Roath Virtual War Memorial: I


Pilot Officer, 600 Squadron, Royal Air Force (Service Number: 90721)

John Issac was the first British serviceman to die on active service in WWII, less than two hours after war had been declared.  He was born John Noel Laughton Isaac in Dinas Powis on 10 Dec 1910 to Wilfred John Isaac, a provisions merchant originally from Cardiff and Rosalind Mary Isaac nee Featherstonhaugh originally form  Wandsworth, London.  In 1939 his parents lived in 14 Cyncoed Avenue, Cardiff.  John attended Magdalen College School in Oxford before going on to study for a history degree at Jesus College, Oxford.  He was a keen rower and was stroke in the college boat Torpid in 1930.  In 1932 he graduated  and moved to London to become an articled clerk where he continued to row for the Thames Rowing Club.  He passed his Law Society Final exams in 1935 and then joined the law firm Clifford-Turner & Co, London and within four years became a partner at firm specialising in company law.  He was granted a commission with 600 Squadron as Acting Pilot Officer on 12 Jan 1939 based at Hendon, London.  He was killed at 12.35hrs on 9 Sep 1939 aged 28 when the twin-engine Bristol Blenheim aircraft he was flying crashed into houses in Heading Street, Hendon.  He was on only his second solo flight in a Blenheim, notorious for having its controls in awkward positions.  He had been asked to practice single engine landings at RAF Hendon.  The accident was described as ‘avoidable’ given that he had been ordered to carry out a manoeuvre that even experienced pilots of twin-engine aircraft were warned against.  He is remembered on a plaque at Golders Green Crematorium, north London.  He has been remembered in a number of articles in the Law Society Gazette 1, 2, 3.   Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

John N L Isaac


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