RAF News

Veteran Squadron Leader John McGrory MBE celebrates 100th Birthday

Squadron Leader John McGrory with friends and family and flag.

Last week veteran, Squadron Leader John McGrory MBE celebrated his 100th Birthday.

In 1942 John was called up for the RAF, after basic training and flying aptitude tests, he was selected in the summer of 1943 for Flying training in Canada where he was subsequently awarded his wings and promoted to Sergeant.

John then undertook pilot training on heavy bombers and was posted in 1945 to 625 Squadron at RAF Scampton flying Lancasters on operations in the closing weeks of the war and Operation MANNA dropping food to the starving Dutch.  At this time he was promoted rapidly to Flight Lieutenant.

Lancaster aircraft.

At the end of the war John volunteered for Transport Command and joined 46 Squadron flying the DC3 to Europe and the Middle East.

John was demobbed in 1947 and returned to civilian life at his old engineering company. 

Black and white image of Squadron Leader John McGrory with personnel and aircraft.

Following the outbreak of the Korean War, John was recalled to the RAF in 1952 and trained as a Flying Instructor, initially with the Harvard and Provost, followed by Meteor and Vampire courses.  From 1955 to 58 John was with 8 FTS at RAF Swinderby as a Qualified Flying Instructor and Flight Commander on the De Havilland Vampire. 

Black and white portrait of Squadron Leader John McGrory, next to later image..

In the 1960’s he was flying Chipmunks with Bristol and then subsequently Birmingham, University Air Squadrons.  In 1966 John was promoted to Squadron Leader and awarded the MBE which was presented to him by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. 

Chipmunk aircraft.

After Birmingham University Air Squadron John was posted to Cambridge as Officer Commanding number 5 Air Experience Flight.  This was followed in the 1970’s with 2 tours on the Harrier OCU at RAF Wittering.

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