The War Graves of St Catherines,
Barmby-on-the-Moor, East Riding, Yorkshire
These pages are a work in progress, check back soon for more information
Barmby Moor War Dead - Crews Page
This page lists out research carried out in relation to the men who served & died as crews of the Air Force during WW2 and who are buried at Barmby Moor.
If you havent already you can read the introduction to this project via this link
Note - This page also includes an index of names
Due to the size of the project it has been broken down over several pages. These include a page for Crews & a page for Individuals.
Please get in touch via the email link below if you have either connections or a special interest in this project.
Handley Page Halifax II - W7879 – 102 Squadron
On 11th February 1943 the Crew were detailed to carry out an operation along with 5 other Aircraft from 102 Squadron to attack Wilhelmshaven
On Board were: -
Sgt HER Saunders – Pilot
Sgt Hill - 2nd Pilot
F/O H Farquharson-Ley – Navigator
Sgt AW Flansburgh Washbourne - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Sgt MN Reilly – Air Gunner
Sgt F Cooper – Air Gunner
Sgt T Coles – Flight Engineer
Sgt HE Amos – Air Bomber
The Operational report states that they took off at 1808hrs and crashed near to North Dalton at 1840hrs. The crew sent a radio message to the base stating ‘Returning to Base Engine U/S’. It goes on to mention that all the Crew were killed with the exception of the 2nd Pilot Sgt Hill who was treated at Driffield for Severe Concussion.
The Pocklington War Diary book states that this aircraft returned from the operation early as the engine was on fire, that it was too low to jettison the bomb load or for the crew to bale out.
The raid on Wilhelmshaven is said to be an important one in which a total of 177 aircraft were despatched. The raid was said to be effective and although cloudy that night bombing was carried out accurately blowing up the Mariensiel Naval Ammunition Depot to the South of Wilhelmshaven, this resulted in the explosion causing widespread damage to the naval dockyards and town. This raid would be the first blind bombing success for the new H2S Radar device
The Aircraft itself had been delivered originally to 76 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse in September/ October of 1942 before being reallocated to 102 squadron
The investigation into the crash details that 30 minutes after take-off and 5 minutes after the Pilot Sgt Saunders had reported over the radio that one engine had failed and they were returning to base the aircraft crashed 3 miles from the base at Pocklington.
The 2nd Pilot and sole survivor of the crash Sgt Hill reported that he had heard Sgt Saunders report over the intercom that the engine had failed and that he was returning to base, this was followed by the order to Jettison the bombs. The aircraft however had crashed with a full bomb load.
Witnesses on the ground reported that the Aircraft had been seen to make a turn to port over the village of North Dalton from which it did not recover.
The wreckage was examined and it was found that the port outer engine was found to be feathered and revealed an internal coolant leak (Feathering meant that the propeller blades on the failed engine would be rotated parallel to the airflow to stop the propeller rotating and therefore reduce drag, ultimately this should help in maintaining the aircrafts speed and altitude with the operative engines)
Therefore, the primary cause of the accident was considered to be an error of judgement on the Pilots part, who following the failure of the port outer engine lost control of the aircraft whilst turning into the dead engine at low altitude. A contributory cause was probably the known bad handling characteristics of this type of aircraft and under these conditions.
Sergeant Harold Edward Richard Saunders - Pilot
Harold Saunders was 26 years old when he died in the crash. Born circa 1917 to John William Theodore & Marie Saunders.
His Father John had been born in Croydon, England in 1883 and worked his way up through the Merchant Navy qualifying as First Mate, Second mate then as a Master in 1911.
A passenger record in 1933 shows John & Marie sailing from Yokohama to Plymouth in England. This record states that they had travelled from Penang and were destined for England. They were travelling with the P&O Steam Navigation Company who shipped Mail, Cargo & Passengers between the UK, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, India the Far East & Australia. This shows their last country of residence as F.M.S. (Federated Malay States) a country that is mentioned on Harold’s Commonwealth War Graves entry.
Harold appears to have enrolled with the British RAF Volunteer Reserves when he was given the service number 785073
On the 26th February 1943 Harold’s local newspaper where he lived in East Fremantle, Western Australia recorded his death stating he had been killed during air operations.
