James Robert Feir "Jimmy" Johnson

RCAF   S/L   -   DFC,   AFC

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Pilots of 418 Squadron
Johnson [center] smiles for the camera with Air Marshal Lloyd
Breadner to his right. On Jimmy's left is his Navigator Noel
Gibbons, along with pilots Charlie Scherf & Johnny Caine

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Great Traditions of Airmen Emphasized in Graduation Ceremony at Burford
Alex G. Milne, G. H. Ramey Complete Training For Service Activities

17 Oct, 1941 - Alex. G. Milne, 175 George street and G. H. Ramey, 39 Leeming street, today wear pilot's wings on their air force tunics, placed there yesterday afternoon at No. 5 Service Flying Training school, Burford, by Air Vice-Marshal G. O. Johnson, M.C., Croix de Guerre, brother of the commanding officer of the station, Group Captain B. F. Johnson.
Before making the presentations to the flyers, the Air Vice-Marshal addressed the class. "Those of you who will be fighter pilots will have a greater opportunity for gallantry," he told them, "but bravery without knowledge is sometimes a dangerous thing, and that is why you have been given a training second to none. Yours is a great tradition, and you have become trustees of a fine heritage, which can be brought higher but must never be smashed."
A large percentage of the class was from the United States. P. A. Harman, of Portland, Maine, a former hospital laboratory worker, headed the class.

Toast of Class
The toast of his fellow-airmen was E. D. Finley, of Ottawa. It was the 13th day of the 13th year of his enlistment with the R.C.A.F., and in those years he had a splendid record of service that brought him to the enviable rank of WO2, equivalent to a company sergeant-major in the army. He was head N.C.O. at No. 4 Explosives School in Regina when he left his rank to become a bomber pilot and stood so high in his class that he may be granted a commission. He is, despite his long service, but 29 years old. His wife and two sons were on hand to see him get his wings.
Another of the graduates was L. B. Sceales, of Calgary, who was formerly a flight lieutenant signals officer at command headquarters of the R.C.A.F. at Regina. He re mustered to get into the air and see some action.
Still another who held rank, was J. R. F. Johnson, Omemee, who was a second lieutenant with the Midland Regiment on active service when he gave up his rank for the air force.

Relatives Attend
The class seniors were C. C. Parish, of Sault Ste. Marie, and N. F. McAulay, Orangeville. They were two of 19 Ontarioans (Ontarioans - funny). Of the others, five were from Toronto. They were W. Buchanan, S. Cruickshank, G. R. Wright, B. D. McEwan and D. T. Gray.
Relatives came from far places for the graduations. Traveling the farthest distance were W. L. Emerson, M.P. and Mrs. Emerson, from Dorchester, N.B. They came to see their son, Bert Emerson, get wings. Only other Maritime graduate was Ralph Campbell from St. Peters, N.S.
The westerners included R. J. Sweeney, for six years on the advertising staff of the Winnipeg Free Press; J. A. Reynolds, Winnipeg; Gordon Dunn, Regina and E. Q. Findlay, Winnipeg.
The Americans included John Stickell from Peoria, Ill.; Warren Sutton, Louisiana; J. L. Swift, Missoula, Montana, and R. S. Johnson, Los Angeles.
Among the Ontarioans were: O. Ellison, Tottenham; Harry Hamilton, Springfield; V. W. McCabe, Owen Sound; M. Stevenson, Mount Forest; J. T. Hesson, Sault Ste. Marie; A. L. Keith, Sault Ste. Marie, and B. Labarge, Ottawa.


