S/Ldr JWB Judge RAF 1910—1979
Born in 1910 in Sydney, New South Wales and later of Camberwell in Victoria, John Westley (otherwise Wesley) Boyd Judge first enlisted in the RAAF in May 1928 as an Aircraftman.
By November 1930, an LAC, he had passed a number of Trade tests for Sergeant. He then applied for and was appointed an Air Cadet from July 1931, posted to RAAF Point Cook and No 1 FTS.
To the RAF
On graduating as a pilot he was selected for an RAF Short Service Commission under the RAAF/RAF exchange scheme, embarking for the UK in July 1932. Granted a four year SSC in the RAF on 16 August 1932, he had been posted to the Middle East by February 1933. In March that year he was promoted to Flying Officer with No 6 (Bomber) Squadron, then based at Ismailia with Fairey Gordons.
By April 1936 he was made F/Lt and, upon expiry of his SSC, granted a permanent commission in the RAF from August that year, briefly returning to the UK. He was successful in seeking an early return to the Middle East, serving with 4 FTS Abu Sueir from May 1937 if not earlier. From 1 December 1938 he was promoted to Squadron Leader (London Gazette 2 December 1938) with 4 FTS. Marriage to Mary, at Melbourne in Australia, followed in 1939. Their son Anthony was born in Egypt in 1940.
With the Greyhounds of the Desert
When S/Ldr SH Ware left 211 Squadron in January 1939 on promotion to Wing Commander, it was John Judge who took command from the end of February.
The new CO collected the Squadron’s first Blenheim, delivering it to Ismailia in April. The Squadron was quite mobile during the early weeks of his command, moving from Ismaila to Daba, then back to Ismailia at the start of May to compete their conversion to the Blenheim I, meanwhile undertaking delivery flights elsewhere in the Command. By August they were back at their Daba war station, the threat of war ever closer.
S/Ldr Judge recce flight [AWM Photograph 0053269, JF Hurley]
“Squadron Leader Judge, RAF (an Australian serving with the RAF) and Peter Jeffreys of No 3 Squadron, RAAF take off in a Miles Magister trainer aircraft for a reconnaissance over Italian lines.”
Judge was CO for some 17 months, leading the Squadron through conversion to the Blenheim, and through their first month of active war. The Greyhounds had been in the Desert for nearly a year when he handed over command to S/Ldr ARG “Porpoise” Bax.
Staff work and DLGs
Posted from 211 Squadron in July 1940 first to 202 Group and later promoted to a Staff job in the Middle East, by March 1941 Judge was a war-time Wing Commander and later that year Mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 24 September 1941).
His main tasks as a staff officer involved appreciations of the Desert air war, of existing landing grounds in the Western Desert, and a reconnaissance and assessment of new landing ground sites for the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley, for the coming Desert Air Force offensive.
Some time towards the end of the war, Judge drew together a typed narrative of his work. In setting the background to his staff work, he also gave a short account of his time in command of 211 Squadron in the Desert.
Over the course of the past year or so, his son Anthony has been active in preparing and documenting a transcript of his father’s narrative, which is now available on-line under its original title: Airfield Creation for the Western Desert Campaign.
A temporary Group Captain at war’s end, John Judge remained in the RAF. In 1947 year he was OC 4 FTS, then at Heany in Southern Rhodesia. Although relinquishing the Group Captain’s braid in November 1947 for substantive W/Cdr rank as the RAF finalised its peacetime establishment, by 1949 he was substantive Group Captain once more, retiring in November 1952 with a total of 24 years service in two Air Forces. A resident of Rhodesia in his retirement, there John Westley (otherwise Wesley) Boyd Judge died on 26 September 1979.
211 Squadron RAF Operations Record Book TNA AIR 27/1302, AIR 27/1303.
RAAF List 1932-1938
RAAF/RAF SCS Exchange Scheme nominal rolls via D Norman
RAAF Records of Service and Personnel Occurrence Reports held in the National Archives of Australia.
RAAF Museum Point Cook rolls
Judge A correspondence with author
Air Ministry Air Force List (HMSO) issues for July 1937, October 1937, January 1938, April 1938, November 1938, December 1938, January 1939, April 1957
HMSO London Gazette issues 1932—1952
Judge JWB (ed Judge A) Airfield Creation for the Western Desert Campaign
Neate Scorpions Sting: The Story of No 84 Squadron RAF.
Newton A Few of the Few.
Newton First Impact.
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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 31 Jul 2023. Page created 13 Apr 2011
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