The Electoral Roll for 1943 shows his parents living at 25 Herbert Street, North Fremantle his father still working as a Mariner, it may be that the family moved to Australia early in the war due to troubles in Malaya
Harold has a street named after him at Pocklington. ‘Saunders Crescent’ sits at the end of Amos Drive which is the main estate road off West Green.
Flying Officer H Farquharson Ley – Navigator
Henry Farquharson Ley was born on the 29th November 1920 at Ashcombe Cottage, Edenbridge, Kent. He is detailed on the Commonwealth War Graves website as being the son of Henry & Marguerite Farquharson Ley. A Search for his parents’ marriage reveals that Mabel Farquharson married Henry Ley or Levy in St Giles in 1914. The couple had previously had a daughter Isabel on 24th January 1917.
The entry in the 1939 Register shows Marguerite Widowed and working as a Secretary/Book Keeper, she is living at 31 Elmcourt Road, Lambeth, London along with her daughter Isabel who is working as a Ledger Clerk.
Henry Joins the RAF Volunteer Reserves where he is given the Service Number 121554, on the 19th May 1942 he is promoted to the Rank of Sergeant. By the 19th November of the same year he became a probationary Flying Officer.
Henry was only 22 year old when he died, his will detailed that he lived at 15 Harpenden Road, West Norwood, London. He left a sum of £75 2s to his mother.
His sister Isabel does not seem to have married and died in 1986 in Surrey she appears to have spent the remainder of her years living at Hydon End, Hambleton.
Sergeant Alvah Wilkie Flansburgh Washbourne - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Alvah Wilkie Flansburgh Washbourne was born circa 1918 in Auckland, New Zealand to Francis Herbert Flansburgh & Katie Isobel Wan.
Alvah’s father Francis was an American born in Florida in 1880 he moved to New Zealand in 1902 he became a citizen in 1927 and at this time he worked as a Motor Engineer.
Francis married Katie on 3rd November 1910 in Harewa, New Zealand. It appears that at this point their surname changed from Flansburgh to Flansburgh-Washbourne as all their children bear this surname. They also had 2 daughters Alva Shirley born 1912 and Loraine Jean born 1920.
It would appear that in about the year 1933 Francis & Katie would divorce, both marrying again. Katie to Frederick William Bruce in 1934 and Francis to Marjorie Florence Baker in 1936.
However it seems that things might not have been very amicable between Francis & Katie. After their divorce, Francis now a Company Manager often seemed to miss maintenance payments for his children resulting in warrants being issued for his arrest, he would later appear in court and either have to pay the outstanding monies or serve a period in Jail.
Alvah or ‘Dick’ as he was known to Friends and Family got engaged in March 1941 to Olga Madeline Wilcox of Ponsonby, New Zealand in the same month he lost his father Francis to Myocardial Degeneration.
Dick undertook his initial training in New Zealand and was given the Service No NZ411796 before departing on board the ship ‘Awatea’ on the 29th April 1941 to Canada. First he attended No 6 Air Observers School, Saskatchewan graduating on 3rd January 1942 before training at No 3 Bombing & Gunnery School in Manitoba then No 1 Air Navigation School also Manitoba. From here he would have travelled to Britain to take up his first posting.
Interestingly his sister Loraine signed up serving with the WAAFs (Womens Auxiliary Air Force) during WW2.
Dick was only 24 years old when he died in the crash. The local papers would report on his death and each member of his family along with his fiancée Olga who had patiently awaited his return would each place a notice in the newspaper detailing their loss.
His mother Katie would live to 89 years old dying in 1974, she is buried in Queenstown Central Cemetery in Otago
Sergeant Michael Norman Reilly – Air Gunner
Michael Norman Reilly was born on the 23rd of July 1922 in Govan, Glasgow to Thomas Reilly & Jessie Ernestina Christie. His parents had married on the 14th September 1921 in Aberdeen at this time Thomas was a Commercial Traveller and Jessie was a Housekeeper both living in Aberdeen.
