Regiment : 263 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service number : 175972
Conflict : WW2
Date of death : 13th October 1944 aged 24
Buried : Merksplas Communal Cemetery, Belgium, Grave 1.
Relatives : Son of Mrs. E. E. Thould, of Worcester
Memorial : Hanley Castle Grammar School now Hanley Castle High School WW2 Memorial
Also appears on : Upton on Severn Memorial Hall with the information: Pilot Off. Upton on Severn St Peter and St Paul's
Appears on the Royal Air Force casualties list for Worcestershire.
A letter from Rector Howard S. Bailey, The Rectory, Upton on Severn dated 20th May 1950 can be found within war records held at Worcestershire Archives requesting that Pilot Officer John Thould, RAF be added to the county roll of honour.
Educated at Hanley Castle Grammar School, John Thould was employed as an engineer with the GPO before volunteering for service with the RAF.
The Worcester Evening News reported that ‘flying on his first offensive patrol over enemy occupied territory’, Flight Sergeant John Thould, of Upton on Severn, shot down the first German aircraft he had seen. Flight Sergeant Thould had gone out with five other pilots of his squadron on an offensive sortie over northern France, when an Me 410 was sighted. In the race towards it he won by a “short head”. He set the Me’s starboard engine on fire and the aircraft crashed in a field.
“It was a christening celebration for my aircraft,” said Flight Sergeant Thould. “I only christened her today, painting the name ‘Hawk’ on the fuselage.” In addition to Thould’s victory, the flight also shot down a Dornier 217 and attacked an He 111 on the ground.
Leading the Typhoons was Flight Sergeant L.W.S. Stark, DFC, of Bolton, who, as pilot officer in the West Riding of Yorkshire squadron, shot down that squadron’s 200th enemy aircraft last year.
“After we met the Me, which Thould shot down, we carried on east of Paris and met a Dornier 217 flying towards the capital,” said Flight Sergeant Stark. “The destruction of the Dornier was a joint effort by the flight.”
A recent issue of the Upton News carries an anonymous article where it is claimed that the writer witnessed John Thould flying his Typhoon under Upton Bridge during an unofficial ‘beat-up’ of the town. With a propeller diameter of 12 feet and a tall fin this seems difficult to believe. The river level must have been exceedingly low!
Sources: Worcester Evening News, the current Upton News, Mick Wilks and Dennis Webb.