How to start reading this blog?

How to start reading this blog?

The best way is by contacting me by writing a comment then I will be guiding you along.

This was shared my Flight Lieutenant Michell Johnston’s son. He also had this one.

One day Flight Lieutenant Michell Johnston’s story will be told as well as all the other pilots appearing on this photo.

It’s just part of preserving the past for future generations about a generation said to have been the greatest generation.



21 August 1942 – Pilot Officer Michell “Mitch” Johnston!

Now we know! His son has identified his father. This is how he has named this photo…

403 Squadron — Dad middle row — last on right

I already had the same photo. It was shared by Robert Brookes’ son. You can see his father’s collection of photos here.

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Doug Banks colorised that photo for us.


Most of the names are there now. Four are still missing.

New version

I am glad I have made contact with Flight Lieutenant Michell Johnston. He survived the war.

Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston

Greg… Are you still reading the blog?

I got an e-mail this morning from WordPress that I had a comment on “our” blog. I want to share it with you.

It was about a post I wrote about a Spitfire pilot…

21 August 1942 – Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston?

Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston

There is a comment left in the comment section by Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston’s son to which I have replied. I wrote him  about how you and I met the first and only time around a dinner table in 2011.

Do you remember what I had told you on how this blog would evolve?

21 August 1942 – Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston?


Comment by Steve Nickerson

Hi Pierre. Wondering if you were able to identify the last four pilots in the August 1942 403 at Catterick photo. I believe the pilot behind F/O Olmsted and next to Marshall in the second row is Mitch Johnston.

That pilot has a bar on his sleeve which means it would be plausible since he was a Sergeant on August 11 1942…

From the squadron’s ORBs

Tuesday, 11 July, 1942

Weather 6/10ths cloud with the wind at 10 to 15 mph from the NW. At 1200 hours, a scramble was done by Blue Section, P/O Gardiner and F/O Wiejski, over the base and returning in 20 minutes without contact being made. General flying was done by ‘A’ Flight – aerobatics, cine gun, tail chase and formation. Good news for the Squadron, for today commissions were granted to six NCO pilots: F/S G.D. Aitken, F/S H.S. Anderson, Sgt H.J. Murphy, F/S C.R. Olmsted, Sgt M. Johnston and Sgt Monchier, all effective 20 June, 1942. This action will strengthen the Squadron immeasurably and prove a real factor in building up morale. Word was received that the AOC of the Group has recommended that court-martial action be taken against P/O J.E. Gardiner after a review of the Summary of Evidence.

And then a Pilot Officer on August 16…

Sunday, 16 August, 1942

The Squadron took off at 0845 hours for Manston, landing at North Weald owing to bad weather and arriving at Manston at 1400 hours. The second ground party left by train, owing to bad weather at Catterick. The weather was fine at Manston but two a/c overshot on landing (AA736 and AA979). P/O H.S. Anderson broke a shoulder blade and was taken to hospital while P/O M. Johnston was uninjured.


Original photo

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Colorised by Doug Banks

New version

Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston

Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston?