. His passenger F/O W.E. Robinson was an electrical officer. They were carrying out a test flight of a GEC Auto Pilot. Source: RAF Benson ORB Crew: F/Lt (47726) John Leicester Hazell RICHARDS (pilot) RAF – killed F/O (134972) Williams Ernest ROBINSON (nav.) RAFVR – killed Source: http://aviation Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot H/1. Grave 176. Cemetery: OXFORD (BOTLEY) CEMETERY

  2. Dunan Richardson adds:

    His uncle was Leicester Atkinson who was the Doctor with the support team to Robert Falcon Scott’s ill fated journey to the South Pole in 1912

  3. DuncanRichardson adds:

    From Dennis Vaughn

    John Leicester Richards, born 18 September 1917 in Barbados,
    first cousin of Sqrdn Ldr David Osment of St Vincent An accountant, he went to the United Kingdom in 1938 for the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. At the outbreak of war he wanted to join the RAF but was told that there were no vacancies, and so joined the Royal Artillery. Soon after, the need for aircrew became apparent and he transferred to the RAF. He began his flying training on the Tiger Moth. His flying log book shows a number of aircraft types including the Oxford, Anson, Lysander, Wellington, Martinet, Spitfire and Mosquito. It was in the Mosquito with 510 Squadron, Coastal Command, that he specialised in photo-reconnaissance operations, and was commended for his work by Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory in July 1944. In August 1944 he was declared missing during a mission over Konigsberg. He had suffered an engine failure and was forced to land near Malmo, Sweden. After a brief internment he was repatriated on 23 August 1944. He was also awarded the DFC in November 1944 for his reconnaissance work.

    In order to improve the range and performance of the reconnaissance Mosquitos, John’s aircraft, MM328, had been modified with an increased wing span and was later fitted with the much improved Merlin 15 SM engines. It underwent trials at RAF Benson in May 1944 and returned to Rolls Royce for engine tests in June 44. Subsequently a further four of these aircraft were produced in August 44, designated PR Mk 32s. On the afternoon of Easter Sunday 1945 John was flight testing a new GEC Mk IV autopilot for the Photo Reconnaissance Development Unit. His aircraft crashed near RAF Fairford.

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