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Latta, John Blandford DFC (Pilot Officer)

Killed in Action 1941-January-12

Birth Date: 1914-August-06 (age 26)

Born: Vancouver, British Columbia

Son of Lt.-Col. William S. Latta, D.S.O., and Bertha A. Latta, of Victoria, British Columbia.

Home: Victoria, British Columbia

Decorations: DFC

Distinguished Service Cross
242 Sqn- Squadron (RAF)
Toujours Pret (Always ready)
Pilot Officer
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers

John Latta was born in Vancouver, Canada on August 6th 1914, he was the Son of, Lieutenant Colonel William Smith Latta, DSO** and Mrs Bertha Annie Latta (nee Sayer) of Victoria, British Columbia. His Father, William had been born in Ayr, Scotland in 1879 and had emigrated to Vancouver in the very early years of the 20th Century, At the outbreak of WW1, he had enlisted into the 6th Duke of Connaught's Regiment, later on he was commissioned into the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). On July 23rd 1917 he assumed command of the Battalion and was decorated for gallantry on multiple occasions, receiving the Distinguished Service Order and Two Bars.

John Latta attended the Oak Bay High School, Victoria and then completed his education at Victoria College. He found employment in the Salmon Fishing and Export Industry and also joined the 16th Battalion of the Canadian Territorial Regiment. He later travelled to London, England and applied for a Short Service Commission in the RAF, which he was successfully granted in February 1939.

John began his ab initio elementary flying training course as a Pupil Pilot on March 6th 1939 and on it's successful completion he was granted a commission as an Acting Pilot Officer on April 29th 1939. After completing all of his service flying training and being awarded his 'Wings', John was posted No.242 (Fighter) Sqn at RAF Church Fenton on November 6th 1939, just 8 days after it was reformed.

He experienced his very first air combat over Dunkirk on May 29th 1940 when on a patrol towards Nieuport, he successfully attacked and Destroyed a Me109, on the 31st he claimed a 2nd Me109.

John was one of the units pilots who took a Hurricane to reinforce the remaining RAF Fighter Forces in France on June 8th and on June 14th he claimed the Destruction of two Me109's to the South of Champagne.

Following the withdrawal of the surviving Sqn pilots back to RAF Coltishall, John was back in the frontline on July 10th when he claimed the Probable Destruction of a He111 to the South-East of Lowestoft. On August 21st he shared in the Destruction of a Do17z with Sub-Lt Gardner and Flt Lt Powell-Sheddon to the West of Harleston. On both September 9th and 15th he Destroyed Me109's again, on the 27th with the 'Duxford Wing' he shot down two more.

John Latta was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on November 8th 1940. On January 12th 1941, he took off in Hurricane V7203 for an offensive patrol off the Dutch Coast, January 12th 1941 was one of the first 'massed' days of RAF Fighter Command 'taking the fight back to the Luftwaffe', No.242 Sqn sent out two pairs of Hurricanes on independent patrols, each one led by some of the units most experienced Fighter Aces. John failed to return from this patrol after it was bounced by several Me109's. Nobody saw what happened to him or even any aircraft going down or crash.

With no known grave, 27 year old, Pilot Officer John Blandford Latta, DFC, RAF, is comemorated on Panel No.33 of the RAF Runnymede Memorial to the Missing in Surrey, UK.

John Latta, DFC was an Ace his final air combat score stood at - 9+1 Shared Destroyed. 9+1/-/- He is the '85th' Highest Scoring RAF and Commonwealth Fighter Pilot on Hawker Hurricanes out of 505 who achieved this distinction during WW2.

Source *Finding the 'Missing' Few" by Joel Diggle

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Pilot Officer John Blandford Latta has no known grave.

Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc.
Source BBMF

The Hawker Hurricane is a single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s"“1940s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Hurricane developed through several versions, as bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers, and ground support aircraft in addition to fighters. Versions designed for the Navy were popularly known as the Sea Hurricane, with modifications enabling their operation from ships. Some were converted to be used as catapult-launched convoy escorts. By the end of production in July 1944, 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.

A major manufacturer of the Hurricane was Canadian Car and Foundry at their factory in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. The facility's chief engineer, Elsie MacGill, became known as the "Queen of the Hurricanes". The initiative was commercially led rather than governmentally, but was endorsed by the British government; Hawker, having recognized that a major conflict was all but inevitable after the Munich Crisis of 1938, drew up preliminary plans to expand Hurricane production via a new factory in Canada. Under this plan, samples, pattern aircraft, and a complete set of design documents stored on microfilm, were shipped to Canada; the RCAF ordered 20 Hurricanes to equip one fighter squadron and two more were supplied to Canadian Car and Foundry as pattern aircraft but one probably did not arrive. The first Hurricane built at Canadian Car and Foundry was officially produced in February 1940. As a result, Canadian-built Hurricanes were shipped to Britain to participate in events such as the Battle of Britain. Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) was responsible for the production of 1,451 Hurricanes. Wikipedia and Harold A Skaarup Web Page

YouTube Hurricane

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Hurricane

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

Kestrek Publications Hurricane - Kestrel Publications

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (454), RCAF 400 Squadron (1), Canadian Aircraft Losses (358)
last update: 2021-12-21 01:11:03

Hurricane Mk. l V7203

Operated by #242 Squadron (Toujours Pret). Hurricane aircraft # V 7203 was lost during a rhubarb over France.

242 Sqn- Squadron (RAF) Toujours Pret

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