Bulletin 020 Fl.Lt. John Stubbs

Bulletin 020 uit januari 1977:
Dhr. Louwers uit Eindhoven

In 1974 ontmoette ik op het stadhuis van Eindhoven, waar ik werkzaam ben, de zuster van Fl.Lt. John Stubbs, D.F.C., die op 2 januari 1945 op het vliegveld Eindhoven verongelukte. Hij was ingedeeld hij het No. 168 Squadron, uitgerust met Typhoons 1b. Dit Squadron was een onderdeel van 143 Wing. Uit een brief van zijn Squadroncommandant blijkt dat hij verongelukte tijdens een testvlucht met een Typhoon 1b. De letterlijke tekst van Sq.Ldr. L.H. Lambert, D.F.C.: “He was taking off to test a Typhoon and got airborne, then something seemed to go wrong and his right wing came down. He hit the ground and was killed instantly. It was all over in a few seconds and I amn sure that John never knew a thing.”

Hieronder de loopbaan van deze vlieger, die verongelukte toen wij hier in het zuiden al bevrijd waren en die het nieuwjaarsoffensief van de Luftwaffe, met aanvallen op de Geallieerde vliegvelden, overleefde. Toch wel triest. Om het verhaal zo origineel mogelijk te houden, is de tekst in het Engels:

F.Lt. John Stubbs, D.F.C., came from Canowindra in New South Wales, Australia. John enlisted through the RAAF Blue Train, recruiting in December 1940, and entered camp at Sandgate in Queensland in August 1941. He later transferred to Archerfield, completing his training as a fighter pilot in Uranquity, NSW, in June 1942, when he gained his “wings” and commission as Pilot-Officer. He left for England on July 27, 1942. In Februari 1943 he joined No. 168 Sq ( 39 Recce Wing ) flying Mustang I’s photographic recconnaissance planes at Odiham base. He wrote at this time that he had achieved his greatest ambition, holding the rank of Flying Officer. In November 1943 he was mentioned in a dispatch, having damaged a railway train and shot up a Junkers 52 within a few minutes during an operation over Northern France. This took place while on reconnaisance orders had been issued not to fight except in self-defence, but occasionally the men engaged in this work were allowed to use their own initiative and destroy enemy vehicles.

On D-Day, in June 1944, John participated in the invasion of Normandy, and later, with three other members of his Squadron, spoke over BBC of their experiences. This took place at their base in Southern England. Shortly after this he was transferred to Northern France to take part in further action, being now promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

 (opmerking: Op blz. 88 van het boek “2nd Tactical Air Force” van Christopher F. Shores is een foto afgebeeld van John Stubbs, samen met andere vliegers van No. 168 Squadron, op een landings-strip in Normandie)

Shortly after, in August 1944 he was awarded the DFC. The citation read as follows:
“Flying Officer Stubbs has completed numerous low-level photographic sorties in very heavily defended areas. He has destroyed seven locomotives and two enemy aircraft. By his complete disregard of danger, together with his outstanding coolness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a magnificent example to the rest of the Squadron.”

Shortly afterwards he was based in Holland, where he, together with 3 other Australians, transferred to a Typhoon Squadron in the Canadian Wing of the RAF Second Tactical Air Force, and they began to take heavy toll of railway targets on the Western front. (No. 168 Sq 143 Wing was transferred to the fighter role at Eindhoven on October 3, 1944 and was disbanded at Eindhoven B.78 on October 26, 1945). It was believed tat the Typhoon carried the code-letters QC.

Sometimes they escorted Typhoon-bombers on important missions. The following paragraphs appeared in the “Sun” newspaper on December 29, 1944:
“Attacking motor transport during the German push, Fl.Lt. J Stubbs flew so low that he collected mud on a wing of his Typhoon. Stubbs was leading his sectors and went down to strafe a truck south-east of Duren. Cannon shells hit the truck and threw up lumps of rock and mud. Stubbs had to fly through the debris to press home his attack. Stubbs plane was hit when, later, he participated in another attack against six tanks. He was under 100 feet from the ground when a shell hit a wing of his plane and another passes about a foot from his head. He had no difficulty in bringing back his plane”.

Fl.Lt. R.M. McKenzie, of Bondi, Fl. Off. W.G. Huddort, of Croydon (Melbourne), led other Typhoons in attacks on German tanks and transport. While Stubbs was attacking the patrol lorry, McKenzie set fire to staff car and aided in an attack against seven tanks.

On Januari 6, 1945, the tragic news was received that Jack had lost his life in Holland on Januari 2, the result of an aircraft accident. Mrs Stubbs, the mother, has learned from Jack’s Squadron-Leader L. Lambert, that a burial service took place at a military cemetery in Eindhoven, Woensel, Holland. This was attended by the members of his Squadron, in which he was a Flight Commander.

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