Haswell, John Hirst Winn B.A. (1898-1983)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN HIRST WINN HASWELL, B.A.: born at Birkenhead on Sth October 1898, of Methodist parents. He became a local preacher at seventeen, and then saw service in the 1914-18 War, first in the Army, and then in the Royal Flying Corps, in which he was commissioned as a pilot and saw active service in France. He offered for the ministry, and was trained at Hartley College. He then served in the London Mission (East) Circuit, in West Africa and in the Manchester IX, Shooter’s Hill and Castletown Circuits.

In 1936 he became a chaplain in the Royal Air Force, and in this capacity spent twenty years exercising a most valued ministry in many parts of the world. He instituted Command Moral Leadership Courses, based in Jerusalem, and many who served in the Royal Air Force at that time testified to the worth of the spiritual guidance he offered. 

In 1956 Winn Haswell resumed circuit work, but quite quickly suffered the loss of his wife Helena, who had been a semi-invalid for a number of years. He served in the Nantwich (Hospital Street) and Attleborough Circuits, with a term as an active supernumerary in the Isle of Wight. In 1958 he married Elena Mathieson, niece of the then Lord Provost of Glasgow, and together they retired to Exmouth six years later. 

Here Winn Haswell became an enthusiastic advocate for “Help The Aged”, as well as engaging in other voluntary work in the community. He also did a “supply” period at Wesley House, Gibraltar, and from his wide experience of Palestine, wrote guide booklets for travel agents, completing a full-length guide for Christian Pilgrims called An Introduction to the Holy Land, first published in 1969.

He felt honoured to be asked to lead the procession at the 60th birthday service for the Royal Air Force, held in Westminster Abbey in 1978, as one of the founder members of the Royal Flying Corps. Ill-health and increasing frailty forced him reluctantly into inactivity, and he died in hospital following a short illness, on 13th March 1983 in the eighty-fifth year of his age and the sixtieth year of his ministry.


John was born on 5 October 1898 at Birkenhead, Cheshire, to parents John Charles Haswell, a paper warehouseman (1911), and Isabella Rowland Jones. His brother Charles was also a PM minister.

He married Helena Susannah Caroline Howell (1890-1957) in early 1926 in the Poplar Registration District, London. Birth records identify one child.

  • Joan Olive (b1929)

He married Elena Mathieson in 1958.

John died on 13 March 1983 at Exeter, Devon.


  • Hartley
  • 1923 London Mission E
  • 1926 W Africa
  • 1928 Manchester IX
  • 1930 Shooters Hill
  • 1933 Castletown
  • 1936 R.A.F. Chaplain
  • 1956 Nantwich Hospital St
  • 1958 Attleborough
  • 1960 Cowes (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1983/65

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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