On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Stephens, John William

Date of death:
April 21st, 1952
Service number:
40028
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Prior to the war John Stepens was posted to No. 10 Flying Training School (31.5.1938), No. 822 Squadron (Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance Squadron 24.8.1938). Early March he was posted to No.107 Squadron which was equipped with Blenheims and he flew the first bombbing mission of WW2 on Wilhelmshaven on 4.9.1939.
On 23.6.1940 he was shot down in Blenheim IV N3593 near Amsterdam (Riekerpolder) while the other two crew members were killed. Stephens was wounded and taken prisoner and was brought to the "Wilhelmina Hospital" at Amsterdam where he was saved by means of a blood transfusion whilst the blood was donated by a German soldier. For further recovery he was moved to the French P.O.W. Hospital in Berlin for a further three month period after which he was subsequently imprisoned in:
Stalag Luft I on 23.3.1941
Stalag Luft III (Sagan), April 1942
Oflag XXIB (Schubin, Poland), October 1942
Stalag Luft III (Sagan), April 1943
Stalag Luft III (Marlag), 4.2.1945
On the march in North Germany, 4.4.1945-2.5.1945.

During his imprisonment in Sagan, Stephens was a code letter writer for 'X' Organisation and sent messages from the camp to I.S.9., he also made twelve attempts to escape by tunnelling, all of which were unsuccessful.

Stephens returned to service after the war but was tragically killed in a crash whilst piloting Buckmaster RP209. Squadron Leader J.W. Stephens is buried in the European Cemetery, Aden.

Promotions:
9 August, 1937: Acting Pilot Officer on Probation
31 May, 1938: Pilot Officer
31 December, 1939: Flying Officer
31 December, 1940: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
1 April, 1946: Temporary Squadron Leader
7 January,1947: Flight Lieutenenant (permanent)
1 August, 1947: Squadron Leader

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flying Officer
Unit:
No. 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
February 20th, 1940
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Flight Lieutenant
Unit:
No. 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 22nd, 1940
Recommendation:
"On 2 June 1940 Flying Officer Stephens was leader of a aircraft ordered to attack an enemy battery on the French coast, which had been harassing our naval forces engaged in the evacuation of Dunkirk.

He showed great courage and determination in pressing home his attack at a very low altitude in the face of intense A.A. fire, which enabled the section to bomb the target with conspicuous success.

Flying Officer Stephens was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 20th February, 1940, for the good work he had carried out during the first five months of the war, and since that time he has continued to carry out valuable operational flying. He has displayed great determination and initiative on all occasions."

Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Squadron Leader
Awarded on:
January 31st, 1947
Citation (general):
"For services whilst a prisoner of war."
Mentioned in Dispatches
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

With 'ATLANTIC' clasp.
Air Crew Europe Star

Sources

Photo

Themes