About Squadron Leader Bill Pentland

Bill Pentland was not the squadron leader who liked to show off…

Click here to visit a Website paying homage to him as well as pilots who were first with 111 Squadron.


Squadron Leader (Pilot) William Harry “Big Bill” Pentland DFC
(J3204)  He received his Wings from #2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands (Ottawa) in early 1940.  He was ordered to England and arrived on Christmas Eve, 1940.  On June 28, 1941, he was injured in a plane crash (head injuries) and spent a period in recovery.  By early 1942, he had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant and was named a Flight Commander in his squadron (402 Squadron). He returned to Canada and served for a time as instructor at #1 Operational Training Unit, Bagotville, Quebec.  He was appointed Squadron Leader of 111 Sqn in December, 1943, relieving his good friend since flight training days, David L. Ramsay. He took the newly re-numbered (to 440 Sqn) squadron to Europe. He remained S/L until his death on October 7, 1944. His Typhoon (Number MN 641) exploded just as he released his bombs on a railroad bombing run near Wesel, Germany. He is buried at the War Cemetery at Rheinberg, Germany. The 440 Sqn Operations Record Book, dated Oct 7, 1944, noted his last mission. “
There were three missions that day. The first  two were successful. “The third and final target proved very costly when our Officer commanding, S/L W.H. Pentland, DFC, was killed. He has only three more trips to complete his second tour of operations and his loss is deeply felt by all who worked with and knew him. The target was to dive-bomb rails at A.0758 – A.1747 in which 8 of our aircraft participated, using 16 X 500 lb 11 second delay bombs. On the bombing run S/L Pentland was seen to dive with his guns blazing and his aircraft was seen to explode after dropping his bombs. F/O Savard who followed behind was caught in the explosion and narrowly escaped spinning in….  All bombs were in target area, rails were cut and near misses scored. Weather was hazy and  smoky.” He was from Calgary, Alberta.  Photo Identification Confidence Level: 1 Confirmed

More information here.

I wonder who the show off squadron leader was?

This is Penny wrote as she was commenting on my last post about Georges Nadon’s anecdote.

I wonder who the show off squadron leader was?

Your comments are always precious, and I always take the time to answer back especially when someone writes back…

I hope it wasn’t my cousin Bill Pentland!

Glad I replied because I will pay homage next time to two of Penny’s cousins, the Pentland brothers, Bob and Bill.

Monday, 20 December, 1943

Today was sunny with very little cloud.  The Wing went on two sweeps today.  F/O Pentland damaged one FW 190 on the first operation and 421 Squadron destroyed four FW 190s, one ME 109 and damaged one FW 190 and three ME 109s.  S/L Lambert of 421 Squadron is posted as missing.  On the second sweep no enemy aircraft were seen.  P/O Weaver and F/L Goldberg took off on a rhubarb at 1600 hours.  They shot up a number of newly constructed buildings and damaged twelve military vehicles.  Both pilots returned safely although F/L Goldberg was forced to land at West Malling due to a number of flak holes in his starboard wing.  There were four non-operational sorties today on aircraft tests and local flying.  F/O E.L. Gimbel was posted to 421 Squadron today as a Flight Commander.  P/O A.V. Hargraves was posted to 587 Squadron Weston Zoyland wef today.  F/O Pentland crash-landed on the edge of the aerodrome today after the second sweep.  He was admitted to the hospital in a very serious condition, and action has been taken to have him posted non-effective sick to 127 Airfield HQ wef 20-12-43.

403 Squadron Establishment and Flying Times for Month of December 1943

RCAF                                      Other
No. of Officers – Flying    23    2 (USA)
No. of Officers – Ground    2    –
No. of Airmen – Flying      3    1 (USA)
No. of Airmen – Ground    1    1 (USA)

Flying Times for the Month

Operational:         340:45
Non-Operational:  102:15
Tiger Moth:            10:30
Total    453:30

Aircraft on Squadron Strength:    

19 Spitfire Mk IX
BS549    MA578    MJ310    MA832    MA842    MH928
BS129    BS284    MH840    MA844    MA226    MH842
MA840    MH335    BS533    MH831    BS239    MH331

1 Tiger Moth

Our Casualties for the Month:      

F/O R.T. Pentland Seriously injured 20-12-43 (not due to enemy action)

Enemy Casualties:    

19-12-43 P/O Weaver & F/O Pentland shared 9 MT vehicles destroyed.
20-12-43 F/O Pentland damaged 1 FW 190.
20-12-43 P/O Weaver and F/L Goldberg shared 12 MT Vans
21-12-43 F/L Hodgson & P/O Myers shared 1 JU 87 destroyed.
30-12-43 F/O H.R. Finley destroyed 1 ME 109
30-12-43 P/O Weaver destroyed 1 ME 109

Source of information here.