J. N. Dobbin MC

Air Ministry, 30th November, 1943.

The KlNG has been graciously pleased to approve the following award:-

Military Cross.

Acting Flight Lieutenant John Nicholas DOBBIN (67733),
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Acting as an assistant military landing officer, Flight Lieutenant Dobbin landed with assault troops on one of the beaches in Italy. The beach was under heavy fire from enemy guns and mortars. Realising the urgency of establishing the beach, Flight Lieutenant Dobbin started the organisation in a most prompt and praiseworthy manner and it was due to his efforts that immediately the first vehicles arrived, they were landed and despatched to the assembly area. Later, though wounded by cannon fire from an enemy aircraft, this officer refused to leave his duties. Throughout the whole operation he displayed fine courage and leadership.

(See London Gazette Issue 36267 at

John Nicholas Dobbin was originally commissioned in the R.A.F.’s Balloon Branch. He transferred to the Administrative and Special Duties Branch as a Flying Officer on 15th February 1943. As an Acting Flight Lieutenant he won his M.C. at Salerno in September 1943 with the R.A.F. Component of No. 35 Beach Brick and he returned to the U.K. from the Mediterranean in December 1943.

He was an officer of No. 4 R.A.F. Beach Unit when it was formed in January 1944 and then, in March 1944, he was posted to No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Unit (soon renamed No 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron). On joining No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Unit, he was appointed officer commanding No. 101 Beach Section and was promoted to the rank of Acting Squadron Leader. For his leadership of this unit (renamed No. 101 R.A.F. Beach Flight) in the invasion of Normandy it was announced, on 1st January 1945, that he had been Mentioned in Despatches.

Alan Melville, who was attached to No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron and landed on D-Day in Normandy, wrote this about Squadron Leader Dobbin:

Dobby was an amazing man. He had earned an M.C. at Salerno, and was very much au fait with mornings such as this – without becoming an invasion bore about it. He brimmed over with energy, and he more or less ran our sector of the beach in the first few days. Somehow or other he always contrived to look immaculate when the rest of us were plastered in inches of filth over our clothes and bodies. He carried a stick always, and stampeded over the beach nosing out any signs of inefficiency or delay in getting stuff unloaded or sent inland. Actually, such matters were none of his business at all, as no R.A.F. stores had yet arrived on our sector, but in spite of that Dobby tore around for sixteen hours a day and raised general Cain.

 “First Tide”, by Alan Melville, Skeffington & Son, 1945, p30-31

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