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Flying Scholar Pays Tribute to WW2 RAF Relative

Published: 27 Jun 2019

A young flying scholar has paid tribute to her relative John Hopkinson Bracewell DFC in memory of his time as a Lancaster Bomber Pilot in World War 2.

Emma Horn, a recipient of this year's Junior Rank Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) travelled to Berlin in March to pay her respects at the Cemetery Charlottenburg where John and his crew are buried.

Originally from Lancashire, John enlisted as an Aircraftman 2nd Class (AC2) Aircraft hand/Pilot Observer in the Reserves in 1940 before joining No.8 Initial Training Wing the following year.

In September 1943 he joined 12 Squadron at RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire for Flying Duties. By December John had been promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant.

This year marks 75 years since the Royal Air Force pilot was killed in action during the last major bombing raid over Berlin, aged 23 years. Emma and her family paid their respects on the same day that John died.

Emma said: "Paying my respects to my ancestor and all the men who gave their lives that night is something that I will treasure for a long time.

"John inspired me to apply for the JRPSS - his journey from enlisting as an AC2 to becoming a Lancaster Pilot mirrors what the scheme offers - that anyone with the passion and willingness to learn can fly".

Funded by the RAF Charitable Trust and run by the RAF Flying Clubs' Association, the JRPSS teaches thirty under 25s from Regular and Reserving RAF Ranks about Air Law, Meteorology and Navigation, helping them go from zero flight experience to flying an aircraft solo as pilot in command.

All necessary equipment to undertake the training at selected RAF flying clubs is provided through the scholarship, including flying suits and study packs.

Following a recognised syllabus, the training may count towards the award of a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence.

To apply for the scheme, Emma had to complete a lengthy online application detailing her knowledge of, and passion for aviation. Within the two-month window, over 200 applied.

Emma has begun her flying training at RAF Cranwell and has so far completed eight hours.

She said: "My training so far has been both intense and extremely rewarding. Flying isn't easy, but the scheme has provided me with everything I need to succeed.

"I am so grateful I have been given this amazing opportunity and would encourage anybody thinking about applying to go for it - it truly is an experience like no other".

Upon completion of the scholarship, Emma can also apply to the prestigious JRPSS Top-Up-Scheme which provides additional funding for a select number of applicants to continue their flying training and gain their Private Pilot's Licence.

Trust Director Justine Morton said: "The JRPSS embodies our mission to encourage young people to become involved in aviation. Emma's story is a great inspiration and we hope that the scholarship drives her forward to great things".

To keep up-to-date on information for next year's scholarship, visit

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