Major “Josh” Higgins
John Higgins, affectionately known as “Old Bum and Eyeglass” for his jutting rear end and monocle was born in 1875. As a young artillery officer he served in The Boer War in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. An early aviation enthusiast he became one of the first students of the Central Flying School and was immediately seconded to the Royal Flying Corps. He earned the respect and admiration of his pilots as he insisted on flying every new type issued to his squadron to learn all its quirks and strengths, and even in the chaos of the retreat from Mons he managed to keep his squadron supplied with the essentials to fly and to care for his men.
He was wounded in the thigh in October of 1914 and sent back to England. He went on to command III Brigade RFC/RAF and was awarded a permanent commission as a Major General in The RAF in 1919. A series of senior postings followed until his retirement in 1930 after which he worked for an aircraft company in India. He was recalled to take temporary command of the Air Force in India on the outbreak of war in 1939 before retiring permanently at the age of 65 in 1940 and returning to Britain. He died in 1948.