Life story written by Paul Beecroft
Royal Air Force
8th September 1941 Age 21
John REYNOLDS or Jack as he was known to his friends was born in Reading in March 1920. He was the youngest son of William and Florence Mary REYNOLDS of 74, Eastern Avenue, Reading. In July 1940 he joined the RAF and trained to become a pilot, gaining his ‘wings’ a few months later he became a Sergeant-Pilot. He was then attached to 51 Squadron at RAF Dishforth in Harrogate and flew a Whitley Mk. V Bomber.
On September 7th 1941, Jack and the other four members of the crew took off in their bomber (Z6937) on an operational flight to bomb Berlin. On their return to RAF Dishforth at 0550 hours on 8th September there was a problem with the bomber. On the first attempt to land they overshot the runway. On the second attempt the bomber stalled and once again they overshot the runway crashing on land to the north of the airfield. Four members of the crew were killed.
The Reading Standard for September 12th recorded the following:-
The death on active service is announced of Sergt.-Pilot John Alfred Reynolds, aged 21, younger son of the late Mr. W. Reynolds and of Mrs. Reynolds.
John Reynolds, or Jack as he was known to his many friends was educated at Reading School where he became vice-captain. He was keen on all forms of sport and was captain of rugger at school. He belonged to the O.T.C. [Officer Training Corps] and won a cup and medal at Bisley for the school. On leaving school he went to Reading University – St. David’s Hall – where he was training for the teaching profession. While at University he was captain of rugger, secretary of swimming, captain of badminton and continued his active interest in shooting and squash. He was also a member of the University O.T.C. Like his elder brother Mr. George Reynolds he was a well-known member of the Reading Swimming Club. In July, 1940, he left the University to enter the Royal Air Force.
Much sympathy is felt with his mother, brother and sister in the great loss they have sustained. His father the late Mr. W. Reynolds was a well-known figure in the teaching profession, being a master at Battle School.
The funeral service takes place at St. John’s Church, Reading, tomorrow (Saturday) 11 a.m.
Division 77, Row A, Plot 13