Lt Francis Richard Johnson (The Vicar)

 In Characters

While squadron records confirm Lt Johnson began flying with 100 Squadron as late as April, 1918, he completed as many as 31 sorties (missions) by the time he was shot down over Germany with Chainey and Pitman on September 16, 1918. Johnson hailed from Cumner Vicarage, Oxford; while there exists remarkably little data on his service records, it is likely he was the son of a vicar, and himself attending seminary school during the time of the Great War.

In the story line, Johnson is portrayed as a stick-to-the-rules type who best operates in an orderly environment, yet as he teams up with many observer/gunners his demeanor necessarily loosens up. In their typically light manner and due to his family background, his fellow flyers award Johnson the appropriate nickname, The Vicar, a takeoff on the more serious Sky Pilot, or squadron military chaplain.

He was chosen by 100 Squadron CO to operate on the first bombing raid deep into Frankfort, Germany in the new Handley Page O/400, with observer Chainey and gunner Pitman, a testament to his high performance record.  Yet when shot down with minutes to determine a course of escape, Johnson largely defers to his observers for direction.

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