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Ratcliff, John Hart

Date of birth:
May 9th, 1913 (Canterbury/Kent, Great Britain)
Service number:
563921 (NCO)/52041 (Officer)
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


John Ratclff joined the RAF on 2nd November 1935 for pilot training. Following upon receiving his wings he was posted to No.57 Bomber Squadron. Now war was imminient - after serving in the Middle East - he was posted back to the UK where he was posted to No. 107 Squadron. He took part in the first bombings of the RAF of the war on the Aerodrome of Stavanger and during the invasion of France and the Low Countries he bombed the bridges at Maastricht.
In June 1940 he was posted to No.17 Operational Training Unit at instruct further Blenheim crews in operational flying and after a spell at th Flight and Training School at South Cerney was posted to Rhodesia for more instructing duties. After two years and four months instructing students, Ratcliff was posted back and arrived in the UK on 23rd November 1942.
On 9th May, 1943, after various conversion courses, he was posted to No.103 Squadron as a pilot and took part in bombing missions such as on the Ruhr and Berlin.
After his second tour of operational flying he was detailed with instructing duties and remained in non-operational flying activities until the end of the war. He remained in the RAF until 1953 and began civil flying and kept doing so until the mid 1970's.

? Warrant Officer
26 May, 1943: Pilot Officer on Probation (emergency)
26 November, 1943: Flying Officer (war sub)
1 April, 1945: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
1 January, 1947 Extended service as Flying Officer and transferred to the Aircraft
Control Branch
30 January, 1947: Flight Lieutenant
15 April, 1948: Flight Lieutenant (permanent)

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Pilot Officer
No. 103 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
September 14th, 1943
"Pilot Officer Ratcliff joined 103 Squadron on the 8th May 1943 for his second tour, and has now completed 14 Operational sorters with this Squadron (the recommendation being made on 20th July 1943) comprising 85.12 flying hours. He has shown great devotion to duty, and courage and determination of a very high order. His enthusiasm and cheerful confidence have set a very high standard of morale in his crew, and by his outstanding skill as a pilot and his coolness in action he has proved himself to be a very fine Captain of aircraft."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)