Lt John Wedgwood Taylor


1941 – 1950

John Taylor underwent his initial flying training in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in 1941 flying the Avro Tutor, Tiger Moth and Harvard, completing his training ranked as an average pilot. He was posted to the North African theatre in 1942 where he initially flew Hurricanes and then Spitfires for 7 Squadron SAAF. He flew tank busting, fighter interception, convoy attack and patrol missions flying the Hurricane and whilst flying the Spitfire he was credited with shooting down one ME109 fighter and sharing in the destruction of a JU88 fighter/bomber and an ME109 fighter before being shot down over the island of Kos in the final, epic dog fight battling against impossible odds. Having parachuted into the sea, he was rescued by a fishing boat and a few days later escaped from Kos in a rowing boat across the sea to Turkey and then overland back to North Africa. On completing his operational tour in 1943 he was rated as an above average pilot. He was posted back to South Africa and began his training as a Flying Instructor in 1944. He was considered unsuitable as a flying instructor and was posted to 24 Squadron as a transport pilot, flying Oxfords and Anson’s and then the DC3 from 1945. He was seconded to the RAF in 1947, flying DC3’s for 46 Squadron. He was one of sixteen seconded SAAF pilots that took part in the massive Berlin Airlift in1948 flying cargo into the city besieged by the Russians in the DC3. Rated as an above average pilot, he completed his secondment flying transport missions with the RAF’s 24 Squadron. Back in South Africa he was posted to 12 Squadron flying Anson’s on anti-malaria spraying operations and the de Havilland “Devon” or Dove short haul airliner. He left the SAAF in 1950 with a total of 3048 hours flying time.

Aircraft Types Flown

Avro Tutor

Tiger Moth


Hurricane I

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Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk II (first 364) or III engines and armed with eight .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns. a de Havilland or Rotol constant speed metal propeller (from mid 1940), metal-covered wings, armour

  • Maximum speed: 340 mph (550 km/h, 300 kn) at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) [N 12]
  • Range: 600 mi (970 km, 520 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,780 ft/min (14.1 m/s)

Hurrican II B Trop

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For use in North Africa the Hawker Hurricane Mk IIB (and other variants) were tropicalised. They were fitted with Vokes and Rolls-Royce engine dust filters and the pilots were issued with a desert survival kit, including a bottle of water behind the cockpit. 4 additional wing-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns; for a total of 12 guns

Hurricane II C Trop

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Tropicalised Hurricane IIC. Machine-gun armament replaced with four 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk II cannons, two per side. a hardpoint for a 500 or 250 lb (230 or 110 kg) bomb andfuel tanks. By 1942 performance was inferior to the latest German fighters, and the Hurricane changed to the ground-attack role, sometimes referred to as the Hurribomber.

Hurricane II D “Flying Can Opener”

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“Flying Can Openers – Anti-Tank
Armed with two 40 mm (1.57 in) anti-tank autocannon in a gondola-style pod, one under each wing and a single Browning machine gun in each wing loaded with tracers for aiming purposes.

Supermarine Spitfire Vc

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Spitfire Mk Vc SAAF, Egypt 1942 Engine: 1 x Rolls Royce Merlin 46 V-12 engine Engine power: 1,415 hp at 3,000 rpm (1,055 kW) Performance Maximum speed: 374 mph at 13,000 ft Range: 470 miles Ceiling: 37,000 ft Rate of climb: 4,750 ft/min Armament 4 x .303-caliber machine guns 2 x 20mm cannon

Cant 506 (Italian)




de Havilland “Devon”

Enemy Aircraft Types Shot Down

(Flying the Supermarine Spitfire Vc)

JU 88

ME 109

ME 109 (shared)