The Duty to Remember – Albert Lloyd Haynes Jr.

Stephen Nickerson had another comment about this group picture.

But he was not the only one who commented about it.

Albert Haynes 21 August 1942

Of the remaining five pilots not listed, I have not been able to find pictures to the following pilots I know who served with 403 squadron at that time.

Their names are Sgts. H.S. Anderson,

M.F. Fletcher,

A.L. Haynes,

D.L. Rawson,

A. Thomas,

P/Os C.R. Olmsted, J. Mozolowski, and F/O J. Wiejski.

Hopefully, someone can match a face with the above mentioned names in the group picture of 403 at Catterick in August 1942.

Last week Stephen Nickerson had found C. F. Sorensen on the group picture, and then I found Vicki Sorensen, Frank Sorensen’s daughter on the Internet, and contacted her. Vicki Sorensen shared this photo of her father with a whole lot more information about him.

Flight Lieutenant Frank Sorensen is seen here on a photo taken in 1945 after the war. On the group photo taken on August 21, 1942 he is still a sergeant.

How do I know?

We have access to the operational record books of 403 Squadron which are available on This is the link to 1942.

This is what we can find about all the 403 squadron pilots on August 1942. Sergeant Sorensen is mentionned only once on 22 August, 1942.

August 1942
RCAF 403 Squadron

Saturday, 1 August, 1942
Weather, 4/10ths cloud with a heavy ground haze until 1400 hours when it lifted a little. Flying was practically at a standstill until the afternoon.
Pilot Officer J.E. Gardiner has been put on charge for low flying. He was returning from an air-to-air firing and cine gun practice with F/S Turner on July 27th and was seen flying at a low altitude. He was not aware that he was doing anything wrong. His action was the normal flying done down South from where we have just come. He was not doing a beat-up, simply looking the land over, as is customary practice now, to familiarize himself with the ground appearance from low altitude. P/O Gardiner is definitely the steadiest young pilot in the Squadron. He does not drink, is exceptionally keen about flying, is very conscientious and is acting No. 2 in the Flight. At 1925 hours, F/S D.L. Rawson, in attempting to make a steep landing, struck the ground very hard and damaged his port oleo leg, making it impossible to lock the left undercart in the down position. Realizing that he had damaged his oleo, he asked for and received permission to land at Scorton aerodrome so that he could make a long flat approach. He made a good one-wheel landing but damaged the port wing tip and flap. Aircraft is a Category ‘A’ damage.

Sunday, 2 August, 1942
Weather 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud with haze and poor visibility. Flying practically nil. Very little wind. Sgt T.H. Skebo, Can 4190A, is leaving the Squadron to take a course as a Flight Engineer. He is an excellent NCO, a good tradesman and an above average type. He is keen to go on this course to qualify for flying duties. Sgt A. Thomas R.100332 has been detached for two weeks to attend 13 Group refresher course on Navigation, to be held at No. 2 School of Air Navigation Cranage. F/L Jephson of 406 Squadron is holding a Summary of Evidence on the charge of low flying against P/O J.E. Gardiner.

Monday, 3 August, 1942
Weather, 10/10ths cloud, visibility bad all day and flying washed out until 1700 hours. A scramble was called at 1930 hours as a Dornier 217 was reported in the vicinity, but nothing was sighted. The poor visibility made contact with the e/a a matter of chance, as he stuck to the heavy cloud formation. Bombs were dropped on Middlesborough. S/L AC Deere, DFC and Bar, arrived back from leave in the evening after a week in the South of England looking tanned and fit. He reported warm weather throughout his leave. F/O H.F. Francis, the Adjutant, left today to take up duties at 405 Squadron, with his successor, Flying Officer SE Bringloe, having reported for the previous evening. The Sergeant’s mess at Hartlepool held a well attended party in the evening. All present reported a high time, particularly Sgt Johnston. Sports Day was postponed until August 8th, due to the inclement weather.

