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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. J R C Young


John Reginald Cass Young was born on 19th July 1915. He was accepted as a cadet by Dartmouth Naval College, entering there in April 1929, however he almost immediately became ill with peritonitis and had to leave. He was unable to return to school at Christs College, Blackheath until late September 1930.

In late 1931 Young passed entry for HMS Worcester at Greenhithe. After a two-year course he was passed for direct-entry into the Navy, only 7 of the 13 candidates being accepted. Young went to sea with Canadian Pacific in the RNR ship SS Beaverford.

He finished his sea-time in July 1936 and went to Canada, to work for Canadian Pacific. He learned to fly with the company but the Government stopped it from taking up commercial flying.

He returned to the UK in 1937 and began flying training as an RAFO pupil pilot on 31st May at 11 E&RFTS Perth. He was commissioned in Class 'A' of the RAFO on 9th August. He then went to 8 FTS Montrose on 21st August 1937, finishing up at 10 Squadron Dishforth on Whitleys, for 2nd pilot navigation training.


Above image courtesy of and copyright the David Ross Collection.


Young applied to Cambridge University in 1938 and began a Mechanical Science Tripos at St. Catherines College. He partly financed his studies by working as an assistant instructor at the Blackburn Flying School at Brough in holidays and he obtained his 'B' Licence there.

Young was recalled to the Active List on 1st June 1939, to complete an instructors course at CFS Upavon. He qualified on 13th July and was posted as Flying Instructor and Adjutant to 41 Squadron at Catterick.

In October Young was posted to 603 Squadron at Turnhouse to carry out the same duties. He was detached from 603 to 609 Squadron at Drem from 4th November to 12th December 1939.

He joined 249 Squadron at Church Fenton at its reformation on 16th May 1940. He made a forced-landing at Wellburn Hall, Yorkshire on 20th July, following engine failure due to misunderstanding the petrol system in Hurricane P3154, he was unhurt.

Young joined 306 Squadron at its formation at Church Fenton on 28th August 1940 as an instructor. He joined 312 Squadron at Speke on 3rd October, again to instruct. He was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on 9th October. A further move came on 14th October when he joined 308 Squadron at Baginton, again to instruct.

In March 1941 Young went to 317 Squadron at Acklington to instruct. On 2nd April 1941 he damaged a Ju88. Later in April he joined 406 Squadron, forming at Acklington. It was his final spell of assisting newly-formed squadrons to make a good start.

On 7th June 1941 Young formed 13 Group AAC Unit and he became its CO when it was redesignated 289 Squadron at Kirknewton on 20th November 1941.He also became Station Commander at RAF Kirknewton.

He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1942).

On 25th March 1942 Young joined 141 Squadron at Acklington, later joining 96 Squadron at Wrexham, remaining with it until November when he was posted to HQ Fighter Command to teach flight operations to fighter squadron flight commanders. In June 1943 he went to 29 Squadron at Bradwell Bay for Mosquito training and then joined 264 Squadron at Fairwood Common.

At the end of 1943 Young was posted overseas and joined 108 Squadron in Egypt. In March 1944 he was given temporary command of 153 Squadron in Algeria.

On 15th July 1944 Young became CO of 108 Squadron and was appointed by Keith Park as OC Mediterranean Night-Fighting Force. He received a Mention in Despatches (15th July 1944).

The MNFF was formed to contain the Germans in the Aegean Islands by restricting their incoming supplies.

After the Germans withdrew from Greece, 108 Squadron moved to Xraxos in October 1944, where it later became involved in the ELAS rebellion. After this was put down by British forces Young left 108 in February 1945 and returned to the UK.

In April 1945 he returned to his Reserve status as a Wing Commander. He joined BOAC, eventually became Senior Operating Captain and retired on 24th November 1970.

He served as archivist of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

Young died on 20th February 2007 in Bedford.



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