Squadron Leader John ‘Jack’ Leonard Wright DSO, DFC

Lesley Family021

Squadron Leader John ‘Jack’ Leonard Wright, DSO, DFC.
© Leslie Hill

Some time ago, I was contacted by Leslie, daughter of S/L John Leonard Wright, who flew with 75(NZ) Squadron twice, as well with 156 Pathfinder Squadron.

Leslie wishes to try to understand details of her father’s wartime career and this includes the difficult matter of what she believes to be his deteriorating mental state, clearly through the accumulated stress of 3 tours of Ops. The following is an open letter from Leslie to anyone who might know anything about her father and his time during the war;

“During the past year I have been researching my father’s war service and have come up against a brick wall.  Now that I’ve found your lively and interesting blog I’m sure some people will have information that will be of interest to me.  

My father, Squadron Leader John (Jack) Leonard Wright DSO, DFC did his first Tour on 75 Squadron from 29 May to 20 October 1942.  

He and his crew were later on 156 Pathfinder Squadron from 21 May 1943 to mid November 1943.   

After they finished on 156, things get a bit puzzling as the crew was disbanded. His record from Trentham, Wellington, NZ says he was seconded to Liaison duties at Uxbridge, No 31 Base from 1/11/44 (and the same date RAF Staff College – the same place, I presume).

THEN he is back on 75 from 28 November 1944 as ‘A’ Flight Commander, until around the end of March.

There are two things I’d like to shed light on:
1.  I believe my father was in a bit of a bad way by the time he and his crew finished on 156, and I have heard that he may not have been in a fit state to be flying on 75 again (I guess we’d call it Post Traumatic Stress these days) and that some were reluctant to fly with him as pilot.  (I have 12 hours of tapes of one of his original crew members talking in the 1990’s and he mentions Jack’s nervous tics briefly.)

I realise that out of respect for my father, people may be reluctant to say much about my father’s condition, but I really want to know about it, and would appreciate anyone with information being open and frank with me.   I do have the names of some of the people who crewed with him during this second tour on 75, but they may prefer to get in touch with me privately – through Simon.

2.  Later, he is with PWX Liaison Sectn, SCHAEF Rear from 5 April 1945 – I’d like to know what this was, and what were they doing?  I know that my father was in Germany for some months – were they repatriating British POW’s? or what????

I do hope you may be able to point me in the right direction with some of this, or even provide me with some information.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Lesley

 (Lesley Hill (nee Wright))”

Jack’s career with the Squadron is as follows;
1.6.42 Attack Against Targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III X3760
Sgt. Wright 2p with Fraser crew

2.6.42 Attack Against Targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III X3760
Sgt. Wright 2p with Fraser crew

5.6.42 Attack Against Targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III Z1570
Sgt. Wright 2p with Ball crew

6.6.42 Attack Against Targets at Emden
Wellington Mk.III X3538
Sgt. Wright 2p with Leggett crew

8.6.42 Attack Against Targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III X3538
Sgt. Wright 2p with Leggett crew

20.6.42 Attack Against targets at Emden
Wellington Mk.III X3646
Sgt. Leonard John Wright RNZAF NZ405781- Captain
Sgt. Charles Wynne Brunsdon Kelly RNZAF NZ403562 – Navigator
Sgt. Maurice Allington Carter RNZAF NZ391694 – Wireless Operator
Sgt. Raymond Clifford Reynolds RNZAF NZ403030 – Front Gunner
Sgt Bruce Neal RNZAF NZ411771 – Rear Gunner

22.6.42 Attack Against targets at Emden
Wellington ‘F’

29.6.42 Attack against targets at Bremen
Wellington Mk.III X3646

7.7.42.  Attack against targets at Bremen
Wellington Mk.III X3541

8.7.42.  Attack against targets at Wilhemshaven
Wellington Mk.III X3541

13.7.42.  Attack against targets at Duisburg
Wellington Mk.III X3468

21.7.42.  Attack against targets at Duisburg
Wellington Mk.III BJ625
F/Sgt Victor Kenneth Westerman RNZAF NZ41970 as 2nd Pilot – Died Wednesday 29th July 1942, age 24, during a raid on Hamburg. Buried Becklingen War Cemetery Germany.

23.7.42.  Attack against targets at Duisburg
Wellington Mk.III BJ625
Sgt. J.E. Ford replaces Bruce Neal as Rear Gunner

25.7.42.  Attack against targets at Duisburg
Wellington Mk.III BJ625
Bruce Neal returns as Rear Gunner.

26.7.42.  Attack against targets at Hamburg
Wellington Mk.III Z1570

28.7.42.  Attack against targets at Hamburg
Wellington Mk.III BJ625

29.7.42.  Attack against targets at Saarbrucken
Wellington Mk.III X3468

31.7.42.  Attack against targets at Dusseldorf
Wellington Mk.III X3586

4.8.42. Attack against targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III J3586

6.8.42. Attack against targets at Duisburg
Wellington Mk.III J3586

9.8.42. Attack against targets at Osnabruck
Wellington Mk.III X3389

11.8.42. Attack against targets at Mainz
Wellington Mk.III X3389

12.8.42. Attack against targets at Mainz
Wellington Mk.III X3389

24.8.42. Attack against targets at Frankfurt
Wellington Mk.III BJ772

28.8.42. Attack against targets at Nurenburg
Wellington Mk.III BJ772
Sgt Roy William Raharuhi RNZAF NZ412737 as 2nd Pilot

