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Air Vice-Marshal Sir John Severne (57556)


John de Milt                b:   15 Aug 1925                     r:  15 Aug 1980            d: 4 Oct 2015

KCVO - 1988 (LVO 20 Dec 1961), OBE 1 Jan 1968, AFC 1 Mar 1955, DL - 1991, FBIM.

AC2: xx Apr 1944, Plt Off (P): 19 Oct 1945, Plt Off: 19 Apr 1946, Fg Off (WS): 19 Apr 1946, Fg Off: 19 Oct 1946, Flt Lt: 30 Jun 1949, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1956, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1961, Act Gp Capt: 13 Jun 1968, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1968, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1974, Act AVM: 1 Mar 1978, AVM: 1 Jul 1978.

xx Apr 1944:            Recruit training, No 6 Aircrew Reception Centre, Scarborough (AC2 3031730),

xx xxx 1944:            Attended 'Grading' Course, No 4 EFTS, Brough

xx xxx 1944:            Attended Motorcyclists' Course, No 8 SoTT, Weeton.

xx xxx 1944:            Dispatch Rider, HQ No 75 (Signals) Wing.

xx Feb 1945:           Elementary Pilot Training, No 11 EFTS, Scone

xx May 1945:          Advanced Pilot Training, No 1 Course, No 19 SFTS, RAF Cranwell

19 Oct 1945:           Appointed to 4 year Short Service Commission.

xx Oct 1945:            Holding posting, Transport Command Holding Unit.

xx xxx 1946:            Attended Mosquito Conversion Course, Mosquito Night Fighter OTU, RAF East Moor

xx xxx 1946:            Pilot, No 264 Sqn (Mosquito NF Mk 36s - Church Fenton/Linton-on-Ouse/Wittering/Coltishall)                    

xx Jan 1948:            Attended QFI Course, CFS, Little Rissington.

15 May 1948:         Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flying Officer.

xx Jul 1948:             QFI, RAF College.

xx xxx 1950:           Staff Instructor/PA to Commandant, Central Flying School.

xx Jan 1954:           Flight Commander, No 98 Sqn. (Vampire FB5)

xx Jan 1956:            Officer Commanding, No 26 Sqn. (Hunter F4)

 7 Oct 1957:           Personal Staff Officer to Air Member for Personnel

xx xxx 1959:           Equerry to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

xx Jan 1962:            Attended RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1963:           CFI, No 226 OCU. (Lightnings - Middleton ST George/Coltishall)

xx Jan 1965:            Attended Joint Services Staff College.

 3 Jan 1966:            Air Staff - Operations, HQ Air Forces Middle East.

 9 Jan 1968             Directing Staff, Joint Services Staff College.

12 Jun 1968:           Group Captain - Organisation, HQ Strike Command.

xx Jan 1971:           Officer Commanding, RAF Kinloss.

27 Jan 1972:           Appointed ADC to The Queen.

xx Jan 1973:            Attended Royal College of Defence Studies.

 9 Feb 1974:           AOC & Commandant, Central Flying School.

23 Feb 1976:          Air Commodore - Flying Training, HQ RAF Support Command.

 1 Mar 1978:           Commander, Southern Maritime Air Region.

27 Jan 1982:          Captain of the Queen's Flight.

xx xxx 1984:          Extra Equerry to the Queen

Whilst a Staff Instructor at the CFS, he flew Meteors as an aerobatic display pilot.  Whilst he was Equerry to Prince Philip, he flew the Prince's Turbulent (G-APNZ) in the 1959, 1960 and 1961 King's Cup Air Races.  In 1961, he won the race, thereby becoming National Air Racing Champion.

He was the last Commandant of the CFS to have wartime (WW2) experience.  Since 1984 he was an Extra Equerry to HM The Queen.  He was President of a number of associations and organisations connected with the RAF.

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

Flight Lieutenant John de Milt SEVERNE (57556), Royal Air Force.

On the 1st November, 1954, Flight Lieutenant Severne took off in an aircraft for a practice flight at Wunstorf. After this was completed, he flew back to Fassberg carrying out various aerobatics en route. When some ten miles

from Fassberg, at a height of 8,000 feet, he completed a loop, at the top of which he held the aircraft inverted. After five seconds of inverted flight, Flight Lieutenant Severne smelt strong fumes of burning and he saw that the fire warning light was on. He righted the aircraft and took the usual fire precautions. Shortly afterwards, he

jettisoned the tip tanks. A few days earlier on the same Squadron, there had been a similar case and due to the complete destruction of the aircraft, the Court of Inquiry was faced with an almost impossible task to ascertain the origin of the cause of the fire. Flight Lieutenant Severne therefore decided that he would bring his aircraft back to

the airfield to aid investigations. He accordingly informed Fassberg over the R/T of his predicament and of his decision to make a forced landing on the airfield. With complete disregard for his own safety, and well aware of the implications, Flight Lieutenant Severne then made a perfectly judged forced landing on the crash strip on the

airfield. He purposely left the undercarriage retracted so that he could land and leave the cockpit more quickly once he was on the ground.  After landing he personally removed the cowlings with the aid of an axe and found a fire smouldering. He directed the C.O.2 extinguisher on to the fire and prevented the crash crew from smothering

the aircraft in foam. Throughout this hazardous operation, Flight Lieutenant Severne remained calm and collected and displayed an extremely high standard of both airmanship and personal courage.

(London Gazette 1 March 1955)

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