David W T Johnson


This page is dedicated in honour of David Walter Thomas Johnson

David Walter Thomas Johnson

Does anybody know anything more about W/O David W T Johnson DFC 625 Squadron A/g?

1013070 W/O David Walter Thomas Johnson DFC, was born in the second quarter of 1913 in Newport, Monmouthshire the son of Walter Thomas Johnson and Mary Maud Johnson (nee Davies).

Johnson’s service number suggests that he joined-up soon after the outbreak of war, registering at the Padgate recruiting centre near Warrington, Lancashire.

Was W/O Johnson embarking on his second tour of operations when he joined the Ives crew? or had he re-mustered as an air gunner from ground-crew duties?  Given that the ‘rest’ period between operational tours would have been in the region of six to twelve months, it is possible that a previous tour could have been completed at any time from early 1942 onwards.

It is not apparent from Jim’s log-book entries when David Johnson joined the Ives crew.  It seems most likely that they picked up W/O Johnson at CU rather than OTU as Geoff Yates had little recollection of him.

Johnson gave evidence at F/Sgt Allan’s Court Martial hearing just before the crew was split-up.


That W/O Johnson was called as a witness suggests some seniority within the crew – by virtue of rank and age.  In his evidence to the Court Johnson confirmed that the crew had arrived complete from CU on 15th October.  It is not clear from Jim’s log-book entries when W/O Johnson first flew with them and Geoff Yates had no clear recollection of Johnson.

The Court Martial notes suggest that F/Sgt Allan’s absence called into question the solidarity of F/Sgt Ives’s crew and Jim’s leadership.  David Johnson supported both captain and crew.  The use of past tense, however, suggests that it was already apparent that the crew was to be split-up.  


Following the split-up of the Ives crew W/O Johnson flew as a ‘spare-bod’ with various other crews including that of P/O Etchells on 23rd/24th December and with Sgt Blackmore’s  (accompanied by W/Co Preston) on 5th January 1944, until, it seems, he eventually took up a more regular berth in the rear turret of P/O Roy Gallop’s aircraft.

W/O Johnson died, along with the rest of the Gallop crew, on the night of 30th/31st January 1944 when Lancaster JB122 was shot down on its run-in to the target area.

Post presumption memorandum No.1128/48 relating to Lancaster JB122 records that the aircraft crashed at Linum, to the north-west of Berlin, about 40km NE of Doberitz, on the run-in to the target area.  Pilot Officer Gallop and his crew were buried at Linum Civilian Cemetery, in collective graves 15-20.  Their remains were exhumed and reinterred in the Berlin Heerstrasse War Cemetery.  It appears that both air-gunners Canadian Alec Normandin and David Johnson were re-buried in plot V, row H, graves 15 and 16 respectively.  The other five members of the crew are collectively buried in Plot V, Row H, graves 17-21.  The memorandum was dated 8th March 1948, case closed.

The Squadron Commander of 625 Squadron, Wing Commander Preston, in writing to the next of kin of his missing aircrews, described the Gallop crew as ‘one of our happiest crews….and one for which a great future had already been mapped out with the Squadron’.  The letter confirmed that JB122 took-off at around 16.52 hours and had been expected to return at about midnight.


The award of the  DFC to W/O Johnson was gazetted after the end of the war (21st December 1945) but was effective from 29th January 1944.  625 Squadron’s ORB affords no details of any one action which gave rise to the promulgation of the award, the London Gazette entry details no citation.  It is assumed that the retrospective award was in acknowledgement of actions in combat and his length of active service.  W/O David W T Johnson DFC was 30 years old when he died.

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