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eMedals-A Second War Canadian Memorial Cross for No.200 Squadron RAF 1943

Item: C2412

A Second War Canadian Memorial Cross for No.200 Squadron RAF 1943

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A Second War Canadian Memorial Cross for No.200 Squadron RAF 1943

George VI GVIR (F.O. P.H.W. JOHNSTON J11986). Naming is officially engraved, "J" in "JOHNSTON" is a double strike. Very crisp detail, nice patina, dirt in the recessed areas from polishing, without ribbon, extremely fine. In its hardshelled case of issue with its original government condolence insert. Accompanied by an RCAF sweetheart pin (sterling silver, 11 mm x 27 mm); Silver Birks Memorial Bar (engraved F/O P.H.W.JOHNSTON R.C.A.F. DIED IN HIS COUNTRY'S SERVICE 27 AUG. 1943) embedded in an official purple folder with government letter; two photographs of Johnstonin uniform; and a CD containing thirty-three pages with copies of his Winnipeg Light Infantry and Royal Canadian Air Force Attestation Papers, Service Records, Winnipeg Light Infantry Certificate of Discharge, Report on Personnel General Reconnaissance School, RCAF Flying Training Records, Unit Paymaster's Examination Certificate, Report on Flying Accident of Forced Landing Not Attributable to Enemy Action, RCAF Casulty Notification, RCAF Certificate of Presumption of Death (with embossed stamp), Province of Manitoba Official Registration of Death, Will, Department of National Defence Estates Branch Document, St. John Ambulance Brigade and Department of Education Recommendation Letters (1941), plus letters and correspondence. Footnote: Percy Hallowes WrayJohnston was born on October 24, 1911 in Rossburn, Manitoba, the son of Henry William Wray Johnston and Flora (nee Hamilton of Dublin, Ireland) Johnston. His education consisted of public school in Rossburn and Shoal Lake, high school in Shoal Lake, with an acknowledged Grade XI in Junior Matriculation (1930), followed up by a Bank Associate's Course at Queen's University. In civilian life, he was a Bank Clerk with The Royal Bank of Canada, beginning on August 1, 1929 and a member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Johnston signed his Attestation Paper with the Winnipeg Light Infantry on June 24, 1940 at Winnipeg, stating that he had two weeks previous military service with the Manitoba Dragoons in July 1928. While with the WLI, he married Hilda Mary Winnifred Ellis at Shoal Lake on August 3, 1940. Johnston also saw advancement in rank, as he was appointed to Acting Lance-Corporal on September 19, 1940, then promoted to Acting Corporal on October 1, 1940 and concluding with Corporal in early 1941. He was stuck off strength on enlistment with the RCAF on April 3, 1941. He signed his RCAF Attestation Paper on April 7, 1941 at  #2 Manning Depot, Brandon, Manitoba, stating that he had previous military service with the Winnipeg Light Infantry, that he was married and that his occupation was that of Bank Clerk. His RCAF training involved many locations between April 7, 1941 and January 4, 1942, including Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage-la-Prairie and Dauphin in Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, Charlottetown, PEI, Halifax, Nova Scotia, in order to place him in the RAF Trainee Pool. His Report on Personnel General Reconnaissance School stated that Johnston was "A steady navigator, who with further experience should make a useful member of a squadron."Johnston was recognized for his hard work, earning his Pilot's Flying Badge on June 5, 1942. In England, he was taken on strength at No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on January 13, 1943 at Shrewsbury, then was struck on strength and placed with No. 1 (C) Operational Training Unit on April 6, 1943 and was now a Flight Officer/Pilot. Johnstonmet with misfortune on May 12, 1943, at 0229 hours, when a training accident occurred at RAF Thornbury, Yorkshire. While on Coastal Command, during a night navigation training exercise, the Hudson Mark V, which had a total of 657 hours and 50 minutes flight time crashed with Pilot Officer P.H.W. Johnston, Observer R.H. Stanwell, Warrant Officer/Air Gunner Sergeant F. Walsh and Warrant Officer/Air Gunner Sergeant Heighington aboard. Fortunately, for all four men, they escaped with minor cuts and bruises and shock. The Report on Flying Accident of Forced Landing Not Attributable to Enemy Action stated that the "inspection of the aircraft failed to reveal any technical fault or failure to which the accident can be attributed.", concluding that the "accident (was) due to faulty cockpit drill." He soon found himself with No. 2 Personnel Despatch Centre on June 8, 1943 and was stuck off strength ten days later, in order to join No. 200 Squadron on June 18, 1943. His squadron was called to duty in July and arrived in Port Etienne, West Africa (modern day Nouadhibou, Mauritania). Johnston was declared Killed in Action on August 27, 1943. at the age of 31, when his Hudson Mark V aircraft went missing. A letter from W.H. Ingle, Wing Commander, RAF, No. 200 Squadron RAF West Africa Forces dated September 15, 1943, stated that Johnston "took off before dawn to carry out an operational flight over the sea. He was to have flown a fairly-short distance and then made a rendez-vous with other units, but failed to arrive. As the aerodrome from which he took off was in the desert, it did seem possible that he might have made a forced landing on the coast. However, a search over desert and sea by many aircraft failed, and no trace whatever has been found of the aircraft of its crew." The Post Presumption Memorandum 4995, dated May 13, 1947 stated that the four members of his flight were "Lost At Sea. Nothing has been heard of these four members since they were reported on 27.8.43. It is assumed they lost their lives st sea. Case Closed". In addition to J.11986 Flight Officer P.H.W. Johnston, also lost were 132149 Flight Officer R.H. Stanwell (who was with Johnston in the flight accident on the previous May 12th), along with NZ.413733 Flight Sergeant F.N. Bowler and R.108301 Sergeant D. Ross. The Province of Manitoba Official Registration of Death stated that he was "Previously reported missing after air operations, now for official purposes, presumed dead." on August 27, 1943. Johnston has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Malta War Memorial. The memorial commemorates almost 2,300 airmen who lost their lives during the Second World War while serving with the Commonwealth Air Forces flying from bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, West Africa, Yugoslavia and Gibraltar, and who have no known grave. It is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column. It stands just outside the main entrance to Valletta. Johnston's Will left everything to his wife, Hilda, who was raising their daughter, Faith Marilyn Johnston, born on March 15, 1943. In September 1944, Memorial Crosses were delivered to his wife, Mrs. P.H.W. (Hilda) Johnston and to his mother, Mrs. H.W.W. (Flora) Johnston, both of Shoal Lake
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