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John Colin Mungo-Park
File:John Mungo-Park by Cuthbert Orde.jpg
John Mungo-Park, 1940
Born (1918-03-25)25 March 1918
Died 27 June 1941(1941-06-27) (aged 23)
Place of birth Wallasey, Cheshire
Place of death Adinkerke, Belgium
Place of burial Adinkerke Military Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Years of service 1937 – 1941
Rank Squadron Leader
Service number 40008
Commands held 74 Squadron
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar

John Colin Mungo-Park (25 March 1918 - 27 June 1941) was a World War II Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot and ace squadron leader. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1940, and again posthumously in 1941. Both DFCs cited "courage".

Background and early life[]

He was born John Colin Park[1] the second son and third child of Colin Archibald Mungo Park and Marion (née Haswell) Park on 25 March 1918 in Wallasey on the Wirral.[2] His sister Linda had been in 1913[3] and brother Geoffrey born in 1915.[4] Mungo-Park's father, Colin, had joined the army at the start of the First World War as a private with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. On 24 October 1918, just seven months after his son's birth, Lance Corporal Colin Park was killed in action during the Hundred Days Offensive. He is buried in the Valenciennes (St Roch) Military Cemetery in France.[5] John Mungo-Park was educated as a boarder at Liverpool College where he was a successful athlete and sportsman. 'Mungo' had been a family forename for many generations, and he used the surname Mungo-Park from his schooldays onward.[6]

The family moved to Bolton in 1934, where a neighbour had a pilot's license and keen interest in aviation. He and Mungo-Park became firm friends, and it was here that the passion for flying was born.[6]

Royal Air Force[]

Mungo-Park joined the Royal Air Force on a short service commission in June 1937 and was made acting Pilot Officer on 9 August.[7] He was confirmed as a Pilot Officer on 31 May 1938[8] and was posted to the Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit of the Fleet Air Arm at Lee on Solent and then in August 1938 to HMS Argus flying Fairey Swordfish.[6]

The day after war was declared, 4 September 1939, Mungo-Park transferred to 74 Squadron flying Spitfires from RAF Hornchurch, commanded by Sailor Malan. He was promoted to Flying Officer 31 December 1939.[9]

On 24 May 1940, while 74 Sqn were providing cover for the British retreat from France and the Dunkirk evacuation, Mungo-Park was wounded and his Spitfire damaged during an engagement with a Henschel Hs 126 but he managed to recross the Channel and land at RAF Rochford.[6]

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 15 November 1940. The citation said:[10]

Acting Flight Lieutenant John Colin MUNGO-PARK (40008), No. 74 Squadron.
In October, 1940, this officer was on patrol with his squadron at 30,000 feet when a formation of enemy aircraft were sighted. Flight Lieutenant Mungo-Park attacked a Messerschmitt 109 but had to break off the engagement as his windscreen became iced up. He cleaned this and again attacked the enemy aircraft and caused it to crash into the sea. He has personally destroyed eight hostile aircraft and has at all times displayed great courage and coolness in action.

File:John Mungo-Park by Cuthbert Orde.jpg

John Mungo-Park by Cuthbert Orde, December 1940

Now recognised as one of the cream of the Allied fighter pilots, he was one of the fraction of The Few selected by Fighter Command to have a portrait drawn by Cuthbert Orde, sitting for it in December 1940.

On 30 November he and Flt Lt H M Stephen of 74 Squadron jointly claimed a JG 53 Bf 109 that was deemed the 600th victory claimed by Squadrons flying from RAF Biggin Hill. Exactly a year since his last promotion, on 31 December 1940, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant[11]

