The Photographs of Johnnie Johnson
Author: Dilip Sarkar MBE
Published: Air World / Pen & Sword
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Air Vice-Marshal James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson CB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, DFC & Bar, DL was a character literally from the pages of Boys’ Own: an individual who became the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot of the Second World War. A one-time household name synonymous with the superlative Spitfire, Johnnie’s aerial combat successes inspired schoolboys for generations.
As a ‘lowly Pilot Officer’, Johnnie Johnson learned his fighter pilot’s craft as a protégé of the legless Tangmere Wing Leader, Douglas Bader. After Bader was brought down over France and captured on 9 August 1941, Johnnie remained a member of 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, in which he became a flight commander and was awarded the DFC a month after Bader’s devastating loss.
In time, Johnnie came to command a Canadian wing in 1943, when the Spitfire Mk.IX at last outclassed the Fw 190, and participated in some of the most important battles of the defeat of Nazi Germany, including Operation Overlord and the D-Day landings in 1944, Operation Market Garden and the airborne assault at Arnhem, and the Rhine Crossings, throughout all of which Johnnie also commanded Canadian wings.
Johnnie’s remarkable career is revealed through this unparalleled collection of archive photographs, the majority of which are drawn from his own personal album or from other members of the Johnson family. Many have not been published before. Between them, they present a fascinating insight into the man himself, the machines he flew, and the men he served alongside.