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Old 9th Nov 2019, 15:26
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Correze
Posts: 11
Fly Lt Johnny Smythe

Of course he’s really cool cos he was a Nav!

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity
· October is - to celebrate diversity in the Armed Forces, today we're sharing the story of Flight Lieutenant ’Johnny’ Smythe OBE.

Johnny was born in 1915, in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa. In 1939, he volunteered for the Royal Air Force as a navigator, fighting in WWII. He completed 27 missions over Germany and Italy. On the night of 18 November 1943, he was the navigator aboard a heavy bomber of No 623 Squadron dispatched to attack the German city of Mannheim. The aircraft was crippled, and the crew was forced to parachute. Johnny was captured and spent the next 18 months in a prisoner of war camp in northern Germany until it was liberated. Whilst he served on the escape committee at Stalag Luft I, he accepted: "I don’t think a six-foot-five black man would’ve got very far in Pomerania, somehow."

In 1951, Johnny became a practicing barrister. Having been a Queen’s counsel for several years, in 1961, he was appointed Solicitor General of the newly independent nation of the Republic of Sierra Leone. In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Johnny died in Thame, Oxfordshire on 9 July 1996, and is buried in St. Mary’s Church Cemetery.

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