3 years later records show that the family have moved to Bridgeton in Glasgow, Thomas has changed his employment and is now working as a Confectioner. But tragedy would strike on the 6th Sept 1925 when Jessie died of Lobar Pneumonia aged 34 years.
At 3 years old the little red head known by his family as ‘Norman’ would be taken care of by family to allow his father to work, this was a duty carried out by many family members when anyone lost a mother during this time period.
By 1930 his father Thomas had moved to Methil in Fife where he was working as a Colliery Engine Keeper and on the 17h July of that year in Edinburgh he would marry Christina Hutton Reid a Domestic Servant.
Thomas & Christina would go on to have 2 Sons David & Thomas and 2 daughters Margaret & Mary, all half siblings of Norman.
Norman went on to join the Air Training Corps in Leven, Fife and for a time lodged with a Mr & Mrs Alexander Cruickshanks at Methilhaven Road, Methil in Fife.
It was about February 1942 that he Joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, was given the Service number 1559119 and trained as an Air Gunner.
He had only carried out about 6 operations with 102 Squadron when this accident happened. His death certificate states that he died due to war operations, he was just 20 years old.
Norman is commemorated on Methil war memorial and had street names Reilly Way in Barmby Moor & Reilly Mews in Pocklington named in his honour
Methil War Memorial
Sergeant Trevor Charles Coles – Flight Engineer
Trevor Charles Coles was born in 1920 in Cardiff to James Coles & Ada John. His parents having married in 1911. They had had sons John in 1912 & Leonard in 1914 before Trevor came along, followed by a daughter Joan in 1926.
Trevor appears to have started his Career working as a porter with Great Western Railways at Cardiff. But, in January 1936 he is detailed as being a successful candidate having passed the examination for entry into the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice subject to passing the medial exam. I was unable to find anything that stated if he did or didn’t pass this.
By 1939 his family are staying at Cowbridge Road, Cyntwell, Cardiff. His Father James is working as a General Labourer/Roadman, Mother Ada is carrying out Domestic Duties and his Brother John Maurice who is a Hotel porter is living there with his wife Dorothy (Harris) and their young son John who is 3 years old.
It seems probable that Trevor may have been drafted into Bomber Command as the War progressed and trained as a Flight Engineer. His Service number was 569527
Trevor was only 22 years old when he lost his life in the crash.
Not 6 months after Trevor’s death the family would sadly lose Trevor’s older Brother John Maurice Coles who had been serving as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery (172 Field Regiment) in North Africa, he was 31 years old when he died and was buried in Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Sergeant Henry Edwin Amos – Air Bomber
Henry Edwin Amos was born in 27th February 1920 in Islington, England to Ernest Lambert Edgar Amos, a Chef & Maud Jubilee Gardner. His parents had married in 1906 in Islington.
Ernest & Maud raised their young family in Islington and by 1939 were staying at 347 Liverpool Road, Islington. Henry is still living at home where his occupation is given as an Aircraft Milling Setter.
Records show that he enlisted in the RAF at Oxford sometime after November 1940 and was given the Service No 1320473.
He was 22 years old when he lost his life that day in Yorkshire.
His father died aged 74 in 1958 and his mother lived untill she was 94 years old dying in 1981.
Amos Drive in Pocklington would be named after Henry, it sits just off West Green
Sergeant Brian Hill - 2nd Pilot
Although Brian Hill survived the crash he would sadly lose his life later in the war whilst serving with 355 Squadron. He was 28 years old and died on the 2nd May 1945, his service no was 163701 and he is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.
Sergeant Frank Cooper – Air Gunner
Frank Cooper was 20 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Thomas Francis & Hannah Cooper, & husband of Hazel Cooper, of Dwygyfylchi, Carnarvonshire. His Service No is 1546822 and he was buried in Swinton Cemetery.
Vickers Wellington II - W5589 - 405 Squadron
On the 5th January 1942 the crew took off from Pocklington at 0928hrs on a routine air test flight following orders from the Flight Commander, Squadron Leader Fauquier & prior to an operation due that evening. At the time of take-off Intermittent snow showers were reported.
