M.264 First Officer  John Graham 'Jack' Bergel 
flag england   b. 1 Mar 1902, London 2 Mar 1941 to Nov-41 

 

ata john bergel 1934

1934

 

ata john bergel

ATA

   

 

prev. a journalist for the 'London Evening News' from 1925; "no previous employment"

His brother Hugh said: "Jack was nearly four years older than I was, so that we never overlapped at school, and were never quite as close to each other as I would have liked. All his working life had been spent on the London Evening News, which he joined as a cub reporter. By the time he left to join ATA he was, or had been, wireless correspondent, motor-racing correspondent, music critic, Rugby football correspondent, aviation correspondent and writer of the Diary. But for years his main job had been that of Dramatic Critic, and there must be some who can still recall the reviews he wrote over the initials J.G.B."

prev exp. 160 hrs

He originally applied in July 1940: "My brother Hugh tells me that the A.T.A. is still anxious to recruit ferry pilots. As I am despairing, after ten months, of getting into the RAF in any capacity - I've seen three [selection] boards who all lose interest when they find I'm over 30 and wear glasses - I would like to know if I am any good for your service - which sounds disrespectful, I'm afraid, but isn't meant to be."

He added: "I'm nothing like as good a pilot, naturally, as Hugh, but I can find my way; it always was my one aeronautical talent."

[hugh bergel 1928

His brother Hugh had learnt to fly in 1928, and had already joined the ATA]

However, when he turned up for a flight test in September 1940, the report was that "this applicant's standard of flying is so low that he cannot be accepted for ATA duties even on light types".

By January 1941 the ATA had realised that it needed more pilots, even if they had to train them themselves. Accordingly, a second test was arranged for the 19th January; this time he was accepted, and duly started on the 3rd March.

By the 7th November, when he was posted to No 6 FPP, he had satisfactorily passed training courses on Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4 aircraft. Sadly, he was killed a week later.


d. 15 Nov 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Blenheim Z6080 stalled on landing approach to Oulton. He "made his final approach too slowly, particularly having regard to the fact that it was a fully equipped Blenheim IV, with inner and outer tanks full."

[Hugh attributed the accident to a faulty air-speed indicator reading, "caused by water in the system, which in turn was caused by aircraft having to live their lives out in the open through all weathers."]

His mother said of him "Jack's happiest months were spent in the ATA".


 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

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