John Dowling (RAF officer)

John Dowling
Nickname(s) "Mr Helicopter"[1]
Born (1923-07-05)5 July 1923
Manchester, England
Died July 2000
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1941–1978
Rank Wing Commander
Commands held No. 72 Squadron (1961–62)
Battles/wars Second World War
Berlin Airlift
Malayan Emergency
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Awards Member of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
Air Force Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
A Belvedere helicopter
Dowling used a Bristol Belvedere helicopter to place the spire at Coventry Cathedral

Wing Commander John Reginald Dowling, MBE, DFC & Bar, AFC[2] (5 July 1923 July 2000) was a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer and helicopter pilot famous for placing the spire on the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral on 22 April 1962.[1] He was a Lancaster bomber pilot during the Second World War, and the author of RAF Helicopters: The First Twenty Years, a comprehensive overview of the RAF's early helicopters and their uses.[1]

Dowling was born in Withington Manchester, the son of Dr Stephen Dowling and Mrs Kathleen Dowling (nee Gilmore). One of four children, he was educated at Ampleforth College and practised Catholicism all of his life.


  1. 1 2 3 "Wing Commander John Dowling". The Telegraph. 28 July 2000. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41589. p. 9. 30 December 1958.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/10/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.