On board were:-
Sgt O.B. LeFurgey - RCAF – 1st Pilot
Sgt P Wityck - RACF – 2nd Pilot
Sgt J.D. Garrow – RAAF – Air Observer
Sgt W.A. Robertson – RCAF – 1st Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Sgt J.B. Gayfer – RCAF – Air Gunner
Sgt M.P.F. Robson, RCAF (Wireless Operator) should also have been on the flight but had missed the transport that would take the crew to the aircraft. He was sadly killed on operations the following month.
It was reported that the Aircraft developed engine trouble & crashed at 1015 hrs whilst trying to force land near to an artillery range at Strensall (5 miles from York).
An inquiry into the accident was carried out at Pocklington the following day with witness statements being examined. These included several members of 405 Squadron including ground crew, a flight Lieutenant from Pocklington air base, a private from the Pioneer Corps & a civilian postman.
It was reported that the Aircraft had been examined the previous afternoon by ground crew who reported it serviceable. Prior to take off the fitter & then Sgt LeFurgey had ‘ran up’ both engines & both were satisfied. The ground crew mechanic was also satisfied with the Engines & said that Sgt LeFurgey was very particular in checking things as he had previously worked as ground crew.
Sgt Lefurgey is reported as having a total of 168 hours flying time under his belt by this point & was described by the Squadron leader as being above average as a pilot & very keen.
It was the opinion of the enquiry that the port engine had caught fire in the air necessitating a forced landing. The aircraft crashed on landing due to either bad visibility during the snow storm or due to damage of the aircraft due to fire rendering it uncontrollable. It was thought that the aircraft hit the ground at a 45° angle with both engines making holes about 3 feet deep in the ground, it then appears to have gone over onto its back & exploded scattering pieces over a large area making examination difficult
A Private of the Pioneer corps who was working at Strensall at the time saw the aircraft go by & said that there were flames coming from the left side & that it didn’t appear to be running well.
The Merlin Engine was sent off to Rolls Royce for examination
The death entries for all men just state that they died due to war operations.
All were buried at Barmby Moor on the 8th January in a service lead by the Rev E.M. Parry, the Chaplain from Pocklington Station.
Sergeant Osborne Bayfield LeFurgey – 1st Pilot
Osborne Bayfield LeFurgey was born on the 28th February 1909 at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada to John LeFurgey, a Farmer & Margaret Ross.
Osborne grew up in Summerside with siblings William, Minnie, John & Havelock.
He joined the Cadet corps for a period of 4 years between 1920 & 1924 before training with the Canadian Officer Training Corps between 1924 & 1927. He then spent a brief period serving with the Prince Edward Island Regiment Lighthorse (a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Forces) before moving onto the Royal Canadian Air Forces based at Camp Borden where he served between 1927 & 1928.
He also attended Alcadia & Dalhoustie universities for a period of 5 years studying Engineering, played professional Hockey with the Boston Tigers, working in Auto sales & Service with Bruce Stewart Ltd before making the move to work self employed as a General Contractor.
On the 10th July 1931 at Summerside he would marry Katherine Irma Gordon, they would have 3 boys Robert Hudson born 1932, William Ross born 1933 & Donald Alfred born 1934 the family would settle in Alberton, Prince Edwards Island
Given his experience it was not surprising that Osbourne would enlist with the Royal Canadian Air Force 2 months after war was declared. He enlisted on the 12th December & was given the Service No R/50333 & the rank of Leading Aircraftman. On joining he is described as 30 years old, 5ft 5 inch in height, dark brown hair, hazel eyes & a medium complexion. He declared on entry that he had previous flying experience, flying in Massachusetts in the USA.
Later in December Osborne would write a letter asking to apply for either a short service commission or to be considers as a non-commissioned officer. He was currently serving as an Aero Engine Mechanic & felt that he was better suited as a pilot as he had previously clocked up 80 hours’ time whilst stationed at Camp Borden, he further stressed that he had varied military experience & had studied Engineering & asks that he be considered for any new appointments.
He received a letter acknowledging his request which stated that no appointments were available but that they would notify him of any openings.