On 10 March 1941 Sailor Malan was promoted, and Mungo-Park became acting Squadron Leader. On 16 June 1941 while on a sweep over the Channel he shot down two Messerschmitt Bf 109s, but in the fight his plane was damaged. He turned for home but his engine seized as he crossed the coast. Nonetheless, Mungo-Park managed to stay airborne, gliding his Spitfire back to RAF Hawkinge.[6] For this display of skill, as well as his continued leadership and growing tally of kills, he was told he was to receive a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross.[12] On the evening of 27 June 1941, flying Spitfire X4668, Mungo-Park was part of an escort for a bombing raid over northern France. They were attacked by two formations of Bf 109s, led by Rolf Pingel of I./JG 26 (who had been spared by Bob Doe during the Battle of Britain[13][14]) and Wilhelm Balthasar of JG 2. He was shot down and killed when his plane crashed just north of Dunkirk, a couple of miles over the Belgian border. He is buried in Adinkerke Military Cemetery,[15] about 60 miles north of his father. In a twist of fate, Wilhelm Balthasar died in an air crash less than a week later and was buried in a Flanders cemetery alongside his father who had been killed in the First World War.

Mungo-Park's second DFC was awarded posthumously on 11 July 1941 with the citation:[16]

Acting Squadron Leader John Colin MUNGO-PARK, D.F.C. (40008), No. 74 Squadron.

(Since reported missing.)

This officer has performed excellent work in his many engagements against the enemy and has destroyed at least twelve of their aircraft. In June, 1941, he was attacked by six Messerschmitt 109's while over the French coast. He succeeded in shooting down two of these and, although his own aircraft was badly damaged, Squadron Leader Mungo-Park flew back to this country making a skilful forced landing. His courage and leadership have contributed materially to the successes achieved by his squadron.

Mungo-Park had claimed 11 aircraft destroyed ( and 2shared), 5 'probables, and 4 damaged.[17]

Memorials[]

Thanks to the efforts of Belgian Johny Recour, who had witnessed Mungo-Park's crash as a boy, a memorial service was held at on 22 May 2006.[6] Mungo Park Way in Orpington and Mungo Park Road in South Hornchurch are named after John Mungo-Park. Other roads in the surrounding estates are named after pilots in the Battle of Britain.

References[]

  1. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005. Date of Registration: Apr May Jun 1918, Registration district: Birkenhead, Registration county: Cheshire, Volume Number: 8a, Page Number: 836. Retrieved from ancestry.co.uk, 5 November 2010
  2. http://www.bbm.org.uk/as-mungopark.htm
  3. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005. Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1913, Registration district: Birkenhead, Registration county: Cheshire, Volume Number: 8a, Page Number: 1120. Retrieved from ancestry.co.uk, 5 November 2010
  4. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005. Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1915, Registration district: Birkenhead, Registration county: Cheshire, Volume Number: 8a, Page Number: 954. Retrieved from ancestry.co.uk, 5 November 2010
  5. http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=577794
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Cossey, Bob (22 May 2006). "Service of Remembrance: Squadron Leader John Colin Mungo Park DFC*, Commemoration Booklet". http://www.74squadron.org.uk/Mungo%20Park.htm. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  7. "London Gazette Issue 34429 Page 5388". 24 August 1937. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34429/pages/5388. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  8. "London Gazette Issue 34521 Page 3833". 14 June 1938. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34521/supplements/3833. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  9. "London Gazette Issue 34769 Page 164". 9 January 1940. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34769/pages/164. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  10. "London Gazette Issue 34993 Page 6569". 15 November 1940. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34993/pages/6569. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  11. "London Gazette Issue 35037 Page 152". 7 January 1941. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/35037/pages/152. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  12. World War 2 Awards. "Mungo-Park, John Colin". http://www.ww2awards.com/person/41691. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  13. The Times (5 March 2010). "Wing Commander Bob Doe". http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article7050267.ece. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  14. Aviation Art by Geoff Nutkins. "Prints :: Pilot Portraits :: Wing Commander Bob Doe". http://www.aviartnutkins.com/pilots/A22_A_Gentlemans_War.php. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  15. Commonwealth War Grave Commission. "Casualty Details: Mungo-Park, John Colin". http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2774834. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  16. "London Gazette Issue 35217 Page 152". 11 July 1941. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/35217/pages/3994. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  17. Aces High, Shores & Williams, page 456

External links[]

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