30/06/2017
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Wing Commander ‘Johnnie’ Johnson’s diary for auction

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The July Connoisseur’s Sale at Cheffins will include a diary belonging to Wing Commander, later Air Vice-Marshal, James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson DSO, 2 Bars, DFC and Bar.

Johnson, who died in 2001, was the most successful RAF Spitfire pilot with a total of 38½ kills. The diary dates cover the entire year of 1942, from 1 January to 31 December, with detailed entries of his every-day life, both domestic and RAF related. 

In this entry for Sunday, 25 January ‘Johnnie’ reveals a tale of drunken adventure: ‘Kirton: Flight arrived back from Garhill more dead than alive, made my report to Group Capt. Woolhams.  In the evening Neville, Nip, Derek and I slipped down to the Royal and met old Nat, pushed along to The Jolly Sailor and had several more beers and the odd brandy. Lovely night with almost a full moon and Nip decided he was going to fly; tried to persuade him not but the bugger was very obstinate and moved quietly off in my van; rang up Kimby & told him to tell Nip that the CO's instructions were not to take off, Dicky Stafford also refused him permission from opps - no use, he took off and after beating up the mess pranged when landing - stalled from about 20 feet. Hell of a row, C.O. talking about a court-martial and the Nip walking about as white as a ghost.’

The diary also includes a photograph of 'Johnnie' with his dog Pusher who was tragically killed by a Motor Transport lorry, when running across the perimeter track. The diary will have an estimate of £5,000-£8,000.

Also at the same auction will be the artworks of a London-based fireman, Wilfred Stanley Haines. Wilfred, was a fireman with the National Fire Service’s River Thames formation during World War II. Much of  his work depicts scenes of London during the war and Cheffins will be selling a collection of eight oil paintings in the June Fine Art Sale, to include a self-portrait of the artist.

Other paintings will include Tower Bridge and Battersea Power station, fires blazing over London in the Blitz with St.Paul’s in the background and a searchlight spotting a V2 Rocket to shoot it down. The collection has come from the artist’s widow to the vendor and thence by descent. Haines died in 1944 aged 39, killed outside a pub from a flying bomb which landed on nearby houses.

This lot will also include a personal archive of Wilfred Stanley Haines, to include his birth certificate and other items.

Cheffins Fine Art is based in Cambridge.

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