Wellington bomber Boris Johnson Grandfather Chivenor
RAF

Anniversary Of WWII Air Crash Involving Boris Johnson’s Grandfather Marked

Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor commemorated the 75th anniversary of the crash.

Wellington bomber Boris Johnson Grandfather Chivenor

The service was to commemorate a Wellington bomber crash at Chivenor on August 17 1944 (Picture: RAF).

A memorial service has commemorated the crash of a Wellington bomber that was piloted by the grandfather of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Held at Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor, it marked the 75th anniversary of the crash of a Wellington bomber that resulted in the loss of two airmen and several other aircrew serving at the base.

Flight Lieutenant Wilfred ‘Jonny’ Johnson was awarded the DFC for his efforts to avoid further loss of life.

Speaking at the service, Stanley Johnson, father of the Prime Minister and Flt Lt Johnson’s son, said: "Boris regrets not being able to attend today.

"The accident was my first childhood memory on the eve of my fourth birthday.

"My mother woke me up to see the conflagration little knowing that my father was the pilot of the aircraft."

Stanley Johnson Wellington bomber Boris Johnson Grandfather Chivenor
Stanley Johnson performed a reading at the memorial service (Picture: RAF)

The Wellington Mk XIV crashed when returning from an aborted anti-submarine patrol over the Western Approaches.

The navigator Warrant Officer GV Butchart RCAF and Air Gunner Flight Sergeant GA Wilson died but Flt Lt Johnson and three others survived the crash a 23.20 on 17 August 1944.

The service was attended by and the families and descendants of the crews of aircraft that crashed at Chivenor during the war.

Wellington bomber Boris Johnson Grandfather Chivenor
Wing Commander Graem Corfield MBE laid a wreath on behalf of the RAF (Picture: RAF).

Jonny elected to overshoot in order to ditch the depth charges and discharge some fuel.

Despite doing so over Saunton Sands the aircraft continued to sink and they had to turn port to avoid the high ground to the north of the airfield.

This further added to their difficulties.

With the port engine shut down, Jonny could not bank too much without stalling the aircraft.

The result was not being able to line up with the runway so he elected to land on some open ground on the approach.

Sadly, they hit a telegraph pole and crashed.

Stanley Johnson said: "Today we acknowledge the extraordinary contribution all the aircrew of Coastal Command made to the Battle of the Atlantic and the sacrifices they made."