After V.E. Day, and the rest of the crew had been posted out, Johnny stayed on with 75(NZ) Squadron as part of the Tiger Force training effort, intended to be a fully-Kiwi unit to join in the bombing offensive against Japan, armed with the new Avro Lincoln bomber.
He stayed with 75(NZ) Squadron until 17 July, which was the date the squadron moved to RAF Spilby, but he was posted instead to 105 OTU (Operational Training Unit) at RAF Bramcote for Instructor duties. 105 OTU trained pilots and crews for Transport Command and flew Douglas Dakotas.
In the meantime, Japan surrendered and Tiger Force never eventuated.
Jack and Betty were married 26 September 1945 in Kidderminster, England.
Jim Hooper was Best Man at the wedding, and Doug Williamson also attended.
Sailed to New Zealand – date & vessel?
After the war, Johnny (better known by his family as Jack) lived in Auckland and kept in touch with Gerry. Gerry’s son Phil remembers visiting him with his Dad.
Top photo: Jack (as his family knows him) in later life.
– Debbie Van Beurden.
During the 80s, he joined the small group of veteran volunteers who worked on the restoration of the Lancaster bomber held in Auckland’s Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Display at MoTaT:
John Henry Thomas “Jack” or “Johnny” Wood DFC passed away on the 21st of August 1998, Auckland, NZ.
Ake ake kia kaha
In 2017 Johnny’s granddaughter, living in the UK at the time, made a nostalgic visit to Mepal and Ely. She visited the pub that the aircrew, including Jack (Johnny), used to frequent and said there were photos on the wall of the crew. She was delighted to pick out her grandfather and to show her children. They also stood where the airfield used to be and viewed the various memorials to 75(NZ) Squadron.