Communication from senior officers within the Air Force reveals that Lefurgey was put forward for consideration as a pilot as it was felt that he would be more valuable to the Air Force as a pilot & not an Aircraftsman & that as an Aircraftsman he was quite discontented. This Communication makes mention that he had been advised by the recruiting officer that the best way to be considered for a pilot’s course was to join as a tradesman in spite of the fact that he was over the recommended age for pilots. On account of this it was fed back to the recruitment office not to make such promises in the future.
By April of 1940 Osborne is still working as a mechanic whilst the debate about his suitability as a pilot continues. He now has the recommendation of senior officers to be considered & if still deemed to be over age then perhaps he be considered as a training instructor.
In July LeFurgey writes a letter to his senior officers asking for a transfer to the RAF as a Pilot. He states that he is now 31 years of age & is not being considered as a pilot in the RCAF as he is over the recommended age of 28 years old. He is unhappy as a fitter & only ever enlisted to fly & wished to transfer immediately.
Later that month a request is made for Lefurgey to transfer to the RAF as a pilot & that if such a transfer is not possible that he be discharged & then be considered for the British Commonwealth training plan on the basis his age would not be held against him in light of his previous flying experience.
The response? That in light of his experience he be considered for Aircrew!
Whilst in training Osborne would be involved in 2 accidents one through carelessness & the other through inexperience. The first on the 10th February 1941 resulted in cuts to both hands & his forehead & the other on the 18th February 1941 which occurred at Cambellville, Ontario would leave him with a broken jaw, loss of some of his upper teeth & a laceration of the mucous membrane. He had to undergo a surgical operation & took about 2 months to recover.
But nothing stopped Osborne & he was awarded his pilots flying badge on the 23rd May 1941. His training record details that he made good progress & was good at aerobatics, was good Pilot material & above average. It also states that with further training he should without difficulty reach the officer rank. Although suggested for a fighter squadron another instructor felt he would be better with heavier machines.
He was promoted to Sergeant 5 days later & carried out further flying training at 22 Operational Training Unit in Warwickshire before moving to 405 Squadron in September of 1941
Osborne had served with the RCAF for just over 2 years when he was killed at the age of 32 years old the report within his service record states that he suffered multiple injuries & burns.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton. He was awarded the 39/45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, War Medal & Canadian Voluntary Service Medal & Clasp.
Sergeant Peter Wityck – 2nd Pilot
The son of Polish parents Peter Wityck was born on the 2nd February 1922 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. His parents were Peter Wityck & Ksenia Bratsz. His father Peter had first moved to Cleveland Ohio before settling in Canada where he married Ksenia (Jennie) on the 28th May 1912.
Peter grew up in Brandon along with his parents & 3 sisters. He attended Central Brandon & Earl Haig Schools before attending Brandon Collegiate & Brandon College where he undertook a General Studies course. His report card from Brandon Collegiate shows that he gained mostly ‘A’s in his subjects, this is further backed up by a reference supplied by them which states that Peter is an above Average student with a cheerful good nature & general good character.
The family attended the Salvation Army where Peter was a Solider. He served with the Citadel Band as a drummer. The officer in Charge spoke very highly of him in his reference stating he was reliable, honest & trustworthy.
His father who was the Head Porter in the Prince Edward Hotel managed to get him a job to keep him occupied over the summer months as a Bell boy. A lover of sports he enjoyed Baseball, Rugby, Swimming & Skating.
He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at Brandon on 1st June 1940 & was given the Service no R/80002 at this time he was considered for Aircrew as either a Pilot or Air Observer. He was only 18 years old when he enlisted & is described as 5 ft 8 inches tall, light brown hair, hazel eyes & pale complexion.
Peter went through his initial Air Force Training before commencing training as a pilot. He was promoted to Sergeant (Pilot) in May 1941 on completion of his flight training. He was described as a Good Student & Average Pilot.
He was transferred to 22 Operational Training Unit in Warwickshire in July of 1941 before moving to 405 Squadron in October 1941 he was just 19 year old when he died. He is commemorated on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.
His father who had been ill during the war passed away in 1946, following this his mother would move to Vancouver with her 3 daughters, where she died in 1978.
