Warrant Officer J. T. F. Johnson, 424188, RAAF, Navigator / Bombardier - RTA (4 sorties)
Awards and Decorations
- 1939-1945 Star
- France and Germany Star
- War medal 1939-1945
- Australia Service Medal 1939-1945
- Returned from Active Service Badge
Squadron and Movements
466 Squadron RAAF (United Kingdom)
Warrant Officer James Thomas Fredrick Johnson 424188 RAAF enlisted in the RAAF in 1942 at the age of 26, initially trained as a navigator in May 1943 and given the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was subsequently reassigned as a bombardier/bomb aimer with Warrant Officer rank before attachment to 466 Squadron, RAAF which was based in England. Johnson participated in the last operation sorties that 466 Squadron performed during the war on 24th April 1945.
Warrent Officer Johnson was a bombardier who flew in Halifax bomber aircraft (his aircraft designation number was Q. Therefore, the aircraft became known as Q for Queenie) and was part of the Allied bomber offensive over Europe in the closing days the the Second World War. Although Johnson only accumulated 20:20 hours operational flight time and completed 4 sorties, one of these sorties was to bomb the Blohm and Voss submarine pens (U-Boat pens) at Hamburg in 1945. One of the more heavily defended targets at that time of the war.
Of interest is that Johnson initially trained and mustered as a navigator on Wellington bomber aircraft before transferring to Halifax aircraft. Johnson's spent 375.20 hours in flight training for only 20 hours operational flying. The training time for pilots and specialist flight crew was exceptionally lengthy in comparison to their expected life expectancy.
Operational Sorties that Johnson Participated when attached to 466 Squadron
25 March 1945 -
04 April 1945 - Harburg (Renania oil refineries)
08 April 1945 - Hamburg (Blohm & Voss U-Boat pens)
24 April 1945 - Wangerrooge (Coastal batteries & 466 final operation
Q For Queenie Crew Names and Assigments (musters)
Captain: Pilot Officer H. B. Minchin
Navigator: Flight Sergeant R. H. Jamieson
Bombardier: Warrant Officer J. T. Johnson
Air Gunner: Sergeant N. W. Wheeler
Middle/Upper Gunner: Sergeant R. Woods
Wireless Operator: Welfare (rank and initials?)
Flight Engineer: Goodburn (rank and initials?)
466 Squadron Linneage
466 Squadron was unusual in that it was a RAAF Squadron formed in 1942 as part of 4 Group Bomber Command (RAF). The squadron was based at Driffield and Leconfield airfield, England and was comprised entirely of RAF personnel. A policy was implemented in October 1942 to replace all non-Australian personnel with Australian personnel. Initially, the Squadron had 14 complete air crews with aircraft captains from Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Malaya, however, by 1943 over half the Squadron’s air crews and all aircraft captains were Australian. Aircraft flown were Wellington III and X class bombers which in 1943 were replaced with Halifax III bomber aircraft.
A Personal Touch - e-mails from relatives
I was contacted by e-mail from the son of the Middle/Upper Gunner from this aircraft Sergeant N. W. Wheeler - he happened to stumble upon this website. I have copied a section of his e-mail below for general interest.
From the flying log book my Dad had it was not the only aircraft they flew in, but it was the last and most frequent.
RIGHT: Official RAF photograph of Q for Queenies crew. Warrant Officer Johnson is bottom left. Note that Minchin and Johnson were Australians and Woods and other crew members were British (with thanks to Rob Wood - son of Sergeant Woods, back row second from left).
The story to the book is quite curious also. We lived in a very small village in Surrey, close to the Hampshire / Sussex border. There is a newspaper shop and they started to sell some books, sale or return basis, Dad walked in one day and picked up the book to browse and when he turned to the section on the Halifax bomber - there was Queenie. Also more interestingly, it was the Woods family pet name for my Grandmother, after Queen Beatrice - Beatrice being her Christian name - I doubt Dad had any influence on naming their plane, but perhaps it made him feel a little more comfortable when flying.
Aircraft were designated with a single letter. The single letter is the aircraft identification letter, and the crews generally named the aircraft after that letter Q for Queenie, S for Sugar, T for Tom, etc.
As I said at the time of Dad's death (07/08/03) the Aussie pilot Brian Minchin, and the British Navigator Ron? Jamieson were both still alive.
Another lovely story my father told me is when Brian Minchin 'found' Dad again in the early 1990's. Brian had been to England several times since war and more frequently after retiring from a job in Banking I think, mostly for holidays, but he had also searched for his crew - one, Welfare, had been killed in an air crash after the war, Johnson had died, Wheeler and Goodburn, no trace. The postmaster from my fathers home village directed Brian to our then current home village. Brian asked at the paper shop and they directed him to our house, a short walk from the village centre. Dad was walking to collect papers and post letters, they passed each other in the street and stopped and turned to each other and almost simultaneously said 'Don't I know you'. After almost 50 years they were able to meet up again - guess you would never forget the face of someone you had trusted with your life - even after that time.
I received another e-mail in 2008 from a former employee of Johnson. The e-mail was written by a man who was given employment by Johnson in the 1960's. The writer stated that Johnson was an absolute gentleman in every sense.
LEFT: A scan of one of Johnson's navigation and bomb run charts. Note the pencil inscriptions indicating when to select and arm the bombs.