Personal info

  • Name: John Alan QUINTON
  • D.O.B: 2nd February, 1921
  • D.O.A: 13th August, 1951
  • D.O.D: 13th August, 1951
  • Award: George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Flight Lieutenant, No 228 Operational Conversion Unit, Royal Air Force

Over Yorkshire 13 August 1951

13 August 1951

On 13 August 1951 a Wellington aircraft from RAF Leeming, Yorkshire, on a training flight for navigators and also carrying Derek Coates, a 16-year-old air cadet on summer camp, collided with another plane. It crashed near Hudswell, west of Richmond. Coates survived due to the heroism of Flight Lieutenant J A Quinton, whom he subsequently identified from photographs.

Citation

 The KING has been graciouly pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to:- Flight Lieutenant John Alan Quinton, D.F.C. (115714), Royal Air Force, No. 228 Operational Conversion Unit. On August the 13th, 1951, Flight Lieutenant Quinton was a Navigator under instruction in a Wellington aircraft which was involved in a mid-air collision. The sole survivor from the crash was an Air Training Corps Cadet who was a passenger in the aircraft, and he has established the fact that his life was saved by a supreme act of gallantry displayed by Flight Lieutenant Quinton who in consequence sacrificed his own life. Both Flight Lieutenant Quinton and the cadet were in the rear compartment of the aircraft when the collision occurred. The force of the impact caused the aircraft to break up and as it was plunging towards the earth out of control Flight Lieutenant Quinton picked up the only parachute within reach and clipped it on to the cadet’s harness. He pointed to the rip cord and a gaping hole in the aircraft, thereby indicating that the cadet should jump. At that moment a further portion of the aircraft was torn away and the cadet was flung through the side of the aircraft clutching his rip cord, which he subsequently pulled and landed safely. Flight Lieutenant Quinton acted with superhuman speed, displaying the most commendable courage and self-sacrifice as he well knew that in giving up the only parachute within reach he was forfeiting any chance of saving his own life. Such an act of heroism and humanity ranks with the very highest traditions of the Royal Air Force, besides establishing him as a very gallant and courageous officer who, by his action displayed the most conspicuous heroism. 

The London Gazette of 23 October 1951, Numb. 39366, p. 5509

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