Peter comes across as such a bright young man who would have gone far in life had he not lost his life at such a young age. The Wityck family still feel a great sense of loss for Peter & are so thankful that in spite of the fact that they live in Canada others remember him & take the time to visit his grave.
Sergeant James David Garrow – Air Observer
James David Garrow was born on the 4th September 1920 in Dalby, Queensland, Australia to Peter Garrow, a Tailor & Helena Ester Herbert. His parents had previously married in 1906 at Goulburn, New South Wales.
James’ father Peter was a Scotsman from Banffshire who had gone to work at sea before returning to the UK to learn his trade as a Tailor on Bond Street in London. He made the decision to move to Australia in 1899 settling in New South Wales & later moved to Dalby where he ran his tailoring business.
Peter & Helena would also have children Alexander Herbert born 1907, Jean Heather born 1908, Jessie Anderine born 1914 & Donald George Born 1916.
James attended Dalby State School before moving to Toowoomba Boys Grammar School & was a member of the cadets there between 1936 & 1937
By 1932 the family are staying at Archibald Street in Dalby but sadly on 18th October of the following year Peter Garrow would pass away aged 55 years.
Peter Garrow was a prominent figure in the community & had for a time had been a member of Dalby Town Council, Mayor from 1924-27, assisted with the local church where he served as a session clerk for 19 years along with so many other local activities & responsibilities
James would work as a Clerk within his Brothers dry cleaning business between 1938 & 1940 & also served for a year as a Lewis Gunner with the 61 Battalion Queensland Cameron Highlanders which he left to join the Air Force.
James enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on the 13th September 1940, he was given the Service no 404529. At the time of his enlistment he was residing at Ormond Street, Ascot. On joining he declared he had only ever been charged with one traffic breach for passing a stationery tram when he was fined £1. He is described at 5ft 4 inches, Brown Hair & Eyes & a dark complexion. He gave his hobbies as Swimming, Horse riding & Tennis.
He carried out his initial Air Force Training at Bradfield Park, New South Wales before transferring to
complete his Air Observer Training in Edmonton, Canada. On completion he then trained in Bombing & Air Gunnery at Mossbank, Saskatchewan, then again transferred to Rivers, Manitoba to undertake Air Navigation Training.
He was promoted to Sergeant in May of 1941 & transferred to England in July of that year where he joined 22 Operational Training Unit in Warwickshire. By October he had joined 405 Squadron based at Pocklington.
James was only 21 years old when he died, his mother was sent a letter dated the 9th January advising her of his death. His name is listed on the Australian War Memorial in Campbell, Australia.
He was awarded the Air Observers badge, 1939/45 War Medal & Air Crew Europe Star, all of which would have been sent onto his family along with his belongings.
His mother Helena would pass away on the 20th February 1955.
Sergeant William Alan Robertson – 1st Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
William Alan Robertson was born on the 15th August 1913 in Reston, Manitoba to Joshua Kines Robertson, an Electrician & Elizabeth Bulloch.
His parents had previously married at Pipestone, Manitoba on the 19th April 1911.
In 1916 & 1921 Censuses the family are residing in Pipestone & by 1921 another son Errol has been born.
William known by friends & Family as Alan attended Reston Public School before moving to Reston collegiate. He commenced employment with the Bank of Montreal in 1930 & whilst there studied courses in Banking, Bookkeeping & Accounting which allowed him to progress with his career as Teller, Bookkeeper later rising to the post of Accountant.
In his spare time, he enjoyed shooting, tennis, golf, curling, skating & hockey
Alan enlisted for Air duties with the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 13th April 1940 & was given the Service No R/59266. He is described as 5 ft 9 inches in height, dark brown hair, brown eyes & a ruddy complexion, he is detailed as having a Gunshot wound on the back of his left hand which caused no issues. He received glowing references from both his Employer & the local Police Department in Gladstone.
He carried out his initial training in Toronto before attending courses in Wireless operation in Montreal & then Bombing & Gunnery training at Jarvis Air Training School.
Early in 1941 & weeks before he would leave the country for further training, he was given permission by the Air Force to marry Marjorie Johnston in Toronto on 20th January 1941.
