Sergeant (Pilot) John Holt Dickinson
John Holt Dickinson was born in Bolton on 1 March, 1919. His parents, Norman and Mary Dickinson moved to Southport, where John attended King George V School.
Towards the end of 1937 he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve as an Airman (under training) Pilot, subsequently being called up on 1 September 1939. On completion of his training, he was posted to No.6 Operational Training Unit at Sutton Bridge for conversion to Hurricanes thereafter joining No.253 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 8 June 1940. At the end of the month, he was one of 9 airmen pilots on strength with the squadron.
No.253 Squadron moved to the 13 Group sector station at Turnhouse on 21 July 1940. Here they performed sector patrols both day and night – at the time a number of Hurricane squadrons in Fighter Command were designated as day and night-fighter units.
When No.253 moved south to Kenley on 29 August, Dickinson was not one of the pilots who flew down in a Hurricane, it is most likely he joined the group of ground personnel who flew down probably in a Bristol Bombay.
The pilots of No.253 Squadron got a true baptism of fire the next day when they were sent out 4 times on interception patrols.
Dickinson’s first patrol from Kenley was also his last. Just before 5pm, he took off in Hurricane P3213, on an interception patrol with eight other Hurricanes of No.253 squadron. They engaged in a dog-fight with enemy Me.109s over Dungeness where Dickinson was shot down. Although he baled out successfully, he is believed to have been shot as he descended in his parachute. Sergeant S. F. Cooper was also shot down in the engagement but but survived unhurt.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.