John Levi, 95

Born in 1923 in London, John enjoyed his school days and playing with friends on Hampstead Heath. His Mother, originally from Belgium, had family in France so John spent summers in the French countryside, swimming in the sea and meeting the locals.

In the summer of 1939, John, aged 16, who was on holiday in France at the time, received frantic telegrams from his parents who had remained in London. They requested John travel back to England immediately as the start of World War II had been announced.

John was evacuated to the countryside and spent his time apple picking for sixpence an hour.

When he turned 18 John was excited to volunteer for the RAF. He had originally been accepted to study Science at Oxford University but due to the war this never happened. After completing his basic training, John specialised in radar communications, which in those days was a top secret unit of the RAF.

Excelling in radar communications John was positioned on one of the first mobile radar units. He was posted to Normandy and travelled through Europe to Brussels and eventually in to the Russian occupied zone of Germany. After reaching Germany John decided to volunteer for a high-altitude posting in the French Alps guiding planes in from the Middle East. He lived on the Alps for a year in a small cabin with little home comforts and only a generator for electricity.

It wasn’t all work though. The RAF were generous enough to give the team stationed in the Alps skis, so John enjoyed winters skiing in the Alps when time allowed.

When VE day came, John returned home and was married to his first wife. They had two daughters who have since made John a Grandad to one and Great Grandad to two.

As John grew older and his wife sadly passed away, he decided he would like to live somewhere that could support his health and social needs so decided to move into Abbeyfield House, Radlett, as it was close to his daughters.

Today, John enjoys reading, smoking his pipe and hosting small dinners with his friends.

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