He initially transferred to Rest pool in Halifax before travelling to the personnel reception centre in the UK in February 1941. He trained briefly with 1 Operational Training unit at Silloth before moving to Signal School at Cranwell then 22 Operational Training Unit.
He transferred to 405 Squadron in August 1941 & was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1st September 1941
Only 28 years old when he died at this time his home address was given as 53 Rose Park Drive, Toronto. He is commemorated on the Canadian War Memorial at Nanton & Gladstone War Memorial. His local newspaper detailed that he had carried out raids in Berlin, France & Norway.
Sergeant John Burton Gayfer – Air Gunner
John Burton Gayfer was born on the 9th December 1919 in Ingersoll, Ontario to John Ernest Gayfer, a Druggist & Eva Mildred Sudworth. John & Eva had previously married in Ingersoll on the 27th June 1901 & would go on to have daughters Dorothy Louise in 1902, Margaret Beverly in 1906 & Mildred Frances in 1916 before having John who would be known by the family as Bud.
The family lived at Oxford Street in the town & John ran the local Drug Store where Bud would start to train as a Druggist from 1938.
Bud enlisted in the Royal Canadian Airforce on 22nd September 1939 & was given the Service No R/18039A. He was described as 5 ft 9 inches tall, fair hair, blue eyes & fair complexion. He carried out his initial training in London, Toronto & Air Gunning Training in Ottawa.
He transferred to the UK in June of 1940 taking up a post in 112 Squadron (Fighters) before moving to 110 Squadron (Bombers), then 400 Squadron before settling in at 405 Squadron in Pocklington in August 1941.
Bud was only 22 years old when he died & is commemorated on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton & the Cenotaph at Ingersoll. He was awarded the 39/45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Defence & War Medals & the Canadian Volunteer Medal & Clasp.
Notification of his death was sent to his mother in Ingersoll along with an Uncle Mr M Daniels of Nottingham, England.
Buds mother would die in 1952 & his father 1962, both are buried in Ingersoll Rural Cemetery.
Miles Magister - L8162 – 405 Squadron
On the 4th April 1942 Squadron Leader (Pilot) John ‘Jack’ McCormack & Flight Lieutenant William Hugh Featherston (Air Observer) took out the Station Magister.
The Aircraft crashed near to Barmby Moor in the afternoon at about 1600hrs killing both Airmen. The accident report states that the aircraft was taken out on a practice flight & whilst completing aerobatic maneuverers it dived vertically into the ground having failed to complete a slow roll at low altitude the accident was declared an error of judgement. The result was that operational pilots became restricted to the type of aircraft flown by their squadrons.
Squadron Leader John McCormack – Pilot
John McCormack was born on the 28th September 1920 in York, Ontario, Canada to Leroy ‘Roy’ Meredith McCormack & Helen Dodds & was known by family & friends as Jack.
By the 1921 Census the family including an older sister Ethel are living at 59 Kane Ave, York, Ontario & Jacks Father Roy is a working as a teacher. It also shows that his mother Helen has Scottish roots having been born in Edinburgh, Scotland. A younger brother William would be born in 1924.
Jacks father Roy had served in the 1st World War initially with the Canadian Army before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps where he reached the rank of Lieutenant serving in England & France & clocked up over 230 hours flying time. It was during this time that he married Jacks mother Helen in 1918 in Paddington, London. Roy later went on to become Principal of Roseland Public School a post he held for over 20 years.
Jack attended Bala Avenue Public School before moving onto York Memorial Collegiate then Vaughan Road Collegiate. He obtained awards whilst at High School for playing Rugby with the School team. During the summer months he would take on Summer Jobs helping to coach the schools ball teams & as a life guard with the Rotary Club at Southampton Beach. A lover of sport he enjoyed playing Rugby, Basketball, Baseball, Badminton, Swimming, Hockey, Golf & Tennis in his spare time.
Jack enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 21st June 1940 & was given the Service No R/72308 & rank of Aircraftman 2nd class. At this time, he was still a student at Vaughan Road Collegiate. He is described as 6 feet tall with black hair, hazel eyes & medium complexion.
