P/O William T. Lane

Updated September 13, 2019

Comment by Stephen Nickerson

I have one story about William Lane. On March 13, 1943, the 403 led by S/L Ford was protecting the last box of 70 fortresses on a raid to Amiens. The American bomber commander decided to take (as Charles Magwood mentioned in his logbook) the group on a cook’s tour to Dieppe, Beauvais, Amiens and back to England. It was the job of the Canadian fighters to protect the American bombers but their fuel was running dangerously low on the outward leg. One pilot, P/O Cumming who was flying tail end Charlie in Magwood’s flight had to crash land in France due to lack of fuel. Ford’s Spitfire was having engine problems and he ordered the 403 to leave without him. P/O Lane flying in Red 4 or tail end Charlie in Ford’s flight stayed behind to protect his C.O. Ford and Lane were attacked several times by German FW 190s. Lane received damage to his plane while protecting Ford’s rear. Finally, Ford’s engine recovered and the two were able to escape. Lane’s actions had saved Ford from being shot down that day.

P/O William T. Lane

People in France remember Pilot Officer Lane.

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Le Spitfire est tombé dans le jardin de la ferme du château du Baron de BAULIEU à Baromesnil, abattu en combat aérien le 15 mai 1943 vers 17 heures, le numéro de série BR986, du squadron 403 (Royal Canadian Air Force). Son pilote le P/O WILLIAM T. Lane.

Une petite anecdote de la part de Mr Laurent VITON, la mascotte photographiée avec William T. Lane s’appelait Susan. Dans une interview du pilote, pour la Presse canadienne, il indiquait qu’elle appréciait le chewing-gum !


Spitfire serial number BR986 flown by P/O William T. Lane of RCAF 403 Squadron crashed in the garden of the farm of Baron de BAULIEU’s castle in Baromesnil after being shot down in a dogfight on May 15th 1943 around 5 p.m.

In an anecdote told by Mr. Laurent VITON, the mascot’s name photographed with William T. Lane was Susan. In an interview made with the Canadian Press, the pilot told that the dog liked chewing-gum!