b. 27/11/1921 Paisley, Scotland. d. 07/06/1947 Markfield, Leicestershire.
Born in Paisley and educated at Bankhead Primary School and Victoria Drive Secondary School, Glasgow, Hannah joined the Royal Air Force in 1939. After training as a wireless operator was promoted sergeant in 1940. He was attached to No. 83 Squadron, flying Handley Page Hampden bombers as a wireless operator/gunner. He was 18 years old, and a sergeant in No. 83 Squadron, Royal Air Force during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 15 September 1940 over Antwerp, Belgium, after a successful attack on German barges, the Handley Page Hampden bomber (serial P1355) in which Sergeant Hannah was wireless operator/air gunner, was subjected to intense anti-aircraft fire, starting a fire which spread quickly. The rear gunner and navigator had to bail out and Sergeant Hannah could have acted likewise, but instead he remained to fight the fire, first with two extinguishers and then with his bare hands. He sustained terrible injuries, but succeeded in putting out the fire and the pilot was able to bring the almost wrecked aircraft back safely.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM, HENDON.
BURIAL PLACE: ST JAMES THE GREAT CHURCH, BIRSTALL, LEICESTERSHIRE.
John Hannah's VC and his flight mask displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon (Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Yorkshire Air Museum (Stewart May)
Newspaper cuttings courtesy of Brian Drummond