J w c simpson 43/245 sqn

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by skyhawk, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    Does anyone have any information on squadron leader John w c Simpson. I know he served with 43 Sqn and then was given his first command of 245 Sqn flying hurricanes from RAF Aldergrove. I have read Hector Bolitho's book on him and obtained his combat reports during the Belfast blitz and after ( shooting down 3 enemy a/c whilst flying out of Aldergrove and earning a bar to his DFC) I heard he commited suicide whilst still in RAF service in 1949- is this true? The squadron moved to Ballyhalbert for a short time and later changed aircraft to typhoons although Simpsons time ends with 245 whilst at Aldergrove due to sickness. Any info. photos etc.... would be greatly appreciated as i have come to a dead end on the matter.
    Regards Robert.
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Found this from a website.

    19th July 1940F/Lt J W C Simpsonpilot Wounded[​IMG]
    RAFHurricane IP314043 SqnPatrolShot down by Me 109 of JG27, 1715

    Earlier raids
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    John Miller Andrews
    Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. HMSO image

    There had been a number of small bombings, probably by planes that missed their targets over the Clyde or the cities of the north-west of England.
    On March 24, 1941, John McDermott, Minister for Security, wrote to the Prime Minister, John Andrews expressing his concerns that Belfast was so poorly protected. "Up to now we have escaped attack. So had Clydeside until recently. Clydeside got its blitz during the period of the last moon. There [is] ground for thinking that the ... enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. The period of the next moon from say the 7th to the 16th of April may well bring our turn." Unfortunately, McDermott was proved right.
    The first deliberate raid took place on the night of April 7. (Some authors count this as the second raid of four). It targeted the docks. Neighbouring residential areas were also hit. Six Heinkel He 111 bombers, from Kampfgruppe 26, flying at 7,000 feet, dropped incendiaries, high explosive and parachute-bombs. By British blitz experience, casualties were light. Thirteen lost their lives, including a soldier killed when an anti-aircraft battery, at the Balmoral show-grounds, misfired. The most significant loss was a 4½ acre factory floor for manufacturing the fuselages of Short Stirling bombers. The Royal Air Force announced that Squadron Leader J. W.C. Simpson shot down one of the Heinkels over Downpatrick.
    The Luftwaffe crews returned to their base in Northern France and reported that Belfast's defences were, "inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient".

    Belfast Blitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    43 squadron pilots at Wick, Caithness during the Battle of Britain from Left to Right -
    J Arbuthnot, R Plenderleith, HJL Hallowes* , JWC Simpson, PW Townsend* & Upton

    Derck Upton

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    I have it that S/L. Simpson DFC* was commanding officer of No,245 Squadron from 16 December 1940 to June 1941.

  4. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    Thanks Tom.

    yes april 7th raid was a testing of defences by the luftwaffe, mainly targeting belfast docks aera and aircraft manufacturing. 13 dead. 81 injured. 23 seriously. The easter tuesday raid on 15/16 april attracted the main luftwaffe force. Belfast its primary target. Amongst the first wave was aircraft from Kampfgruppe 100 elite pathfinder squadron. German air ministry records show 180 aircraft were active over Northern Ireland. Defences were slightly better although still not acceptable. HMS Furious was in Belfasts docks and aided with here a/a guns. A luftwaffe pilot on the raid later described
    " we were in exceptional good humour knowing we were going for a new target, one of Englands last hidden places. Wherever Churchill is hiding his war material we will go. Belfast is a worthy target".
    674 bombs fell at an average rate of 2 per minute over 5 hrs.
    Many several hundred were killed in this raid.
    I believe Simpson got his second kill over Northern Ireland on this night.

    The next raid was known as the fire raid. 4/5 may a final attempt to destroy shipping and aircraft building- 204 aircraft from france headed towards Northern Ireland again led by Kampfgruppe 100 using incendiaries and fire bombs. 95.992 dropped with 237 tons of high explosive nin less than 3 1/2 hrs. this raid had heavy casualties and carried front page headlines in volkischer beobachter the nazi party newspaper.

    I shall look up simpsons 3rd kill also flying from Aldergrove and post later.
  5. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    1st kill- 8/4/41
    2 enemy a/c encountered- HE-111
    01:39 hrs
    10 miles west Downpatrick south of Belfast
    casualties - 1 HE-11

    2nd kill - 5/5/41
    enemy a/c encountered - 3
    type ju-88
    01:18 hrs
    8 miles east of Dromore head
    casualties - 1 ju-88

    its interesting to note these were Simpsons first night time kills and he goes into detail the differences between day and night fighting and how although flying at night was wonderfull it was also quite a frightening experience to a day time fighter pilot.

    3rd kill was during the daytime
    enemy a/c encountered 1 DO-17
    17:23 HRS
    15 miles nw Stranraer
    0 feet
    casualties - 1 DO-17
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    43 Squadron, Tangmere.

    Hurricane P3140. Shot down off Selsey Bill during combat with Bf109's of III/JG27. Believed that claimed by Oblt. Adolph. Crashed in Channel off Felpham 515pm. Flight Lieutenant J.W.C. Simpson baled out with bullet in ankle and suffered broken collar bone in heavy landing at West Worthing. Admitted into Worthing Hospital. Aircraft lost.


    Messerschmitt Bf109E. Damaged by Flt Lt Simpson of No. 43 Sqn in combat off Selsey Bill. 510pm. Returned to base. Lt Graf Von Kageneck wounded. Aircraft repairable.
  7. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    The man himself. Squadron Leader J w c Simpson taken at RAF Aldergrove in his hurricane.