Born in Omemee, Ontario, 26 September 1916
Home there
Educated in Omemee and Lindsay Collegiate
Operated a telephone line & repair service before war
Enlisted in Toronto, 11 February 1941
Trained at
No.1 ITS (graduated 20 June 1941)
No.7 EFTS (graduated 8 August 1941) &
No.5 SFTS (graduated 19 October 1941)
Cited with F/O Noel Gibbons (also awarded DFC)
Also known as "Johnny"


Beurling Fights Again, Bags Nazi Over France

London, Sept. 24, 1943 - (CP) - Canadian flying aces in some of the most productive aerial fighting since the days of the Battle of Britain three years ago destroyed five enemy fighters today in widespread actions over France.
F/O George (Buzz) Beurling of Verdun, Que., marked his long-sought return to action by shooting down a Focke-Wulf 190 to raise his score of enemy planes to 30.
Maintaining the blistering pace set by R.C.A.F. night Mosquito fliers, the Canadian pilots knocked out of the sky 5 of the 20 enemy planes downed by Fighter Command during the day.
Three of four German fighters shot down Thursday night were victims of Canadian airmen. F/L M. W. Beveridge of Montreal destroyed two and F/O J. R. F. Johnson of Omemee, Ont., got one.
Flying with the Wolf Squadron under S/L Norman Fowlow of Windsor, N.S., Beurling saw the FW-190 above him. He circled and tore off the enemy's port wing with a single burst.
W/C L. V. Chadburn of Aurora, Ont., and F/L J. D. Mitchner of Saskatoon shared one of the day's bag. The others fell to W/C Hugh Godefroy of Toronto, who has just taken over command of a Canadian fighter wing; F/L Robert Buckham of Vancouver, leader of the Red Indian Squadron, and W/C E. F. J. Charles of Vancouver, who flies with the R.A.F.
Buckham, who also was credited with damaging one plane, blew an FW190 to bits after chasing it from 20,000 feet almost to the ground. It was his second victory in five days.
In one of the sweeps by Godefroy's squadron - he was squadron leader of the Wolf Squadron before his new appointment – P/O William F. Cook of Clinton, Ont., dived his Spitfire to low level to put out of service a French freight engine, although flak from the train broke part of one wing.
Beurling had been yearning to get back into combat flying ever since he was stationed in Malta where he ran his score of enemy planes downed from two to 29.
He transferred from the R.A.F. to the R.C.A.F. on Sept 1 to "get back into the air." He had been assigned to an instructor's job in an R.A.F. gunner school after his return to Britain from a leave in Canada.


U.S. Bombers Knock Down 117 Fighters

London, Dec. 12, 1943 - (AP) – Canadian Mosquito planes made a sweep over the Bourges-Avord Air Field in France today after the aerial offensive against Germany was carried forward with an R.A.F. Mosquito attack on unspecified Western German targets Saturday night and a Saturday day smash at Emden by United States heavy bombers. The Canadians destroyed a Heinkel 111 and severely damaged another of these twin-engined bombers that were used by the Germans it the 1940 night raids on Britain. F/O J. R. F. Johnson of St. Thomas, Ont. destroyed the Heinkel, while the other was damaged by F/L Bob Kipp of Kamloops, B.C. None of the Canadian planes was lost during the sweep. (Apparently, Johnson and Kipp shared them both -ed)
This was the only announced air activity today, but Vichy radio said Allied planes had scattered leaflets over Paris urging workers to revolt.
The United States Emden raiders downed 138 German fighters, while 17 American bombers and three fighters were lost.
Continental radio stations shut down Sunday alight, suggesting new attacks. The Federal Communications Commission in New York said the Bremen, Friesland and Luxembourg stations had gone off the air. The BBC said the station at Hilversum in the Netherlands also shut down abruptly.
In Saturday's raid, a total of 11 of the German planes fell to the United States bombers and 21 to the fighters. Fliers reported German fighters machine-gunned men who parachuted from cripple bombers.
A heavy toll of Nazi planes was apparently due to the tact that the Nazis rose to fight in considerable numbers for the first time in several weeks. The increased armament of the heavy bombers also was cited as a possible reason for the heavy score.
The Germans tried a new tactic in swarming in four and five abreast, returning fliers said, but they gave indications of inexperience and a lack of eagerness
Emden, a great shipping and industrial centre probably serving the Germans as a lifeline to their forces in Scandinavia, is situated on a more or less direct air line from Britain to Berlin and is a logical area for the Germans to concentrate their fighter forces seeking to intercept the R.A.F. Berlin raiders.
Since it is also the nearest German naval and submarine base to the British Isles, the chances are that the Allied Aerial Command was out to smash the German's ability to wage U-boat warfare.
The assault broke a week's lull due to weather in the heavy bombing campaign from Britain.



