Sky’s the limit as Johnnie marks his 100th birthday

Second world war bomber hero Johnnie Trotman took to the skies for his 100th birthday.

SHREW COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 09/09/2021..Pics in Shrewsbury , at Sleap Airfield , where Pilot: Johnnie Trotman was celebrating his 100th birthday today in style, flying a plane. Aongside him was pilot: Keith Walker, and on some pics is also his wife Olwen Trotman and in blue shirt: son: Mike Trotman..
SHREW COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 09/09/2021..Pics in Shrewsbury , at Sleap Airfield , where Pilot: Johnnie Trotman was celebrating his 100th birthday today in style, flying a plane. Aongside him was pilot: Keith Walker, and on some pics is also his wife Olwen Trotman and in blue shirt: son: Mike Trotman..

Licensed pilot Johnnie, of Marchamley Wood, Shrewsbury, took off from Sleap Airfield near Wem and flew to RAF Shawbury where he was given a celebratory welcome, a cup of tea and a piece of cake before returning.

“I am slowing down a bit now,” said Johnnie who beat incredible odds to survive no less than 70 missions during the 1939-45 conflict. “But I am a qualified pilot and can still drive a car.”

As Flight Lieutenant Trotman, he flew 30 mission in Wellington bombers on night missions. He holds the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for exemplary gallantry - and bar, meaning he won it twice.

The French people also awarded him their top Légion d’Honneur for his wartime service.

The death rate for RAF bomber crew was incredibly high and Mr Trotman says the survival rate for 70 missions was “nobody”.

Jonnie served during the Second World War.

On one mission he crash landed in Belgium but was lucky enough to be on the Allied side of the front line. After completing missions on the twin-engined, long-range medium bomber he flew the unique wooden Mosquito fighter-bomber as a pathfinder.

That means he was among the first aircraft over bombing zones and recalls the searchlights and anti aircraft gunfire in vivid details. Even though he passed his medical exam to be able to fly in January, insurance means he has to have a second pilot in the cockpit at the same time. Pilot Keith Walker, 68, said; “Johnnie is a great inspiration and a great friend. It is an honour to fly with him.”

Johnnie and Keith often head off from Shropshire Aero Club on long flights around the UK. They used to stop off to buy Johnnie’s second wife Olwen a chocolate bar but they don’t do that any more.

After the war, Johnnie had a 40 year career servicing vacuum cleaners for Hoover before retiring.

Yesterday, Olwen, his wife of 16 years, said: “The birthday flight was excellent. He gave himself nine out of 10. He came home and had a snooze.”He’s also received a card from The Queen to mark the birthday. And on Friday morning he was having a lie-in before heading off for a celebratory lunch.

Johnnie’s book ‘J’ for Johnnie is available for sale at £9.95. It’s about an RAF Bomber Command pilot’s experiences in the war.

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