Service number: 72396
Born: January 30th 1916
Died: June 6th 1942
John was the son of Sydney Ralph Pitts Carver and his wife Gertrude Mary Malden, His father was a Member of the Cotton Control Commission during the First World War and was made a C.B.E. in 1919.
John became a boarder at West Downs School, Winchester in 1925 and went on to Winchester College. He matriculated in 1934.
He was up at Christ Church from 1934 until 1937. He was captain of Warrigals & President of Killcanon Club & an athlete. He read chemistry and after going down, worked for ICI in Singapore.
He joined the RAFVR and his promotion to Flying Officer was gazetted on February 16th 1940. He was promoted Flight Lieutenant, a year later.
In January 1942 with the rank of Squadron Leader, he became the Commanding Officer of 118 Squadron operating from RAF Ibsley.
On 13 March the squadron were flying a ROADSTEAD operation against coastal shipping. John Carver was shot down. For his bravery and survival he was awarded the DFC.
SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 10 APRIL, 1942
Acting Squadron Leader John Champion CARVER (72396), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 118 Squadron.
This officer has carried out numerous operational flights of a varied character, including an attack on the German battleships at sea on I2th February 1942.
On 13th March 1942, during a patrol, his aircraft sustained damage from the fire of a Junkers 88 and Squadron Leader Carver was forced to leave the aircraft by parachute. Whilst so doing, he struck his face against the hood and was stunned; thus, when entering the water following his descent, he was still harnessed to his parachute. With some difficulty he disentangled himself from the shrouds and then succeeded in inflating his dinghy and clambering safely aboard. Unperturbed by the hazards which confronted him, Squadron Leader Carver decided to paddle his way to the English coast a distance of some 70 miles. Excepting for unforeseen circumstances, he estimated that the task could be accomplished within 3 days. Although his 2 compasses had been rendered unserviceable through immersion, Squadron Leader Carver checked his course and position in daylight by the sun and at night by the stars. In this way he maintained his correct course and estimated rate of travel. During the journey, he adopted a strict rationing of his supplies and quenched his thirst by drinking, at regular intervals, small quantities of rain water whichcollected in the apron of his dinghy.
At about 0130 hours on the 16th March, Squadron Leader Carver had reached a point 7 miles from the English coast where, after being afloat for 57 hours in wintry conditions, he was rescued by one of His Majesty's ships whose attention he had attracted by blowing his whistle. Throughout, this officer's conduct and actions, in a situation which demanded a high degree of fortitude, courage and determination, were worthy of the highest traditions of the Service.
On June 6th 1942, whilst flying a RAMROD mission, over Cap de Levy near Cherbourg, he was engaged by two FW190’s and was shot down.
He is commemorated on Panel 65 of the Runnymede Memorial and on the War Memorial of West Downs School.
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