75 years ago – Remembering the Fallen

75 years ago today Leslie Sydney Ford died. He was 23 years-old. There is an error on the headstone. Leslie Sydney Ford was born 30th December, 1919.

Collection Robert Brookes

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Colorised version done by Doug Banks

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The names were researched by Doug Banks and the blog author.

Leslie Sydney Ford is remembered here.

Syd” Ford was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 30 December 1919. His youth was spent in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, where he was often seen sailing his small craft in the harbour. He attended Acadia University but ended his education to enlist in Halifax in 1940.

His flight training began in Canada and he was awarded his wings in January 1941. From Canada he was posted to England in February 1941 where he received further training. He served with No. 403 Squadron, April to September of 1941 ; No. 402 Squadron, September 1941 to January 1942; No. 175 Squadron, February to July 1942, returning to No. 403 Squadron as “B” Flight Commander in July 1942.

His promotion to Commanding Officer came in August of 1942. His next posting was to Digby as Wing Commander (Flying), in April of 1943. Ford was killed in action, 4 June 1943 while attacking enemy shipping off the Dutch coast. With four other pilots of No. 402 Squadron, he attacked three E-boats* and was shot down into the sea.

Syd Ford was credited with 6 aerial victories including 19 August 1942, when he led his squadron in support of the combined operations against Dieppe with great skill. Several enemy aircraft were destroyed, two of which were shot down by Squadron Leader Ford. Throughout, he was an inspiring example instilling great confidence in his fellow pilots.

As a flying officer he carried out many operational missions, having been engaged in fighter sweeps and in bombing attacks on land and sea targets. He participated in two attacks when two mine sweepers and an enemy destroyer were sunk and two destroyers were damaged. He was a keen and zealous flight commander and leader.

Wing Commander Ford is buried in the General Cemetery at Vlieland, Frisian Islands, Friesland, Holland.

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* The ships were in fact minesweepers.

23 thoughts on “75 years ago – Remembering the Fallen

      • Thanks a lot Pierre. Of course it isn’t a big difference, but it were minesweepers and E-boots were patrol attack boats. In the fighting report you see again his courage. When he attacked the German minesweeper, he flew just 10 meters above the ship to make his attack most effective and was hit. On that height he wasn’t able to jump out of the plane with his parachute and came down in the Nordsea 1500m further.

      • I also send a message to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. I think they have to correct his age on his grave stone at Vlieland. Maybe a minor thing, but he deserves that we honor him with correct details.

      • OK, good to know Pierre. They responded (automatically) that after 10 working days they will respond to my message.

    • I contacted the museum… The actual fight (only 3 minutes) with the six Spitfires, including the one with WCdr Ford, wasn’t with E-boats but with coast minesweepers who were operating in the Nordsea (in the surrounding of Den Helder).

      There is a very detailled fight report of the fight between the minesweepers and the Spitfires, also there is a drawing included.

  1. The number of Spitfires involved was 5 not 6. F/S J. MacLeod had to abort the mission during to a malfunction of his slip (belly) tank. The pilots involved in that attack on 3 minesweepers were F/S Fuller, W/O Prebble, W/C Ford, W/O E.N. Shepherd and S/L Chadburn.

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