Ottawa, Dec. 17, 1943 (CP) — Mosquito pilots of the R.C.A.F. overseas destroyed one Heinkel 111 and damaged another during the last week, while the two-man crew of another Mosquito shot down three of four bombers destroyed over England last Friday and a Coastal Command Flying Fortress, whose second pilot was a Canadian, sank a U-boat after two depth-charge attacks.
In addition, the R.C.A.F. said in a summary of overseas operations tonight, Spitfire squadrons of the RCAF were active last Monday carrying out sweeps in support of United States Flying Fortresses and Liberators hammering targets in Northwest Germany. Two squadrons later escorted Marauders of the United States Army Air Force in an attack on Schipol airfield in Amsterdam.
Last Tuesday P/O C. B. Witt of Morden, Man., shared in the victory of a Coastal Command Beaufighter squadron off the coast of Norway. Two Beaufighters were patrolling when they saw a Dornier three-engined, long-range flying boat ahead. They immediately attacked it and set it on fire.
Crew of the Fighter Command Mosquito which destroyed three bombers last Friday was F/O R. D. Schultz of Bashaw, Alta., and F/O Vernon Williams of Hamilton, the plane's pilot and navigator respectively.
They took off to intercept enemy bombers attacking England and shot down a Dornier 217, blowing it up in mid-air. They then encountered and destroyed another Do217, accounting for their third victim after their own aircraft had been damaged and was flying on only one engine.

New Base Effective
The Coastal Command plane which sank the U-boat was captained by an Englishman. The submarine was the first victim to fall to a squadron operating from newly acquired bases in the Azores.
F/O D. Thompson of Westmount, Que., second pilot, described the second attack against the U-boat as "a beautiful straddle."
The Heinkel 111 shot down Sunday was destroyed by F/L Robert Kipp of Kamloops, B.C. The second Heinkel was severely damaged by F/O J. Johnson of Omemee. Kipp's navigator was F/O Pete Huletsky of Montreal and Johnson's was F/O J. Gibbons of Vancouver. The combat occurred in daylight over France. (Johnson and Kipp shared them both –ed)
Squadrons commanded by S/L E. L. (Jeep) Neal, D.F.C., of Quebec; S/L I. G. Ormston, D.F.C., of Montreal; S/L George C. Keefer, D.F.C., of Charlottetown; S/L R. A. Buckham, D.F.C. (United States), and S/L G. M. Magwood, D.F.C., of Toronto carried out sweeps on Monday.
In close escort of United States heavy bombers were squadrons commanded by S/L G. W. Northcott, D.F.C., of Minnedosa, Man., and S/L F. E. Green, D.F.C, of Toronto.
The squadrons commanded by Buckham and Northcott escorted the American marauders in their attack on Schipol airfield.


Another one for the press - Lloyd Breadner (left) makes some use of 418's success. Johnson is next, then his Nav. Noel Gibbons, Stan Wilson (Macdonald's Nav.), unk, Don Macdonald (center), Johnny Caine, Al Brown (Scherf's Nav), Hugh Dowding, Earl Boal (Caine's Nav, 2nd from right) and Charlie Scherf (far right).


