Denis John Vellacott (1918 - 2009)

Denis John Vellacott
Johnny at the 2009 reunion at RAF Lyneham.

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of our oldest member of the 30 Squadron Association. On 3 September 2009, Denis John Vellacott - Johnny to most of us - passed away peacefully in hospital following a short illness. He was 91 years old.

Born 1 June 1918 in Ilfracombe, Devon, he was the son of a Master Baker and joined the Royal Air Force just before the start of the Second World War. He trained as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner and soon joined 30 Squadron on the Bristol Blenheim Fighter/Bomber Mk1 which started it's service with the Squadron in 1938, and was the replacement to the Hawker Hardy.

Johnny saw action with 30 Squadron mostly in the Middle East and served in Iraq, Egypt, Greece and patrolled the Suez Canal just before the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956 following Egypt's attempt to nationalise the Canal.

On leaving the Service, Johnny continued his life in the electronics and radio world and worked for BOAC on their flying boats as an electronics engineer. As well as enjoying other pastimes, Johnny was an ardent radio ham using an old Lancaster bomber set he 'acquired' on his travels. His other pursuits involved membership of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes - don't ask! -, and never forgetting his time in the Service, the Crete Association and, of course, our Association.

Johnny was cremated on 9 September 2009. Half his ashes have been spread over the family plot in Ilfracombe and the other half will be scattered either on the airfield at Meleme, Crete or the Squadron's memorial at Meleme by his loving son Michael. Michael will do this during the Crete Associations next visit to the island planned for the last 2 weeks of May 2010.

Johnny's infectious good humour and sharp wit will be missed by many and our thoughts and prayers from all of us in our Association go to Michael, his only son.