Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
John Charles Ashley
b: 28 Dec 1906 r: 12 Apr 1954 d: 10 Aug 1966
Off: 11 Dec
1926, Fg Off: 11 Jun 1928,
Flt Lt: 1 Dec 1932, Sqn Ldr: 1
Aug 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jun 1940,
(T) Gp Capt: 1 Jun 1942, Wg
Cdr (WS): 1 Dec 1942, Wg Cdr: 1 Dec 1943, Gp
Capt: 1 Jul 1947, Act A/Cdre: 29 Jan 1952, A/Cdre:
12 Apr 1954.
xx xxx 1925: Flight Cadet, 'B' Sqn, RAF College.
to a Permanent Commission.
Pilot, No 13 Sqn.
Pilot, No 5 Sqn.
Supernumerary, RAF Depot.
Supernumerary - Language Training, HQ Iraq Command.
Air Liaison Officer, Sulaimaniya.
Supernumerary, RAF Depot.
xx May 1936 RAF Biggin Hill, (AA Coop – Target-tow flight)
Air Staff, HQ No 11 (Fighter) Group.
AHQ British Forces in Iraq, Intelligence (ALO Sulaimaniya).
Air Staff, AHQ Iraq.
xx Nov 1941 Combined Intelligence Centre, Iraq, HBM Vice-Consul, Isfahan, Persia
1 Aug 1942 MO4, GHQ Cairo, HBM Vice-Consul Hamadan, Persia
3 Jan 1944 ‘S’ FTS Cranwell (Flying Refresher Course and BAT Course)
14 Apr 1944 HQ Transport Command
xx May 1944 HQ No 46 Group (attached Watchfield as CO ‘Anson Detachment’)
xx Aug 1944 Attached Bramcote for Dakota Flying Course
20 Aug 1944 Officer Commanding, RAF St Mawgan
7 Oct 1944 Officer Commanding, RAF Talbenny.
1 Aug 1945 Officer Commanding, RAF Dunkeswell.
6 Nov 1945 Officer Commanding, RAF Tilstock.
20 May 1946 Officer Commanding, 100 Personnel Dispersal Centre, No 28 Group.
30 Sept 1946 Senior Personnel Staff Officer, Polish Resettlement Corps
17 Jun 1948 Seconded to Royal Pakistan Airforce, Station Commander, Mauripur
5 Jul 1949 Officer Commanding, RAF Padgate.
Air Attaché, Moscow.
John C A Johnson was born in Aberdeen and attended Westminster School where he was a cadet in the OTC and excelled in sports, particularly soccer and boxing. In India, he was based in Peshawar and Quetta. It was here that he developed an interest in languages, learning both Urdu and Pushtu, and spent his leave each year on shikar. For the last 18 months of his time on the North West frontier, he was officer in charge of Indian welfare. By the time he arrived in Iraq in 1933, he had already begun studies of Arabic, Kurdish and Persian, and when a vacancy occurred as ALO Sulaimaniya, he accepted it eagerly. He developed a great facility with the Kurdish language, becoming a first class Interpreter. He amassed a wealth of information about the Kurds and Kurdistan, some of which was published in articles in The Geographical Magazine, and he left an extensive collection of photographs of Kurdistan and its people. He compiled one of the first comprehensive Kurdish-English Dictionaries and left unpublished comparative notes on the Indo-European languages of the Middle East. In 1940, he passed the Staff College Entrance Exams, but the course was postponed because of the war. In 1941, during the rebellion of Rashid-Ali, he was taken prisoner of war in Sulaimaniya. He had been transferred to Baghdad in readiness for being flown to Germany when the rebellion was overthrown and he was released. Following his retirement from the RAF in 1954, he emigrated to New Zealand where he spent the remainder of his life on the Coromandel Peninsula. He was an active member of the Mercury Bay Aero Club of which he was president.
Much of this information has been provided by A/Cdre Johnson's daughter.
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