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