The son of C. A. Griffith of Seattle, Washington, John Sharpe Griffith joined the Royal Flying Corps in July 1917. After training at Toronto, he sailed for England in November 1917. An S.E.5a pilot, he was posted to 60 Squadron in February 1918. Scoring his last victory on 7 July 1918, he was wounded by anti-aircraft fire. Eleven days later, he was forced down near Boity. When the war ended, he flew for the White Russians against the Bolshevics, leaving the Royal Air Force in 1921. A colonel during World War II, he served with the United States Army Air Force, retiring from the United States Air Force in 1956.
The Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, Friday, 21 June 1918, page 1
The Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Saturday, 16 April 1921, page 2
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lieut. John Sharpe Griffith.
During the last few months this officer has destroyed three enemy aeroplanes and assisted in bringing down a fourth; he has, in addition, driven down two balloons and shot down two machines out of control. Whilst leading his patrol at 11,000 ft. altitude he observed three enemy aeroplanes at 2,000 ft.; he immediately dived and led his patrol to the attack, destroying two of the machines, one of which he accounted for himself. A gallant and determined officer.
Flying Officer John Sharpe Griffith, D.F.C.
Between the 5th May and 24th July, 1919, this officer carried out forty bomb raids and reconnaissances, all with great success and generally from a low altitude.
On the 3rd June, 1919, he dived to within 100 feet of the ground and destroyed an enemy balloon, as well as several of its attendants.
When a two-seater machine was not readily available he fitted a camera to his scout, and, although, it is very difficult to take photographs from such machines (and, moreover, he was inexperienced in such work); he succeeded in taking a very good mosaic which proved of great utility to the Commander of the Vologda Force.
Flying Officer Griffith is an intrepid Pilot and a very skilful all-round officer.