F/O OTTO “JOHN” PETERSON

F/O Peterson was born on March 14, 1914 in Eckville, Alberta.  He attended Lloydminster High School, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Manitoba, prior to joining the RCAF in 1938.  Before going overseas last June he served at an east coast Canadian air station.

Peterson was attached to Canada’s No. 1 fighter squadron of the RCAF when it arrived in the United Kingdom on June 20, 1940.

 

 

Our Museum has a copy of the combat report written on September 9, 1940.  At the time, he was flying  S.E. of Guilford.  The enemy was flying an ME.109 at a height of 18,000 feet.  Peterson recorded, “I was Green 2 and was the second section in line astern and climbing.  Suddenly the Squadron Leader did a sharp break away to the left, green section followed.  I saw two ME.109s apparently diving on the Squadron Leader.  Green 1 attacked one of them and I immediately swung on the other’s tail and opened fire at about 250 yards closing to about 75 yards.  Suddenly I saw bits flying off the e/a and then it began to smoke flames pouring out the belly, the aircraft just disintegrated.  I immediately began my break away but ran into some loose part of the e/a, breaking my wind screen the pieces of glass and perspex cutting my face and obscuring my vision.  My propeller was also hit by pieces of e/a and broke 8 inches of the end.  I came down from about 15, 000 to 4,000 before even being able to see my instruments.  I still lost height due to my obscured vision.  At 15.00 my vision improved and I was able to proceed to base at that level.”

 

MEMBERS OF NO. 1. SQUADRON, SEPTEMBER 12, 1940. PETERSON IS 2ND FROM THE LEFT. (unknown)

 

However, just two weeks following the day the above photo was taken, F/O Peterson was killed in action.  He left behind his wife, Helen, and his parents