Johnny Wood

Flight Sergeant (later Flying Officer) John Henry Thomas (Johnny) Wood DFC, RNZAF, NZ426235, Pilot.

Born 19 September 1921.

John Henry Thomas (Johnny) Wood came from Maropiu near Dargaville, a small rural area about 120 miles north of Auckland, New Zealand.

He sat and passed his Air Force preliminary examinations by correspondence in late 1941, receiving his results around New Year 1942.

After Initial Training at Rotorua in early 1942, he was posted to 1 Elementary Flying Training School (1 EFTS), RNZAF Taieri, Dunedin, flying DH82 de Havilland Tiger Moths.

1 EFTS, Taieri, 1942. L-R: Unknown, Peter Young, Johnny Wood.
– Debbie Van Beurden.
1 EFTS class, Taieri, 1942. Johnny Wood 3rd from left, middle row. Peter Young 3rd from right, front row.
– Debbie Van Beurden.

He then went on to advanced training at No. 1 Service Flying Training School, RNZAF Wigram, Christchurch, flying twin-engined Airspeed Oxfords.

His class of 46 pilot trainees had their passing-out “Wings” parade at Wigram on 29 July 1943, and significantly, it was Group Captain ‘Ted’ Olson, ex-Commanding Officer of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, who presented Johnny with his wings.

Johnny Wood proudly wearing his new wings in front of a 2 SFTS Airspeed Oxford trainer, Wigram, 1943.
– Debbie van Beurden

Johnny sailed to England in 1943, where he would have undergone advanced flying training before being posted to No.12 Operational Training Unit, Chipping Warden.