3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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Vale Johnny TAYLOR

Cervia, Italy. c. 1945.   During the present offensive against the fleeing Germans, fighter bomber
 pilots of the Desert Air Force have been constantly in the air in support of the Eighth Army
Many narrow escapes have been experiences, as aircraft return to base bearing the marks of
 enemy flak.  422721 Warrant Officer John Taylor of Coonamble, NSW, a member of
No. 3 (Mustang) Squadron RAAF,  examines a German 37mm shell which struck the armour
plate in the cockpit of his aircraft, but failed to explode.  [AWM MEA2244]

By 'Dusty' Lane.

Johnny passed away in the late afternoon of 1st December, 2006, after being hospitalised in Dubbo and Sydney.  He was 84 years of age.

His funeral took place in his home town of Coonamble on Monday, 11th January, 2007, where, except for the war years, he had spent his life and raised a family with his wife Judy.

After joining the RAAF he was trained in Australia and Canada, before being posted to Italy where he joined 3 Squadron at Iesi in the north-east in September, 1944.  The squadron converted to Mustangs soon afterwards, relocating to Cervia before Christmas 1944.  The war in Italy had entered a decisive phase with continuous bombing and strafing in the Po Valley and across the Adriatic in Yugoslavia.

Johnny participated in the sensitive Operation Bowler attacks on critical dock targets in the city of Venice on 21st March, 1945.  The operation was named 'Bowler' because it was made clear that any pilot who put a bomb outside the target area would be "bowler hatted", i.e. cashiered!


He also had a unique experience when his Mustang was hit by a 37mm German ack ack shell that failed to explode.  When examined by the squadron armourers, they found it contained non-explosive material!  [Possibly a brave gesture of defiance by a slave-worker in some Nazi factory.]

Italy. c. 1944.  Informal portrait of two cousins flying together in Italy.  They are:
411495 Flight Lieutenant J. A. Hodgkinson DFC of Orange, NSW (left),
and 422721 Warrant Officer J. B. Taylor of "Youie" Station, Goonamble, NSW (right).
Flt Lt Hodgkinson won his DFC in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and was sent to Italy some months ago as a Flight Commander in No. 3 Squadron RAAF, of which his cousin was later a member.  Note the North American P51 Mustang aircraft behind them.  [AWM MEA2182]

After WWII he returned to the family property Youie at Coonamble, where for the next 60 years he took a leading role in local activities:

Coonamble Show Association where as President for 10 years he also competed in show jumping.
Coonamble Picnic Race Club President.  Anyone who has attended a country picnic race will remember that they are as much a convivial meeting of old friends as they are about the races - perfectly suited to Johnny Taylor.
RSL President in 1971-72 and again in 2004, ''when they needed administrative guidance".

He had a lifelong interest in cricket and Australian poetry.  He could recite all 13 verses of Banjo Paterson's The Man From Snowy River without missing a beat.

He maintained a continuing interest in 3 Squadron, rarely missing reunions.  His last was the 90th at Newcastle in 2006.

He will be remembered for his courage, his easy-going, friendly manner and the ability to help people and organisations with their problems.

Cervia, Italy. 31 March 1945. Sports day for No. 3 (Mustang) Squadron RAAF in northern Italy was a big
 event.  The weather was fine, the competitors were keen, and the spectators cheered lustily as their
 particular champions proved themselves.  Here 422721 Warrant Officer J. B. Taylor of Youie Station, Coonamble, NSW, clearing the bar in the high-jump field event.  [AWM MEB0287]

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