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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J T Davison

 

John Tregonwell Davison was born at Ashburton, South Island on 7th January 1914. He applied for a short service commission in the RNZAF in March 1939 and was accepted in July. The outbreak of war intervened and he did not report to the Ground Training School at Weraroa until 17th October.


In late November Davison moved to No. 1 EFTS Taieri and on to No. 1 FTS Wigram on 16th January 1940. He passed out as a Sergeant-Pilot and was then commissioned soon afterwards.


Davison left for the UK in the Mataroa on 24th May, arriving on 10th July.

 

 

He was posted to No. 1 (C) OTU at Silloth, Cumberland on 27th July and was detached from there to RAF Prestwick for No. 2 Blenheim Course. After converting to Blenheims he returned to Silloth on 17th August and was posted to 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton the next day.

On 23rd November Davison was captain of a Blenheim which took part in a bombing attack on two heavily-armed enemy merchant vessels. During the action he was wounded in the foot and the thigh.
He regained his base but damage to the aircraft's hydraulic system necessitated that he make a crash-landing. Unbeknown to Davison, a bomb remained on the rack and this exploded on impact, severely wounding the Wop/AG, Sgt. ATR Aslett, and setting fire to the aircraft.


Davison and his observer, Sgt. Brazier, jumped clear but on realising that Aslett was still in the blazing aircraft, they went back, regardless of their own safety and dragged him out. They were both badly burned.

Brazier was awarded the BEM and Davison the GM (gazetted 13th March 1941).


On 5th May 1941 Davison was posted away to form the Nottingham University Air Squadron at Newton, as Flying Instructor and Adjutant.


He was appointed Chief Instructor to the Cambridge University Air Squadron at Duxford on 1st January 1942.


Davison was posted to the Empire CFS Hullavington in February 1943 for a CGI course. On completing it in June, he went to Uxbridge to await an overseas posting.


He was picked for a CGI post in Rhodesia but the RNZAF requested that he return to New Zealand.


On 4th September 1943 Davison became CGI at the ITW at Rotorua, moving to a similar appointment at RNZAF Delta on 17th July 1944. He was posted to Melbourne for an RAAF War Staff Course on 1st October 1944 and on his return Davison was made Deputy Director of Personnel Services on 10th February 1945 at the Air Department, Wellington.


He was recalled to the UK for special duties in November 1945 and on the 20th he became CGI at the Empire CFS.

Davison was made an OBE (gazetted 1st January 1948), returned with his family to New Zealand in late 1948 and retired from the RNZAF on 24th June 1951 as a Wing Commander.


He died at Matamata on 9th October 1981.


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