GROUP CAPTAIN JOHN “JOHNNY” KENT, R.A.F DFC & BAR AFM VIRTUTI MILITAI
Group Captain Johnny Kent was a Canadian Air Ace flying with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Considered to be one of the best squadron leaders of the war, he went on to a distinguished career in aviation.
Born in Winnipeg Manitoba, where he obtained his flying license at age 17. He went on to being one of Canada’s first commercial pilots at age 19. He left Canada in 1935 and enlisted in the RAF; he was posted to #5 Flying School, before joining #19 Squadron at RAF Duxford where he was moved on to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and with his research work, deliberately made over 300 airborne collisions with barrage balloons to test them before production.
In May 1940, Kent was posted to Photographic Reconnaissance flying an unarmed Supermarine Spitfire in France. During the last of the Battle of France, while on a low level sortie with an armed Spitfire, he was attacked by an ME109 that crashed during this encounter.
On 2 August 1940, now a Flight Commander, Kent joined the now famous #303 Polish Squadron at RAF Northolt where he remained throughout the Battle of Britain. During this period he was awarded his first DFC. In October 1940 he was again re-posted, this time to RAF Biggin Hill to take command of another highly successful group of pilots RAF #92 Squadron.
In June 1941, Kent was promoted to Wing Commander and again was posted back to RAF Northolt, this time lead the Polish Wing of four squadrons.
In early 1942, Kent was taken off operational status and sent on a lecture tour of Canada and the United States. In June 1942, he was posted as Station Commander of RAF Church Stanton where he remained until October 1942, when he was posted to Fighter Command HQ as a Wing Commander, Training. Within a few months, he was moved again to the Middle East and took command of 17 sector in Benghazi, Libya. After a further posting to Air Defence HQ as Command Training Inspector, W.C Kent returned to the U.K. in 1944 at the Central FlyingSchool where he remained until the end of the war.
After the war he was again posted to Air H.Q. British Forces of Occupation and in 1946, he became Personal Staff Officer to Sholto Douglas, Commander in Chief and Military Governor of the British Zone of occupied Germany.
Kent returned to flying duties as Chief Test Pilot at RAF Farnborough in 1948 and remained there until 1952
Kent finally left the RAF in December 1956 with a rank of Group Captain with over 20 years of service.
On October 1985, Group Captain Johnny Kent died in Woking Surrey, UK.