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Full Name: Arthur Grahame Johns
Rank Last Held: Flight Sergeant (Pilot)
Forename(s): Arthur Grahame
Surname: Johns
Also Known As: Bill Johns
War: World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.: NZ41907
Date of Birth: 2 March 1922
Place of Birth: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Religion: Church of England
Occupation before Enlistment: Insurance Clerk
Next of Kin: Arthur I. Johns (father), New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: 43 Bassett Road, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand
Physical Description:
  • Weight: 139 pounds
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Enlistment Date: 9 February 1941
Age on Enlistment: 18
Body on Embarkation: Royal New Zealand Air Force
Embarkation Date: 14 August 1941
Place of Embarkation: Auckland, New Zealand
Vessel: Awatea
Destination: Liverpool, England, via Canada (29 September 1941)
Other Units: Attached RAF
Military Training: Initial training at Levin, 2EFTS Bell Block, NP, 3FTS Ohakea, RAF OTU Steeple Morden
Campaigns: Europe
Military Awards:
  • 1939-1945 Star
  • Air Crew Europe Star
  • Defence Medal
  • War Medal 1939-1945
  • New Zealand War Service Medal
Award Circumstances: Europe
Last Unit Served: Royal New Zealand Air Force, 75 (NZ) Squadron, RAF
Place of Death: Europe
Date of Death: 29 July 1942
Age at Death: 20
Year of Death: 1942
Cause of Death: Killed on air operations
Cemetery Name: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Grave Reference: 15 E
Biographical Notes:
  • The eldest son of Arthur and Eileen Mariane Johns (nee Mathias) of Auckland. One younger brother Bruce A. Johns. He had uneventful school days, keen on most things, sports etc. Educated at Wanganui Collegiate School 1935/39. Prefect, Cadet Sergeant, Captain 2nd XV.
  • His first operation was the first 1000 bomber raid on Cologne, May 30 1942 as co-pilot.( Bomber Command sent more than 1000 bombers to raid Cologne. The raid was a considerable military and propaganda success. 45,000 people were made homeless in Cologne). After five operations he became aircraft captain. Last operation was his 17th, to Hamburg 28.29 July 1942. The aircraft, Wellington Z1570 AA-B, was shot down on return leg to UK. His total flying time was 321 hours.
  • His first operation was the first 1,000 bomber raid on Colgne on May 30 1942 as a co-pilot. After five operations he became an Aircraft Captain. His last operation was his 17th, to Hamburg on 28/29 July 1942 when his plane was shot down.
  • Mr Bruce Johns, his brother writes: "I visited the crash site in 1999 (a vegetable garden alongside a farmhouse), the village of Haftenkamp and met an eldery farmer who in 1942 was a boy of 15. At daylight he and others went to the site having heard the crash at about 2.30am. The aircraft apparently exploded in mid-air, probably from incendiary shells igniting partially empty fuel tanks. Debris was scattered - an engine, a wing, two bodies in the field, another in trees and pilot and front gunner in the wreckage. Those present were quickly chased away by soldiers who arrived soon after. German and English researchers have discovered that this aircraft was shot down by one Hauptmann August Geiger, born 1920. By September 1943 he had become one of Germany's notable air aces, being credited with 54 British aircraft. On the 29th of that month he was shot down by a British Mosquito Night Fighter - he parachuted safely but was drowned in the Zuider See."
Description of Image:
  • Portrait (kindly provided by family)
  • Group, WW2, Airmen formal photo of No. 3 Flying Training School (FTS), 3 May 1941 to 30 July 1941
  • Wooden cross, engl Flieger
  • Row wooden crosses
  • Headstone, Reichswald Forest Cemetery, 1998 Adriaan de Winter and Ton van Alphen
  • Bouquet, Headstone, Reichswald Forest Cemetery
  • Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, shelter and seats near the entrance
  • Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, view of graves and a shelter
  • Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, view of graves and the shelter near the entrance in the background
Additional Information: In 1998 Adriaan de Winter and Ton van Alphen undertook a project in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery photographing all the headstones of New Zealanders buried there.
Sources Used:
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission. URL: http://www.cwgc.org
  • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch: Volplane Press.
Previous Military Experience: 5 years as a School Cadet with the rank of Sergeant
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