John S. Slaney

You don’t have to buy the book They Say There Was a War.


John Samuel Slaney was a Hurricane pilot that was transfered to 247 Squadron after being sent to 535 Squadron. He then went on to fly Typhoons and he survived the war to tell about it.


He was a very lucky pilot because the average number of missions before being killed while flying missions on Typhoons was around 11 or 12 missions. John Samuel Slaney shed a little light on how 535 Squadron was having fun flying alongside Havoc Turbinlites.

John Samuel Slaney wrote his memoirs… Typhoon Pilot.

While searching for it I found this.

Slaney, John S. 87

Formerly of Greensburg

John Samuel Slaney, formerly of Greensburg, passed away peacefully at home in Canonsburg on Sunday, June 22, 2008, at the age of 87. John was a highly decorated World War II RAF fighter pilot who spent the last year of the war as a POW. He was also a world-renowned metallurgist who retired from Latrobe Steel in 1986. John is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; sister, Lillian Mandviwalla, of England; son, Patrick Slaney and his partner, Susan Rice, of Massachusetts; daughter, Victoria Ross and her husband, John Ross, of Pennsylvania; son, Ian Slaney and his wife, Martina, of England; grandsons, Patrick and Alexander Ross and their wives, Allison and Rebecca; grandsons, James and Philip Clark; and great-granddaughter, Brianna Ross. John was a kind and embracing man who will be dearly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. John was born in Birmingham, England, March 1, 1921. At the age of 14, John quit school to provide income for his family after his father passed away. At 18, John attempted to enlist in the military, but was turned away because he was employed as a pattern maker, a trade deemed critical to national security. Later, though, with the cooperation of his employer, he was granted permission. John joined the RAF as a fighter pilot, knowing that the average survival period was less than six months. John matured quickly as a pilot, fighting off the hazards of enemy fire and the high risks of flying single engine Spitfires, Hurricanes and Rocket Typhoons. He eventually advanced to the rank of flight lieutenant, completing 112 sorties between 1941 and 1944, before being shot down over enemy territory in Normandy on June 15, 1944, nine days after D-Day. John finished the war as a POW in Stalag Luft 1 in northern Germany. On returning home to England, John learned that King George had recognized his brave and unwavering service in defense of England by awarding him the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), the highest ranking medal bestowed on a surviving fighter pilot. John then entered London University’s Royal School of Mines to study metallurgy. After graduation, he pursued a career that spanned the globe from South Africa to Canada to New York state and then finally to Western Pennsylvania. In the process, John produced a number of revolutionary products and processes, including several patents for high performance alloys. One alloy developed while working for Special Metals in New York was key to preventing catastrophic failure of jet engine turbine blades due to time-weighted exposure to extremely high temperatures. John’s new alloy was quickly adopted for every new turbine blade manufactured and all existing blades were recalled from the field. Now, more than 40 years later, not one turbine blade has failed in this manner. Above all of John’s talents as a professional, perhaps the most memorable qualities to those who knew him were his kind, generous personality and passion for political change. John was a friend to all. He was always there to offer help to anyone in need, and he fought especially hard to eliminate discrimination, to support human rights, to save the environment, and to support the underprivileged. John was the kindest of fighter pilots. The family asks that in John’s memory, a donation be sent to the charity of your choice.

I know he will be missed…

John S Slaney pictures John S Slaney


9 thoughts on “John S. Slaney

  1. Slight error in the biographic, he didn’t write his memoirs in a book “Typhoon Pilot”, there is however much more detail in “They Say There Was A War”. His most dramatic wartime experiences were with 245 Squadron which flew mostly from Westhampnett, (now Goodwood motor racing circuit). As a Flight Lieutenant he was second in command to Squadron Leader Jack Collins DFC and was leading 245 Squadron a few days after D-Day when he was shot down by ground fire at the lowest recorded hight in WW2. He was captured by the SS division he was attacking, and survived to return in mid 1945.

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