Squadron Leader John Vincent Clarence Badger DFC (33046) served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Known in the RAF as "Tubby", and born in Lambeth, London, England, he was the son of John A Badger and Violet Badger of Leverogue, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
John attended Belfast Academical Institute and Queen’s University, Belfast before joining the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1928. He passed out in August 1931, and joined RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire, England as a Flight Cadet in September 1931. On 14th July 1933, Badger received the Sword of Honour on his graduation from Cranwell. The following day, he joined RAF 43 Squadron. In 1933, the Royal Air Force supplied Pilots for the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. Badger attended the School of Naval Co-Operation at Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire, England from 3rd October 1934. On 4th May 1935, he joined Fleet Air Arm 821 (Fleet Spotter Reconnaissance) Squadron at Eastleigh, Hampshire, England and went to sea on HMS Courageous.
By 25th October 1937, he had joined the Marine Aircraft Establishment at Felixstowe and as the Second World War loomed on 24th July 1939, he joined Air Staff 12 Group as a Squadron Leader. During the war, on 5th January 1940, he went to 11 Group Pool at St. Athan for a flying refresher course and from there, onto France on 13th January 1940.
On 10th June 1940, he joined RAF 43 Squadron, taking over as Commanding Officer a month later on 9th July 1940. The previous Commanding Officer Squadron Leader CG Lott had been wounded. Between 12th August 1940 and 30th August 1940, during the Battle of Britain, Badger completed 6 kills. The last of those came on 30th August when he too was shot down.
Kills credited to Squadron Leader Badger
|12th July 1940||He 111 (Shared)|
|21st July 1940||Do 17|
|8th August 1940||Bf 109 (Probable)|
|13th August 1940||Ju 88 x 2 (Damaged)|
|14th August 1940||Ju 88 (Destroyed)|
|15th August 1940||Ju 88 (Destroyed)|
|16th August 1940||Ju 87 x 3 (Destroyed)|
|26th August 1940||He 111 (Destroyed)|
|26th August 1940||He 111 (Shared)|
The Squadron leader came down in Hawker Hurricane V6548 at 1735hrs on 30th August 1940. A Messerschmitt Bf 109 enemy fighter shot the RAF 43 Squadron plane down near Woodchurch, Kent, England. Badger sustained serious injuries as a result of baling out and becoming impaled on a tree. He received medical care for almost a year afterward at Ashford Hospital, Kent, England, and Princess Mary’s Hospital, RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire, England. During this time, on 6th September 1940, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts in the Battle of Britain. While undergoing treatment, Badger was further Mentioned in Dispatches on 1st January 1941.
This officer assumed command of a squadron in July 1940, and it is through his personal leadership that the squadron has achieved so many successes since the intensive air operations began. He has been instrumental in destroying six enemy aircraft. In spite of the fact that on three occasions he has returned with his aircraft very badly damaged through enemy cannon fire, he has immediately taken off in another, aircraft to lead his squadron on patrol. Squadron Leader Badger has displayed great courage and resolution.
London Gazette, 6th September 1940.
He died as a result of wounds from the 1940 crash at Princess Mary’s Hospital, RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire, England on 30th June 1941 aged 29 years old. His funeral took place with military honours.
John Vincent Clarence Badger’s grave is in Plot 3, Row B, Grave 111 of St. Michael’s Churchyard, Halton, Buckinghamshire, England. His name is on the Lisburn War Memorial, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. His headstone in England bears the inscription:
Till the day breaks.