The Airmen's Stories - P/O J Sinclair
John Sinclair was born on 13th November 1919 in London to George Sinclair and Edith (nee Hay). The Sinclair family were down from their home town of Dundee as George Sinclair, a jute mill manager, was on secondment from his firm in Dundee.
John Sinclair's grandfather was a founder of the Dundee Courier Newspaper, later DC Thompson.
After leaving school John Sinclair worked as a journalist at the newspaper. While there he joined the RAFVR in February 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.
He commenced training at 11 EFTS Perth. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 5 FTS Sealand on No. 45 Course, which ran from 11th December 1939 to 9th May 1940. Sinclair was commissioned and arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 22nd June.
After converting to Blenheims Sinclair joined 219 Squadron at Catterick on 7th July.
Sinclair was aloft in Blenheim L8724 on the night of 19th October 1940 with Sgt. C. Browne as crewman. They bacame lost after an electrical failure. Sinclair instructed Browne to bail out but was then able to make a forced landing at RAF Staverton in Gloucestershire. The runway was unlit and he crashed the Blenheim after landing.
Browne came down safely in Berkshire.
His subsequent service is best illustrated by his logbook entries:
11 EFTS Perth 18/2/39 - 26/8/39
5 FTS Sealand - 12/12/39 - 9/5/40
Blenheim conversion Aston Down - 25/5/40 - 5/6/40
219 Squadron - 12/6/40 - 5/7/41
1452 Turbinlite flight - 10/7/41 - 23/2/42
No 1 FIS Upavon - 3/3/42 - 18/4/42
No 2 (P) Brize Norton (QFI) - 27/4/42 - 14/5/42
No 1 HGCU (QFI) - 3/9/42 - 19/4/43
No 1523 B.A.T. Flight (OC) - 22/5/43 - 23/9/44
8 OTU (PR) 29/9/44 - 24/11/44
540 (PR) SQN - 4/12/44 - 26/10/45
10 MU (TESTING) - /11/45 - 30/11/45
HQCC Comms flight (OC) - 28/1/46 - 1/7/46
248 SQN Thorney Island - 15/7/46 - 31/10/46
A.S.W.D.U - 3/12/46 - 28/3/46
Left the RAF March 1947
Rejoined RAF September 1948
237 OTU - 2/9/48 - 18/11/48
540 (PR) SQN - 27/1/49 - 28/4/49
C.F.S 25/6/49 - 17/1/50
228 OCU Leeming 7/2/51 - 20/12/50
4 FTS 28/3/51 - 30/3/53
2 FTS 7/4/53 - 30/3/54
JAR as CO 1/6/54 - 1/4/57
6 FTS 22/4/57 - 20/9/60
Sinclair had married Mabel Arundel Baker on 10th September 1949 in Dublin. Not being able to afford a civilian suit, he wore full military RAF dress uniform after this had been cleared with the local police. His fiancee was a citizen of Tipperary in the Irish Republic and had travelled on the last cross-border train in 1940 to Belfast, where she enlisted in the WRAF. They met postwar at RAF Benson.
They went on to have a son, Brian, born in June 1950 and a daughter, Gail, born in October 1952.
Sinclair stayed in the RAF postwar, retiring on 4th August 1961 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He had accumulated 3,550.30 flying hours.
He then joined Aer Lingus as a pilot and had flown an additional 9,455 hours before retiring on 11th May 1979.
He flew an additional 182 hours with a HS125 operator.
Sinclair died on 5th September 2001.
Majority of research courtesy of Brian Sinclair (son).