Royal Air Force (RAF) Flight Lieutenant John Wilkinson will be honored at the Premiere of “The Gentleman Next Door,” a short film documenting his WWII experiences this 28 October at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum. The film was produced from narratives and exclusive combat footage obtained during an interview between Wilkinson and aviation artist John Mollison. The film is the 9th in the Old Guys and Their Airplanes series of award-winning documentaries featuring Mollison’s work.
Wilkinson flew combat during the crucial months of the last phase of WWII and provides exceptional insight into the life of an RAF fighter pilot as well as the horrors of war. Though he is officially credited with 4.5 total aerial victories, substantial evidence exists that Wilkinson achieved the coveted “Ace” status of five or more aerial victories. Wilkinson took part in dozens of combat missions and also was an eye-witness to the liberation of the infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. Mollison stated, “Though it’s only about 15 minutes long, this Short is a great look into what it’s like to be with people who’ve seen incredible history, first-hand. It’s rare enough to talk to a WWII veteran but even rarer to learn from someone who was so accomplished.” Wilkinson and Mollison are scheduled to be at the Premiere as well as Dalton Coffey, the award-winning cinematographer who filmed the interview. The Short features original music by South Dakota musician, Clyde Teel and Mollison’s artwork of Wilkinson’s Spitfire Mk.XIV fighter aircraft.
The Premiere will begin at 6:00pm with a chance to meet John Wilkinson afterwards. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to arrive early to insure a seat. Copies of Wilkinson’s biography, “The Lord Is My Shepherd” will be available for purchase. The location of the South Dakota Air & Space Museum is located just outside the main gate of Ellsworth Air Force Base, 2890 Davis Dr, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706. Refreshments will be served before the event. “The Gentleman Next Door” will also Premiere on South Dakota Public Broadcasting, 3 November, 8pm.