Jack firstly attended No 2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba before moving onto Initial Training at No 2 School at Regina, Saskatchewan in October 1940. This was followed the following month by Elementary Flight Training at No 6 School Prince Albert then No 4 Service Flying Training School in January of 1941 at Saskatoon.
It was no surprise given Jacks father Roys previous service during World War 1 that he would also enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He would go on to work in various training stations in Canada, training boys just like Jack.
On the 17th March 1941 Jack obtained his flying badge & commission to Flying Officer & left for the UK on the 5th of April. On arrival he would have carried out training at an Operational Training Unit.
A report exists that on the 15th December 1941, Jack then a Flight Lieutenant with 405 Squadron was giving training to a qualifying captain. The aircraft a Wellington II reportedly overshot the runway in causing it to run into the barbed wire fence, this was due to bad weather conditions making landing conditions difficult.
Jack McCormack’s service was regularly reported in the Canadian press, detailing the many operations flown over Germany and the skill he had in carrying these out.
Jack was 21 years old when he lost his life, his father who was at that time a Flying Officer stationed at Edmonton in Canada had been at home when the dreaded telegram arrived. He is commemorated at the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton and on the Roll of Honour at Vaughan Road Colligate. His estate and belongings were later sent onto his mother.
In December of 1942 Jacks father Roy would retire from the Royal Canadian Air Force on Medical Grounds. He had been suffering regularly with Dizzy spells & Headaches and after a spell in hospital was diagnosed with Arteriosclerosis & Hypertension, conditions made worse due to the recent loss of his son Jack and that his 2 other children were in the services. Roy would sadly pass away on the 5th April 1946 from coronary occlusion, he was 51 years old and is buried at Hillcrest Cemetery, Woodbridge where the family stone also remembers their beloved son Jack.
Flight Lieutenant William Hugh Fetherston - Air Observer
William Hugh Fetherston was born on the 18th November 1917 in London, Ontario, Canada to Hugh Stanley Fetherston & Alma Elizabeth Lodge.
The 1921 Census shows the family residing at Arnprior when Williams father is working as a Book-keeper
William attending Arnprior public school before moving onto Arnprior High School leaving in 1935. In his spare time, he enjoyed Rugby, Hockey, Field & Track events & Tennis being a member of Fairmount Tennis Club, Montreal.
Between 1932 & 1935 William served as a Private with the Lanark & Renfrew Scottish, a Canadian Army reserve artillery regiment.
In 1934 he began his career as a Clerk with Dominion at Arnprior where he remained for a year before moving to a new position as Ledgerkeeper/Teller with the Royal Bank of Canada where he remained until he enlisted. During his time with the bank he furthered his knowledge by taking courses in Accounting.
William enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 5th June 1940 and was given the Service No J/4530. He is described as 5 ft 9 inches tall with black hair, blue eyes & dark complexion. He carried out his Initial Air Force Training at Eglington, Toronto.
In October 1940 William would attend Air Observers training at Edmonton before moving to Bombing & Gunnery School at Fingal in December 1940
On the 25th January 1941 the Ottawa Journal would announce Williams engagement to Helen Gertrude Clark. Helen worked with the Department of Health as a Technician in the Pathology department. They married on the 1st February in London, Ontario. On the same day as their wedding William was promoted to Temporary Sergeant and is detailed the following month as being Commissioned from the ranks rising to Pilot Officer. A few days later he commenced his Advanced Navigators Training at Rivers, Manitoba. During his training he flew in Anson, Fairey Battle & Lochhead Aircraft.
He left for the UK on the 1st April 1941 and joined 12 Operational Training Unit before joining 405 Squadron based at Driffield then later Pocklington. During his time with 405 Squadron he would fly on operations to Dortmund, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg & Turin to name a few. In January of 1942 he rose to Acting Flight Lieutenant.
He was 25 years old when he died and was awarded the 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Defence Medal, General Service Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp & Operational Wings & Certificate all of which were sent onto his wife along with his belongings.
William is named on the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton & on the Clark Family Grave along with his wife at Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Williams father would pass in 1962 and his mother in 1973, her obituary details her beloved son ‘Bill’ & daughter in law Helen.