Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
31st December 1943
Flying a Typoon, Kenneth died in a mid air collision with another Typoon
Son of William and Ethel Emma Johnson, of Blackpool, Lancashire
The Sunday Chronicle
January 30, 1944
RAF Pilot Died With Faith
‘I Felt Bitter Against the Moaners...’
To-Day “The Sunday Chronicle” is privileged to publish the dairy of an R.A.F. fighter pilot who lost his life recently on a fighter patrol over the channel.
Pilot Officer K.I. Johnson, of Boothroyden, North Shore, Blackpool is dead now. But his words live on, a fitting memorial to the splendour of his young life - and death. An inspiration to us all.
In the introduction to his dairy written while serving as a Typhoon pilot, Pilot Officer Johnson wrote:
“I feel bitter in my heart against the people who were so confident of victory that their efforts for the war were nil.
“They did not realise how near defeat was; to them it was just some thrilling story to read ... between mouthfuls of buttered toast .....
Aware of Task Ahead
“Three hundred and seventy-five of the cream of the R.A.F. died so that those well-fed contented persons could go on living their usual lives, so so they could moan about the petrol or food rationing.
“Thank God that after tree and a half years of war we are at last aware of the task ahead, and are getting down to diminishing it.”
“Aug. 11. - I don’t think I have felt so happy since I joined the R.A.F. as I feel today, for this is a place where every pilot would give his right arm to be.
I met my Flight-Commander, F.O. Bedford. D.F.C. I liked him the moment we shook hands. I met the C.O. Squadron-Leader, Mickey. a Czech, and what a man ! I’ll never want to leave this squadron.
“Aug, 12 - Went down this morning to the flights and was introduced to a 2,400 h.p. Typhoon. God, what a size these machines are, and the four cannon look like field guns. When they take off, it’s like a wild bull tearing across the field - some machine.
The boys came back from a rhubarb (an attack). They got two trains and a barge. Not bad.
Just found out how lucky I am. There are only a certain number of Typhoon pilots in the group, so it’s quite a thing to join them.
Aug. 13 - Air raid last night. Not very thrilling. Fell asleep before All Clear. The boys went on night intruding. Walrus from the Air-Sea Rescue pranged landing - bad show. Getting to knopw the routine.
Aug. 14 - About fifty Spits landed early to go sweeping. They flew across in their formation - three sets of four. These Spits are pretty good, but can’t touch our Tiffys for speed and armament.
“A good party in the Mess to-night - a farewell to one of the squadrons, and what a farewell.
Aug. 17 - Big show today. Whole squadron escorted Bostons into France. Not much happened, Flak fairly good. Houstons forced down over here. Didn’t get hurt and went night intuding after. Good show.
Aug. 21 - Boys got two barges to-day. Not bad. C.O. went to London. He doesn’t like this place. Defence exercise - bags of fun.
Aug. 24 - Early scramble as sirens went. Nothing found. Rhubarb to-day. Two trains.
Aug. 28 - Things ate getting hotter. Early shipping strike this morning. Big show to-night. Hurrys to attack locks at Flushing. One squadron to give cover from North. Our squadron to come in from the South and keep enemy aircraft on the ground.
The C.O., Squadron Leader Mickey, went in the drink two miles out from the French Coast. This shook whole squadron, because there can never be another Mickey.
Got drunk with rest of the boys. A very black day. Three Typhoons in one day. Our C.O. and one Flight Commander. Horrible luck.
Aug. 30 - More kites to-day. Our new C.O., Squadron Leader Bryan, D.F.C. and Bar, very young wizard type. Just the man Mickey would want as his successor.
Sept. 1 - The operation on which Mickey and Scotby were lost is attempted again. The lock gates at Flushing. Hurricanes escorted by our squadron and another.
Damn good show, but three Hurrys lost, Squadron-Leader McEwan last seen attacking. Our squadron saw ships on way back, shot ‘em up. Flight-Sergt. Osborne (an Aussy) spun in after attacking. No hope for him, as the plane broke up violently. Guess the squadron’s having a bogy.
Sept. 3 - Shipping strike this morning with Tiffy bombers. Good results, none missing for a change.
Sept. 5 - Good show this morning. Tiffy bombers went in, we escorted them. One squadron lost their C.O. but he was seen to crash-land, set fire to his kite and then wave like hell to the planes overhead, and then make off. I hope he gets back !
Another show just before lunch. All six Tiffys attacked a small train - guess it’s razor blades now, poor thing. All got back.
Had another shaking up this afternoon. F.O. Darby took F.O. Jones in Tiger Moth to pick up one of our new Tiffys. On the way back he went in the drink one mile off shore. A launch went out but he was dead.
One of the Best
He was one of the best pals - one of the best, such a good fellow. What a way to die.
Everyone upset. This squadron going down in numbers - wonder if it will ever stop. Four dead in one week.
Sept. 6 - Shiiping strike this morning. Shot three barges up well and truly. Fittall got hell of a hole in his tail. The C.O. caught quite a shot, too. Why worry, they got back.
Sept. 10 - Another black day. Flight Sergt. Donaghy missing. Nine Tiffys went in, got split up and no one saw Donaghy again. He was Irish and married - one child.
Sept. 10-20 - Several small shows, but I have been too damn tired, to write about them. No casualties, thank God.
Sept. 25 - Another show today. More ships shot up. One burst into flames. Bowman got slightly riddled.
Oct. 3 - Up at dawn for a show with three squadrons of Bpmphoons. It was wizard visibility, and for half an hour we went along the French Coast. On reaching LeHavre area, nothing was seen, so we turned back up the coast.
On reaching Fecamp the Bamphoons turned inland, and we gave cover.
Then the bombers went down to the docks, and the muck came up. We saw the bombers diving at a hell of a speed at the docks and then weave out to sea.”