John joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1940,
qualifying as a pilot in February 1941.
In 1942 he earned his commission and was promoted to flight lieutenant.
He was awarded the Distiguished Flying Cross in October 1942 after completing 47 missions,
the bar was added to the award in January 1943.
Guy Gibson selected John to be his deputy for the dambusters raid on the
The official record of events reports:
MOHNE DAM. 1 Mine,
Was seen to be hit by flak in the run- up and to have engine
on fire. He overshot with his mine, which struck the
parapet, and then flew on for a few minutes before crashing
in flames. It is believed that he may have climbed sufficiently
for some members of his crew to escape by parachute.