SQUADRON LEADER "CHIS" CHISHOLM

This is the story of a gifted, dedicated and brave young man who like so many of his generation, paid the ultimate sacrifice so that those who were left could enjoy the freedom we have today. My sincere thanks to his son John for the material on this page, and for allowing me to publish it.

John Harry Mackellar Chisholm (affectionately and universally known as 'Chis') was born in 1918 in New South Wales and came to England in 1936. His mother had divorced and moved to India where she remarried - to Colonel N H Prenderghast of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides. Chis was sponsored by the RAF to attend the No 10 Civil Flying School at White Waltham in 1937 and was commissioned a year later with the rank of Flying Officer.

It is believed he joined 75 squadron, attended a parachute course and flew Whitley bombers in the years leading up to the outbreak of war.

Certainly 1941 saw him serving with No 1 Photo Reconnaissance and with the RAF film production unit.

Late in 1942 he transferred to 600 squadron where he flew Blenheims, which included a tour in North Africa. He joined 157 squadron in July 1943 and in 1944 found himself with that Mosquito squadron stationed at RAF Swannington.

Chis was married to Patricia Hulton-Harrop in 1940. Patricia's brother, P/O John Hulton-Harrop, was the first British figher pilot to be killed in the war. Flying a Hurricane with 56 squadron, he was tragically shot down by another RAF fighter in a case of mistaken identity.

On September 15th 1944, at 20 minutes before midnight, Mosquito TA 396 RS-W, with Chis and navigator Fl/Lt E L Wilde took off from Swannington for a high-level patrol in the Kiel area. They did not return and were posted as 'missing'. A rubber dinghy was spotted in the sea on their route. The next morning three 'mossies' from his squadron took off from Swannington and made a prolonged 'sweep' of the area, but with no success. What happened on that flight nobody will ever know. Plane and crew were lost without trace. The names of both crewmen appear on the Runneymede Memorial for lost airmen.

Chis left Patricia his wife (who died in 1964), his daughter Anna aged 3, and his six month old baby son John.

The photograph shows an aluminium model of his Mosquito, RS-W, presented to Patricia by the members of his squadron. It illustrates the admiration and respect with which he had been held.

The inscription plate reads:

In appreciation of our Flight Commander S/Ldr J H M Chisholm [Chis] from "THE BOYS" "B" Flight, 157 squadron Royal Air Force

Chis's brother in law, John HH mentioned above, had been a close friend and flat mate of the actor Kenneth More, who played the part of Douglas Bader, who in turn had been stationed at nearby RAF Coltishall.

His daughter Anna went on to marry Ian McCorquodale, the son of Barbara Cartland. Barbara was a friend of John 'Cats Eyes' Cunningham, who as CO of 85 squadron was transferred just prior to 85's transfer to Swannington which it shared with Chis's 157 squadron until the end of the war.

Son John went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the KSLI, serving in Belize, Singapore and Malaysia. He now lives with his wife Kathy, daughter Patricia and son Alexander in Clawson, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

Flt.Lt Chis on the right. The other man is believed to be his regular navigator, E.L. Wilde

[By kind permission of Martin Bowman]

157 Squadron gathered on the steps of the Officer's Mess, RAF Swannington. The front row, left to right, are: F/L JRV Smythe; Stevens; S/L 'Chis' Chisholm; W/C HDU Dennison (CO March-June 1944); Towser the dog; F/L JO Mathews DFC; S/L JG Benson; S/L Dolly Doleman.

Chis, on right, catching forty winks in the Officer's mess at Swannington. Who are his fellow officers ?



John Harry MacKellar 'Chis' Chisholm

The Mossie model presented to Patricia by 'B' Flight, 157sqn

Chis with his dog Bracken and 'mossie Chis as a Flying Officer at Linton May 1938

'Chis'

      R GIBBONS © 2002