John Alan Quinton GC

Name: John Alan Quinton

Conflict: Peacetime

Gazetted: October 23, 1951

Service: Royal Air Force

John Alan Quinton GC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Brockley, London/February 2, 1921

Rank when awarded GC (and later highest rank): Flight Lieutenant

Date of bravery: August 13, 1951

London Gazette citation:

Flight Lieutenant John Alan Quinton, D.F.C. (115714), Royal Air Force, No. 228 Operational Conversion Unit

On August the 13th, 1951, Flight Lieutenant Quinton was a Navigator under instruction in a Wellington aircraft which was involved in a mid-air collision. The sole survivor from the crash was an Air Training Corps Cadet who was a passenger in the aircraft, and he has established the fact that his life was saved by a supreme act of gallantry displayed by Flight Lieutenant Quinton who in consequence sacrificed his own life. Both Flight Lieutenant Quinton and the cadet were in the rear compartment of the aircraft when the collision occurred. The force of the impact caused the aircraft to break up and as it was plunging towards the earth out of control Flight Lieutenant Quinton picked up the only parachute within reach and clipped it on to the cadet’s harness. He pointed to the rip cord and a gaping hole in the aircraft, thereby indicating that the cadet should jump. At that moment a further portion of the aircraft was torn away and the cadet was flung through the side of the aircraft clutching his rip cord, which he subsequently pulled and landed safely. Flight Lieutenant Quinton acted with superhuman speed, displaying the most commendable courage and self-sacrifice as he well knew that in giving up the only parachute within reach he was forfeiting any chance of saving his own life. Such an act of heroism and humanity ranks with the very highest traditions of the Royal Air Force, besides establishing him as a very gallant and courageous officer who, by his action displayed the most conspicuous heroism.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: DFC

Place/date of death: Near Richmond, North Yorkshire/August 13, 1951

Grave/memorials: Headstone, St Augustine’s Church, Leeming Bar, Yorkshire; name on Armed Forces Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire; Quinton Trophy, RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire; Quinton room and building, RAF Leeming; name on Rolls of Honour and on plaque at Clement St Danes, London; Quinton GC Building, 1869 (Middlesbrough) Squadron, ATC HQ, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire; plaque at Whetstone Congregational Church

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2013

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum