Sgt. John Richard Hill RCAF

197 Squadron RAF, December 28, 1942 – May 7, 1943.

Of the nine Canadians who served with 197 Sqn, eight were shot down (seven KIA and one POW). Canadians provided about eight per cent of the total number of pilots (approx. 112) who flew with 197 Sqn during the two and a half years of its existence but their losses equate to about 20 per cent of 197’s total losses (approx. 40 KIA/POW). Sgt. John Richard Hill, RCAF was one of them.

John Richard Hill was the son of William Richard and Mary (nee Johnson) Hill of Westmount, Quebec. He had one brother and two sisters. The family was Anglican. He was born on November 12, 1922, in England. He was a steel tester at Canadian Tube & Steel Products Ltd, Montreal, for one year prior to enlistment. He wanted to stay in the RCAF after the war. He enjoyed hockey, rugby, baseball, basketball, and boxing. He smoked a pipe and did not list any hobbies.

On June 5, 1941, he was assessed by the Royal Canadian Air Force as follows:

5′ 11″, 161 pounds, fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. “13 pounds overweight, but excess weight is well distributed and is apparently due to the fact that the applicant was unable to play hockey this winter because of pneumonia in October. Otherwise, this man is in excellent condition and is a very desirable type personally. Bright young man of good appearance and manners.”

Sgt. John Richard Hill RCAF (R104983)

In September 1941, assessor F/L C. G. Stogdill wrote: “Completed Gr, XI and put in one year in Grade XII, but failed in Latin and History, stopping school at 17. Worked for one year testing steel in a munitions plant. Left to join up. Choice: Pilot, Observer. Younger than average. Definite, straightforward, alert, quick, responsible lad of good average intelligence. Becomes a little flustered in novel situations, but soon settles down if handled quietly. Has good self-confidence.”

RAF Training Report for John Richard Hill RCAF (R104983)

Hill started his journey through the BCATP at No. 4 MD, St. Hubert, on June 6, 1941. He went to No. 1 WS, Montreal, August 1941, then was sent to No. 3 ITS Victoriaville by September 1941 (“Talkative. Cheerful and pleasant. Enthusiastic, quick, average intelligence. Fairly calm and self-assured. Average. 19/151 in class”) He was then in Windsor Mills at No. 4 EFTS (“A very slow, plodding type. Rather young and may improve with experience. Unsuitable for commission at present. Needs practice in aerobatics and steep turns”). Link Trainer: 69%. “Appears to have quite a bit of promising material in him. Good appearance. Conduct good. Lack of ambition.” Hill was in Ground Training for three months before going to No. 9 SFTS, Summerside in November. He received his Pilot’s Flying Badge on June 19, 1942 and remained at No. 9 SFTS until July 1942 as an instructor.

He was sent to No. 1 OTU, Saguenay July 1942, then to Bagotville in October. He made his way to Halifax later that month, and found himself at the RAF Trainees Pool by November 1942. He was at 55 OTU late November where he was assessed as “A good average pilot who is conscientious and tries hard at all times.” He was then posted to 197 Squadron on December 28, 1942.

RAF record of the death of Sgt John Richard Hill RCAF (R104983) on May 7th

Hill was killed as a result of a flying accident on May 7, 1943, at 1600 hours. He was piloting Typhoon 1B DN407, whilst on a camera gun exercise; location: near Graham Avenue, Patcham, one mile north of Payston Park, Brighton, Sussex, England.

From the 197 Sqn ORB: “More Standing Patrols. One Scramble. Whilst on Cine Gun practice with F/Lt. Elkington, Sgt. Hill J.R. (Canadian) got into a spin. He crashed near Brighton and was killed.

Sgt J.R. Hill is buried at Tangmere, St Andrews Churchyard, Sussex, United Kingdom

Sgt. John Richard Hill RCAF (R104983)

Born: November 12, 1922 Died: May 7, 1943

Information reproduced with kind permission from The Typhoon Project. Digitised files from and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.