1.9.42. Attack against targets at Saarbrucken
Wellington Mk.III BJ772
F/L Gerald Howard Jacobson RNZAF NZ41333 as 2nd Pilot – Died Thursday 17 December 1942, age 27, during a raid on Fallersleben. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

10.9.42. Attack against targets at Dusseldorf
Wellington Mk.III BJ772

14.9.42. Attack against targets at Wilhelmshaven
Wellington Mk.III BJ772
Sgt Benjamin Allan Franklin RNZAF NZ414277 as 2nd Pilot – Died Wednesday 16th December 1942, age 21, when his aircraft crashed on take-off for a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary – the mine load exploding. Buried Newmarket Cemetery, England.

16.9.42. Attack against targets at Essen
Wellington Mk.III BJ772

18.9.42. Attack against targets at St.Nazaire
Wellington Mk.III BJ772
Sgt George William Rhodes RAFVR 1331658 as 2nd Pilot

19.9.42. Attack against targets at Saarbrucken
Wellington Mk.III BJ772
Sgt George William Rhodes RAFVR 1331658 as 2nd Pilot – Died Tuesday 6th October 1942, age 20, during a raid on Osnabruck. Buried Hardenberg Protestant Cemetery Netherlands.

24.9.42. Operations – Gardening off Texel
Wellington Mk.III BJ772

26.9.42. Operations – Gardening in Baltic
Wellington Mk.III BJ772

P/O Wright J.L. NZ405781 G.D Posted to No.30 O.T.U w.e.f. 20.10.42 authority 3 Group postagram 3G/6601/7A/P4

Lesley Family027

I suspect Jack and his crew at 156 PFF Squadron May – November 1943.
Standing, L to R: Nick Carter, Jack Wright, Podge Reynolds, Charlie Kelly
Front, L to R: Alf Drew, Ken Cranshaw, Wally Hamond
© Leslie Hill

By the 21st May 1943 John and it would appear Charles Kelly, Maurice ‘Nick’ Carter and Ray ‘Podge’ Reynolds have joined 156 Squadron PFF. He will stay with the Squadron until mid November of that year.

John returns to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF at the end of November 1944 as ‘A’ Flight Commander.

5.12.44. Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yard
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J
F/L John Leonard Wright RNZAF NZ405781- Pilot
F/L C. Williams RAFVR – Navigator
P/O Maurice Edward Parker DFC, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber
P/O William Lachlan Wilson DFC, RNZAF NZ41117 – Wireless Operator
P/O John Henry Morgan DFC RAF 1131866/ 157630 – Flight Engineer
W/O T.R. Kemp RAFVR 1412409 – Mid Upper Gunner
P/O Roy deWilmot Tully DFC, RAFVR 175537 – Rear Gunner

11.12.45. Attack Against Osterfeld
Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A

27.12.44. Attack Against Rheydt
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J

29.12.44 Attack Against Koblenz
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J

1.1.45 Attack Against Vohwinkle
Lancaster MK.III PB427 AA-U

2.1.45. Attack against Nurenburg
Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-P

22.1.45. Attack Against Duisburg
Lancaster Mk.I HK573 AA-H
F/O Wallace Bassett Martin as 2nd Pilot.
F/Sgt Eric Thomas Coulson replaces F/L Williams as Navigator

1.2.45. Attack Against Munchen-Gladbach
Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F
F/O Percival McDowell Johnstone replaces Eric Coulson as Navigator

3.2.45 Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.III ME751 AA-M

2.3.45. Atack Against Cologne (Aborted)
Lancater Mk.III LM544 AA-D?

6.3.45. Attack Against  Salzbergen
Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F
W/O Roderick Adrian Powell replaces Roy Tully as Rear Gunner.

7/8.3.45. Attack against Dessau
Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A
F/O Robin James Hamilton as 2nd Pilot
W/O Robert John Torbitt replaces Adrian Powell as Rear Gunner.

12.3.45. Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D
Roy Tully returns as Rear Gunner.

21.3.45. Attack Against Munster Viaduct
Lancaster Mk.I RF190 AA-F
Bob Torbitt replaces Roy Tully as Rear Gunner.

This brings Jacks Op’s with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF to a total of 47 – with a tour with 156 PFF to be added to this figure.

I hope that someone is able to help Leslie regarding in formation on her Father. If you have information about Jack, but would prefer not to publicly post it then please contact me directly at  info@75nzsquadron.com and I will pass it on to Leslie.

Additionally, if you come across this post based on a search for 156 PFF Squadron and you are able to help, we would love to have Jack’s Op history and possibly crew from that Squadron.

3 thoughts on “Squadron Leader John ‘Jack’ Leonard Wright DSO, DFC

  1. Maree

    I have with me the daily Diary of Flying Officer – Bruce Neal and he mentions Jack Wright and Emden
    They were lucky to get back after being fired on by a JU 88

    Please contact me for further information
    Maree. Matamata NZ

    novellasnews@gmail.com

    Like

    Reply

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