    Attached Files:

    • i.jpg
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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    Heinekel He 111H-2. Shot down by Flying Officers J.D. Edmonds and J.W.C. Simpson in Hurricanes of No. 43 Squadron. Crashed into Druridge Bay near Amble, Northumberland 930 am. Bodies of Lt. L. von Bruning, Fw. H. Panzlaff and Uffz. W. Remishke recovered from the sea and buried at Chevington. Fw. H. Petersen missing. Aircraft 1H+HL sank in the sea.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    Heinekel He 111 (3175). Believed that shot down by Squadron Leader J.W.C. Simpson DFC in a Hurricane of No. 245 Squadron. Crashed into Irish Sea. Lt. H. Forster, Uffz. G. Guthschmidt, Oberfw. H. Niemeyer and Gefr. W. Gopfarth all missing. Aircraft V4+GL lost.
  10. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    Thanks Drew , Peter,smudger. j W C Simpson was a tripple ace and a awesome pilot.
    i am pretty sure he did commit suicide in 1949 in Londons hyde park by shooting himself, maybe due to ill health or because of the effects suffered during ww2.
    there is very little info available post 245 squadron or even of his time with them. I have all the 245 sqn orbs and his autobiography. What a brave man he was and such a sad ending to a hero's life.
    Any further info welcome.
    Many thanks Robert
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Have you trawled the Newspaper archives. I'm sure there would be a story in at least one of the spread sheets if he shot himself in Hyde Park.

  12. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    sorry Drew not sure how to go about this couuld u maybe please help about this .
    regards robert .
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The only one I've used is the London Gazette (You may find a citation for his DFC) but I know you can do The Times but I think you have to pay for the information.

  14. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

    DFC Citation London Gazette 25/06/1940

    Flight Lieutenant John William Charles
    SIMPSON (37642).
    In June 1940, 'Flight Lieutenant Simpson
    led a section of aircraft in a squadron patrol
    over Northern France. During an engagement
    with a superior enemy force he
    succeeded in destroying three enemy aircraft.
    This officer has led his flight on every patrol,
    showing not only courage and skill in fighting,
    but also an excellent example by his
    confident and offensive spirit. He has personally
    accounted for seven enemy aircraft.
    Gazette Website: PDF Navigator

    He was awarded a Bar to the above DFC 30/05/1941

    Acting Squadron Leader John William Charles
    SIMPSON, D.F.C. (37642), No. 245 Squadron.
    This officer has displayed great skill and
    initiative both as a squadron commander and
    an individual fighter. He has destroyed 12
    enemy aircraft, of which two have been shot
    down at night.
    Gazette Website: PDF Navigator


  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Messerschmitt Bf109E-3 (1541). Shot down in combat with No.43 Squadron Hurricanes and crashed at Douvrend, near Envermeu, south-east of Dieppe. 6.35pm. Possibly one of those claimed by Flt. Lt. Simpson. Uffz. R. Iberle killed. Aircraft 13+ -a write-off.

    Messerschmitt Bf109E-3. Shot down by Flt. Lt. Simpson of No.43 Squadron and abandoned by over Dieppe 6.35pm. Uffz. W. Philipp baled out wounded. Aircraft a write-off.
  16. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

    Thanks Nicks and Drew.

    Also 245 squadron pilots under Simpsons command whilst at Aldergrove were involved with the rudolph hess flight into Britain: Found the following-

    Two of those pilots believed that they were pulled off a certain 'kill' to allow Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, to land in Scotland on his famous, but still unexplained, flight to Britain. The log books of Sgt. Vaclav 'Felix' Bauman and Spt Leopold 'Polda' Srom record a flight in the early evening of May 10, 1941, when they were scrambled in a pair of Hurricanes to attack a German plane over southern Scotland. As they closed on a Messerschmitt Bf110, Fighter Command inexplicably called them off.

    Yet outside the pilots' log books, there exists no official record of their mission. Years later Bauman and Srom told Jiri Rajlich, a military archivist, how they were seconds away from killing Hess five years before his conviction as a war criminal at Nuremberg and 46 years before his lonely death as the last Allied prisoner in Berlin. Jiri Rajlich's book Fighter Pilot, published in Prague, tells how the pair were scrambled from 245 Squadron at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, to intercept a German plane.

    The Czech pilots said they were closing in on the Messerschmitt when they were unexpectedly ordered to break off their attack. Bauman recounted his reply: "This is perhaps not possible." The base radioed: "Felix, return, I repeat, Stop action and return. Confirm." Bauman answered: "He is just in shooting range..."

    "Sorry Felix, old boy. It is not possible. You must return. Now." Bauman: "I don't bloody know. Then why did we chase him?" Felix Bauman's questionhas not yet been answered. His Squadron Leader J W C Simpson, DFC and bar, demanded an explanation from Fighter Command that would satisfy the two angry Czechs. When they touched down, Bauman remembered Sqd Ldr Simpson telling him: I rang Group and I requested an explanation of that... ehm, unusual procedure. I was told that during your pursuit you crossed the border of our sector. You were therefore recalled. Our neighbours should have taken over but when the German suddenly changed his altitude, they lost him."

    According to Rajlich's book: "After dark, a liaison Avro Anson landed with several strange RAF officers on board. The sergeants were separately subjected to intensive interrogation. The officers asked for impossible details and urged both pilots to recall the German plane's markings and whether they saw both a pilot and a gunner."

    Speculation raged for a couple of days until a copy of the Glasgow Daily Record landed in the 245 Squadron mess, carrying the headline "Rudolf Hess in Glasgow - official".

    I have checked 245 squadron orbs and there is no mention of this flight.
  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    That is an extremely interesting and intriguing story. We perhaps do not know half of what has occurred and perhaps we never will.

  18. skyhawk

    skyhawk Senior Member

  19. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    The book looks to be a good reference source.

  20. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

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