Image from the Evening Star – 23rd October 1941.

Born: 16th December 1919, at 130, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.

Died: 10th April 1941; age: 20; aircraft failed to return from Dusseldorf.

Residence: 25, Martin Road, Ipswich.

Occupation: an Electrical Salesman – Messrs. Flinders, Ltd., Ipswich.


John join the R.A.F. in 1939. He was about to receive a commission when he was reported missing.


Rank: Sergeant/Pilot; Service Number: 748372.

Regiment: Royal Air Force, 50 Squadron.


Originally laid to rest at Venlo Cemetery, Limburg.


Grave Reference:

  1. F.4.

Jonkerbos War Cemetery,




Father: Robert Ratcliffe, born August 1884, Little Wenham, Suffolk.

Mother: Ruby Ellen Ratcliffe (nee Clarke), born June 1883, Hadleigh, Suffolk.


John was educated at Stoke Junior School and Central School, Tower Ramparts, Ipswich.

He was keenly interested in sport and was captain of the Ipswich Schools’ Football team in the 1933 – 34 season.



John was living with his parents & sisters at their family home – 25, Martin Road, Ipswich.

Robert Ratcliffe, a Loco Engine Driver – London North Eastern Railway.

Ruby, unpaid Domestic Duties.

Ida Ellen Ratcliffe, a Sales Ledger Clerk – Furniture, born July 1910, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. During the Second World War Ida became a Voluntary Telephonist.

Lilian Burston Ratcliffe, an Underwear Silk Cutter, born April 1917, Ipswich.

1 other.


Probate to Robert Ratcliffe – father, an Engine Driver – Railway.


John is also remembered on the war memorial at St Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich.

1st April 1941

Aircraft: Hampden; Serial number: P4409. John was taking off downwind on a solo training flight at Lindholme Airfield. The aircraft swung off the runway and the undercarriage collapsed.

John escaped serious injury. The Hampden was wrecked,

10th April 1941

Aircraft: Hampden; Serial number: AN789 – failed to return from Ops to Dusseldorf.

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