The Airmen's Stories - P/O P J T Stephenson
Patrick Joseph Thomas Stephenson was born in Dublin on 25th August 1918. From 1924 to 1934 he was educated privately at schools in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
He was supposed to enter Oxford University in 1934 but his father considered that 16 was too young and felt that he would gain greater benefit from business experience.
From December 1934 he worked at Lloyds of London, eventually becoming a cover underwriter for French Automobile Insurance.
Stephenson joined the RAFVR in September 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up at the outbreak of war and completed his flying training at 3 FTS South Cerney on No. 32 Course, which ran from 31st January to 15th June 1940.
Stephenson joined 607 Squadron at Usworth on 18th June, direct from 3 FTS.
On 15th September he collided with a Do17 over Appledore. He baled out, slightly wounded by return fire. The enemy aircraft crashed and exploded at Combwell Wood, Kilndown near Goudhurst.
On 18th December 1940 he was posted to 96 Squadron, then forming at Cranage, but he rejoined 607 later in the month.
In June 1941 he was instructing at 53 OTU Heston. Later in 1941 he was back with 607 Squadron, as a Flight Commander, and on 5th December he destroyed a Me109 off Le Havre.
Stephenson commanded 607 Squadron in India and Burma from April 1943 to March 1944 and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 10th September 1943).
He probably destroyed a Japanese 'Oscar' on 15th January 1944 and on the 20th he was wounded in combat with Japanese aircraft.
He subsequently served on the personal staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Kandy, Ceylon.
At the end of 1944 Stephenson was appointed Wing Commander Flying at RAF Fayid, Egypt and given the job of converting pilots for service in the Far Fast.
From 1945 to 1949 he was Assistant Air Attache in Paris and Deputy Head of the Air Mission. Stephenson was made a Companion of the Legion d'Honneur and held the C de G (Fr).
He resigned from the RAF on 31st July 1955 as a Squadron Leader, emigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in 1960.
Stephenson died on 20th May 2003 at Riding Mill, Northumberland.