James Edgar Johnson, known as Johnnie, was born on March 9, 1915 at Melton Mowbray. He moved to Barrow upon Soar, and went to Loughborough Grammar School. He then went on to Nottingham University, where he read engineering. He was Britain's most famous WWII fighter pilot and brought notched up the record score of RAF combat victories in North West Europe. The highest scoring RAF fighter pilot to survive the war, he shot down 38 enemy aircraft in the skies over Western Europe between June 1941 and September 1944. This tally is remarkable because Johnson began his operational career after the end of the Battle of Britain, which provided such a rich harvest of combat victories for many of his peers as the Luftwaffe's air fleets attacked virtually day after day. It was much harder to shoot down enemy planes over enemy territory, operations for which the Spitfire was much less suited than it had been to the role of air defence in the summer of 1940. He died on January 30, 2001 aged 85. People in Loughborough, including the Grammar School, as well as in Barrow upon Soar and Nottingham, held services in his memory.
Information researched from Leicester oversees and added to by Daniel Spencer