Johnnie Mundy obituary

Publié le par The Guradian - Nick Mundy

The Guardianpublished 22/03/2012 at 14:03 GMT by Nick Mundy

My father, Johnnie Mundy, who has died aged 94, was one of the last surviving wartime holders of the Distinguished Flying Medal. He served as a pilot with 172 Squadron RAF Coastal Command between 1942 and 1944, flying Vickers Wellington aircraft equipped with the Leigh Light, a powerful searchlight housed under the fuselage of the aircraft.

Johnnie Mundy
Aircraft would patrol for up to eight hours at a time at night and at very low altitudes over the Bay of Biscay, looking for German U-boats. Once they were located by radar, an attack would be made at an altitude of 50 to 100ft and the U-boat would be lit up by the Leigh Light, thus blinding its crew. A stick of up to five depth charges would then straddle the U-boat with the aim of sinking it. This was exceedingly hazardous and the losses suffered by the squadron were considerable.

Born in Southampton, Johnnie joined the Hampshire Constabulary in 1936, but managed to engineer his dismissal so that he could join the RAF in 1939. He trained in Pensacola, Florida, where he was awarded his wings. After a short spell as second pilot ferrying Catalina flying boats across the Atlantic, he returned to England, where he was posted to 172 Squadron at Chivenor, north Devon.

His crew, who remained with him during his service with the squadron, worked together well and it was during one patrol, in February 1944, that a kill was recorded against a U-boat for which, as a sergeant pilot, he was awarded the DFM. Having completed his tour of duty and received his commission, he was posted to RAF Boscombe Down to work on the development of the Vickers Warwick – a welcome relief after the stress and danger of operational flying.

In late 1944, he was posted to 222 Group in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he married Mary Hayward, a WAAF sergeant, in 1946. He left the RAF in 1947 and, after a spell in Australia, worked for Bell's Asbestos and Engineering, based in Slough, Berkshire, from 1955 until his retirement. This took him back to the world of aircraft and he was much involved in the development of the static test rig that was constructed for the Concorde programme.

Mary died in 2005. Johnnie is survived by me, his two grandsons and four great-grandchildren.

Publié dans Avis de décès

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