Flt Lt John Chadwell - Lancaster bomber pilot at end of WWII

It was thanks to Roger Guernon, a French researcher into 514 Squadron (see: http://www.514squadron.co.uk/); https://www.facebook.com/514SquadronRaf/; that I go to know that my father's brother, John Allan Chadwell, was a pilot F/L for Lancaster bombers flying 30 missions in 1945; all we had known was that my late uncle had trained (in Canada) as an RAF navigator. He did not mention his war service at all (as was the case for many servicemen). My late mother, Pamela Chadwell (nee Channon) had a passion for all things historical incl. genealogy. Both she and my late father, Antony (Tony) Chadwell would have been so disappointed to discover that John had not shared this with them. However, in those days, lots of matters were never talked out and for a long time, bomber pilots and crews (who were brave and at risk of being shot down during every mission) were not given any recognition, due to controversial bombing targets. According to John's rear-gunner's log book, all targets were legitimate and towards the end, they included food drops in Holland and return of POWs. Fittingly, some of the return flights to the squadron's HQ, stopped off at RAF Dunsfold, where my father worked (at the time Harrier Jump Jets were constructed there) in the 1960s - since then, Dunsfold has been used for 'Top Gear' (a Hangar for the indoor filming with an audience; plus outdoor laps by the stig and celebrities).

To this day, more credit and attention goes to Spitfire pilots than those of Hurricanes. I live near to what was Langley Airfield (during WWII, Heathrow was a small, insignificant grassy field), which became a Hawker-Siddeley factory. During the war, Hawker Hurricanes, which probably contributed as much overall, as Spitfires, were built there.

John Allan CHADWELL born 1920, as a baby © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell, aged 4, photographed by Victoria of Great Britain & Ireland, 1924 © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell with his younger brother 'Tony', my father in 1932 or 1933 © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell at the Chadwell Brothers' business premises, High Street, Iver © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell, aged 19, working London North-Eastern Railway, after having to leave school early after his father's premature death in difficult circumstances (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/lt-leonard-chadwell-mc-chris-chadwell-s-grandfather---an-englishman-to-be-proud-of) © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell on a London street © Chris Chadwell

John & Betty August 1940

John & Betty married Hatfield, Hertfordshire, 1941or 1942 © Chris Chadwell

John & Betty outside church at Hatfield in 1941 or 1942 (left to right: my father 'Tony' Chadwell, John's mother Florence, Phil Ash, Margaret Allan, John's grandmother, Betty's parents (Edwards) and sister © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell, Paignton, Devon, 1941 © Chris Chadwell

Birthday telegram sent by John Chadwell to his mother in Watford, Hertfordshire, August 1941 from Moose Jaw, Saskatechewan, Canada (where he was training to be a navigator - we have only discovered in 2017 that he progressed to being a pilot) © Chris Chadwell

Rear of Telegram sent by John Chadwell in 1941 © Chris Chadwell

John Chadwell (pipe, as always) with his mother Florence, presumably in Iver, Buckinghamshire © Chris Chadwell

John & Betty at their Ruby wedding anniversary in 1982, Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire - I only ever met them on a few occasions; they never once visited my parents various homes; admittedly, John did not drive (he would have had a rail pass and after piloting Lancasters, a car would be tame) but we were not close as a family; they had no children. © Chris Chadwell