Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Anthony 'Jonny' Johnson RN TAG PO

Its taken a long time to get around to making this happen. The influencers in our lives sometimes get forgotten because we always had them around and it seemed too normal to have to think about doing something to demonstrate their influence on us.

I've loved aviation for a very long time, some would say its in my bones, others would say its because someone close influenced me and others would just say its something you just catch like a bug or virus!

I know where my love for flying comes from.....it comes mainly from my Dad.

Stories of his war time exploits and training are very familiar to me, even though I have not really heard them many times or really that often. My Dad, my younger brother and me would spend hours and hours parked at airports, airfields or sometimes just in a place where you could the sky and watch aeroplanes fly by.

From this I got the bug!

The Fairey Swordfish
This weeks interview on Across The Pond is the story of a young 18 year old, who had already been credited with heroics during the blitz, working for the ARP helping to get trapped people out of bombed buildings, join the Royal Navy.

With an education that was not matched to the roles he undertook, he had to work hard to get in the top half of his training group to be sent to Canada to finalise his training as a Telegraphist Air Gunner, flying mainly Fairey Swordfish and Barracuda's.

Fairey Barracuda 'Those trailing aerials'
His stories of his training are both interesting and exciting and some of those that didn't make the edit were quite frankly horrifying. Through all of this, Anthony Johnson and many of his comrades prepared and then went to war.

His story is just one of those hundreds and thousands who gave service to their country for whatever side they fought.

There are not many left to tell their stories so in some way we are doing our little bit to preserve some more history using new media. 

This is a short insight into the training of a TAG operator and we hope you enjoy it.
Avro Anson - 'The Autopilot Story'

I enjoyed doing this segment more than most because its so close to me. There is a fuller version which may get aired one day.

I am very grate to my Dad for doing this interview so that we could share his story with our listeners. I am also grateful to Paul Fiddian of Global Aviation Resource (www.globalaviationresource.com) for allowing us to use his beautiful shot of the Fairey Swordfish. This aircraft is based at RNAS Yeovilton and my Dad and I have seen it fly many times and will always have a warm spot in out hearts for the Old String Bag.


  1. Fabulous interview with your Dad on Airplane Geeks episode 148... He sounds like a real character! Too much of our history is lost to time, so hearing an old bloke (who is obviously still young inside) share his memories, in his own voice, is a rare treat. Thankyou, and best wishes to you both.

  2. Turb, Thanks so much for the feedback. I will ensure my father gets it as well. He's a real character an still full of many more stories. Pieter