Four Canadian Mosquitos Bag 7 Nazis in 8 Minutes

An R.C.A.F. Fighter Station Somewhere in England, Jan. 27, 1944 - (CP) - Raiding more than 100 miles inside France, four of the R.C.A.F.’s swift Mosquito intruder planes, led by W/C Don Macdonald of Vancouver, today destroyed seven German aircraft in an action lasting only eight minutes.
Four R.A.F. Typhoons on a similar offensive sweep over Belgium at the same time shot down three other enemy planes. The bag of 10 was obtained without a single loss.
Macdonald himself set the pace for his fliers, shooting down a Heinkel 11 and a Heinkel 177 after leading 26 missions without seeing one enemy aircraft.
"Just think, after 26 trips without seeing a thing and then bingo, we get two," said Macdonald's observer, P/O Stan Wilson, an Englishman.
F/L Johnny Johnson of Omemee, Ont., with F/O Jimmy Gibbons of Vancouver as observer, and F/O Johnny Caine of Calgary, with F/S Earl Boal of Regina as observer, shared in the destruction of four Junkers. (Charlie Scherf [RAAF] and his Navigator) F/O Al Brown of Winnipeg, shot down the seventh enemy plane, a Focke-Wulf, to give Canadian fighters their best day since Dec. 20, when Spitfires destroyed eight German planes.
Johnson's pair brought his total of victims to four and Caine, a comparative newcomer to the squadron, raised his to three.
"There is no question about them being definitely destroyed." Macdonald said. “They went down and poofed. We saw three of them explode and go up in smoke.”
Brown thought the "most interesting part of the whole show was the way those Jerries blew in pieces when they hit the deck."
"It is a sight I'll always remember — just like lighting fires at home.”



Ottawa, Feb. 4, 1944 - (CP) - R.C.A.F. bombers participating in the three hammer-blow raids on Berlin during the past week carried a bomb weight far heavier than the whole German Air Force ever dropped on Britain in a single night, the R.C.A.F. reported today in its weekly summary of overseas operations.
On the first of the three raids, F/S S. H. Campbell of Drumheller, Alta., rear gunner in the "Goose" bomber squadron, shot down a rocket-firing Messerschmitt 110 night fighter.
We were just on the rim of the target area when the fighter started to attack us," said Campbell. "He was 440 yards away and silhouetted against the red glow of the flames below coming through the clouds. I told the skipper to bank to starboard and as the fighter followed us on the curve of pursuit, I gave him a long burst, scoring a hit on the starboard rocket.
"The enemy nightfighter broke off the combat, but attacked again coming up underneath and, as Campbell fired again, he saw it flip over on its back in flames and a few seconds later explode on the ground below.
An R.C.A.F. Mosquito squadron "went to town" one day of the week when four of its pilots knocked down seven enemy aircraft within eight minutes.
W/C D. C. S. Macdonald of Vancouver, commanding officer of the squadron, accounted for a Heinkel 111 and a Heinkel 177 and F/L C. Scherf, an Australian pilot in the squadron whose navigator is F/O L. Brown of Winnipeg got a Focke-Wulf 200. F/L J. Johnson of Omemee, and F/O J. Caine of Edmonton reported four Junkers destroyed.

Mustangs Score Again
After six weeks of silence the R.C.A.F. Mustang squadron under S/L C. H. (Smokey) Stover of Sarnia, also bounced back into the news by shooting down four enemy aircraft in one day. The kills were shared by F/L J. T. Seaman, Lewisville, N.B., and F/O R. O. Brown of Daysland, Alta.; F/L Gordon Wonnacott of South Edmonton and F/L George Burroughs of Toronto.
Their first two victims were unidentified, but the second pair, bagged by Burroughs and Wonnacott were Messerschmitt 109's. One of the unidentified aircraft "just blew up in mid-air," said Burroughs, the successful pilot. Meanwhile, the other three Canadian pilots attacked a second Nazi aircraft and aided in its destruction
In Coastal Command a heavily-armed minesweeper was sunk off the Norwegian coast by R.C.A.F. Beaufighters led by W/C C. A. Willis of Vancouver. A medium-sized merchant ship was also left on fire and an escort vessel raked with cannon fire. The Canadians saw the minesweeper blow up after their attack.
From Italy came the news that the mounting score of the City of Windsor Spitfire Squadron went up another notch when it destroyed a Focke-Wolf and damaged another while protecting British invasion craft off the Nettuno beachhead.
The City of Windsor unit has bagged more Huns than any other squadron in the desert air force over the beachhead. In seven days, since the landing began, it has destroyed four enemy machines with two more probably destroyed and four damaged. It has lost one pilot, although some have made several forced landings.


Canadian Airman Awarded D.S.O.

