RAF pilot was an ace at flying and in politics

A former RAF Ace who later became very prominent on the Leamington and national political scene will be laid to rest next month.

John Devine died aged 91 on May 9 at Harrogate General Hospital after he had suffered a fall at his new nursing home in Knaresborough where he had moved to be near his family.

He spent most of his life living in Leamington and had important jobs during both the Second World War and the early days of peace time which followed it.

Mr Devine was only 17 when he started flying in the Royal Air Force - it was 1940 and the tense first year of the war.

He started with the County of Warwick (605) Squadron flying Intruders on missions in France, Holland and Belgium and later went on to serve in the Middle East Air Force flying Mosquitoes in Egypt, North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Italy and Palestine.

Between 1944 and 45, Mr Devine worked as a test pilot at Defford in Worcestershire where he was forced to bail out of a Beaufighter at 17,000ft due to an electrical fire.

Avoiding any injuries, Mr Devine became a member of the Caterpillar Club - an informal association of people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft.

After the war Mr Devine became the youngest political agent in the West Midlands and the youngest agent in the UK to represent a cabinet minister.

He worked for Warwick and Leamington MP Sir Anthony Eden - later Lord Avon - who was Prime Minister for two years from 1955.

Mr Devine’s funeral will take place at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Wetherby in Yorkshire on Wednesday June 4 at 11am.