Ottawa, March 18, 1944 — (CP) — Group Capt. Paul Y. Davoud, D.F.C., of Montreal and Kingston, Ont., veteran R.C.A.F. night fighter now serving at a group headquarters overseas, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of his brilliant leadership at intruder operations, the R.C.A.F. announced today.
The air force announcement included the following other awards.

Distinguished Flying Cross
Flight-Lieut. J. R. Owen, Windsor, Ont.
Flight-Lieut. J. R. F. Johnson, of Omemee, Ont,, whose wife is serving in the R.C.A.F. (W.D.) at the St. Thomas, Ont., Technical Training School.



Ottawa, March 19, 1944 - (CP) - Group Capt. Paul Davoud, D.F.C., of Montreal and Kingston, veteran R.C.A.F. night fighter now serving at a group headquarters overseas, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of his brilliant leadership at intruder operations, the R.C.A.F. announced Saturday.

The air force also announced awards of the D.F.C. to the following:
F/L J. R. Owen, Windsor, Ont.
F/L J. R. F. Johnson, Omemee. Ont., whose wife is serving in the R.C.A.F. (W.D.) at St. Thomas.
F/L C. E. J. Murphy, Belleville.
P/O D. D. Graham, Vancouver.
P/O Claude Weaver, Oklahoma City, Okla., since reported missing.
F/O N. J. Gibbons, Vancouver.


JOHNSON, F/L James Robert Feir (J14873) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.418 Sq.
Award effective 2 March 1944 as per London Gazette dated 17 March 1944 and
AFRO 766/44 dated 6 April 1944.

As pilot and observer (J Gibbons of Vancouver) respectively, these officers have completed a large number of sorties. They have displayed great skill and determination throughout, and their example of keenness and devotion to duty has been most commendable. They have destroyed at least four enemy aircraft.



Toronto, May 1, 1944 — (CP) — F/O J. R. F. Johnson, D.F.C., a member of the City of Edmonton Squadron, said in an interview here last night that airmen overseas "are very worried about the future."
One of several R.C.A.F. personnel to arrive here over the weekend from overseas, he was a pilot of one of two Canadian night fighter planes that downed five German aircraft over enemy territory last January 27. F/O Johnson characterized the battle as a "piece of cake."
He gave great credit to his navigator James Gibbins, of Vancouver, F/O Johnny Caine, D.F.C., of Edmonton and P/O E. W. Boal, who were in the other plane on the operation.
He added flyers overseas "know that a whole lot of us have no specialized skill, nothing to fall back on except flying, and we all can't fly after the war." Because of this, he said, the men are also thinking ahead politically and economically also.
Also returning were W/O T. W. McNeillie, Toronto, who served as a wireless air-gunner in an Australian squadron in Africa, and F/O S. H. Balkwill, D.F.M., Toronto, who was decorated for "skill and courage" in attacking enemy shipping in Africa.


JOHNSON, F/L James Robert Feir, DFC (J14873) - Air Force Cross - No.7 OTU
Award effective 14 June 1945 as per Canada Gazette of that date &
AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945.

No citation in AFRO or biographical file. DHist file 181.009 D.2629 (RG.24 Vol.20628) has citation as provided for an investiture. When recommended he had flown 1,109 hours, 46 of them as instructor (all in previous six months).

Flight Lieutenant Johnson has spent eight months at this unit engaged in the training program. During the time he has spent here, Flight Lieutenant Johnson has proven invaluable in imparting to his pupils his knowledge of operational flying tactics in the gunnery squadron of this Operational Training Unit. His enthusiasm and keenness in his work have been a great factor towards contributing to a high standard of gunnery training which is one of the most important assets in a crew.


Victories Include :

24 Sep 1943
28 Nov 1943
12 dec 1943

27 Jan 1944
one FW190
two Ar196s
1/2 He111
1/2 He111
one Ju34
one Ju88
one Ju86

(shared with Bob Kipp)
(also shared with Kipp)
(2 shared with F/L J. Caine),
(or damaged)

3.5 / 1.5 / 0  &

0 / 0 / 2  On The Water




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