Tuesday, 4 August, 1942
Weather, clearing slightly with about 8/10ths cloud at 2,000 feet and visibility of 3 to 10 miles. Formation practice and tail chase was done by ‘B’ Flight as well as Halifax co-operation in the afternoon. Uneventful day for ‘A’ Flight at West Hartlepool. A party was arranged for the performers of an ENSA show at the Officer’s Mess at the conclusion of the entertainment but they could not attend. Undaunted, the Mess members carried on and several new liquid tenors were discovered.
Wednesday, 5 August, 1942
Weather 6/10ths cloud at 4,000 feet, clearing slightly in the evening with visibility of 15 to 20 miles. A quiet day for ‘A’ Flight with one uneventful scramble. Flight formation, cine gun, high altitude flight by one section at 30,000 feet and general flying was carried out by ‘B’ Flight. Dog fights were also flown between Mustangs and Spitfires, the former showing surprising manoeuvrability and had the Spit cold turkey several times. F/L LS Ford tried out a Mustang during the afternoon and was much impressed. Spitfire EN797 was slightly damaged today in an unusual occurrence. The mainplane buckled slightly when Sgt H.J. Dowding pulled out of a dive at 360 mph. The a/c is being flown to the repair unit for inspection.

Thursday, 6 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet with some ground haze and visibility up to 20 miles. The Squadron did some formation at 1015 hours, rendezvousing at West Hartlepool where the CO remained for lunch. It was a normal day for ‘B’ Flight, with cine gun, aerobatics and general flying. Two sections went on Ground Control Interception in the afternoon. ‘A’ Flight had one scramble from West Hartlepool in the morning but no activity came out if it. ‘A’ Flight will return to Catterick on August 9th, 1942. The latest ‘Wings Abroad’, dated August 5th carries the awarding of the DFC to Sergeant Pilot Beurling of Verdun, Quebec, who destroyed four Axis fighter aircraft and damaged several others on July 27th, giving him a total of 12 a/c destroyed. Sergeant Beurling spent seven months with 403 Squadron, serving under F/L ‘Brad’ Walker DFC.

Friday, 7 August, 1942
Weather 8/10ths to 10/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet. The Squadron formation practice at 1400 hours was called off due to heavy cloud formation and unfavourable weather at West Hartlepool. No flying was done by ‘A’ Flight all day. ‘B’ Flight carried out cine gun, aerobatics and formation in the morning. Flying Officer J. Wiejski returned from leave today.

Saturday, 8 August, 1942
Weather 10/10ths cumulus with intermittent rain all day. Flying was suspended and the Sports Parade is washed out until tomorrow at 1400 hours.

Sunday, 9 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths cloud with a wind of 15 to 20 mph from the NW. The Squadron did a formation practice at 1015 hours. Rendezvous was made at West Hartlepool. ‘A’ Flight postponed their return to Catterick until tomorrow, so they would not interfere with Sports Parade today. The Meet finally got underway at 1400 hours after two postponements due to the bad weather. 403 Squadron made a creditable showing as indicated by the following: Cycle Race 1st place AC1 Last; Shot Put 1st place Sgt P. Lassardo, and 3rd place LAC Kerwin; Discus 2nd place LAC Kerwin; 220 yards 2nd place AC2 Worn; 1 mile relay 2nd place 403 Squadron; 440 relay 2nd place 403 Squadron; Javelin 3rd place Sgt Lassardo; and 100 yards 3rd place P/O J.E. Gardiner. It was an enjoyable afternoon with the weather turning quite warm and sunny. A number of wives and friends of those involved attended.

Monday, 10 August, 1942
Weather 10/10ths cumulus with intermittent rain all day. The return of ‘A’ Flight was postponed until 1600 hours due to the weather conditions at Catterick. P/O J.E. Gardiner will be ‘B’ Flight Commander during the stay at West Hartlepool in the absence of F/L LS Ford who left today to attend the CTC course at Dundonald. No flying activity was done by either flight today.

Tuesday, 11 August, 1942
Weather 6/10ths cloud with the wind at 10 to 15 mph from the NW. At 1200 hours, a scramble was done by Blue Section, P/O Gardiner and F/O Wiejski, over the base and returning in 20 minutes without contact being made. General flying was done by ‘A’ Flight – aerobatics, cine gun, tail chase and formation. Good news for the Squadron, for today commissions were granted to six NCO pilots: F/S G.D. Aitken, F/S H.S. Anderson, Sgt H.J. Murphy, F/S C.R. Olmsted, Sgt M. Johnston and Sgt Monchier, all effective 20 June, 1942. This action will strengthen the Squadron immeasurably and prove a real factor in building up morale. Word was received that the AOC of the Group has recommended that court-martial action be taken against P/O J.E. Gardiner after a review of the Summary of Evidence.

Wednesday, 12 August, 1942
Weather, 5/10ths to 8/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet, clearing towards the evening. A scramble was done at 0620 hours by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool by Blue Section, P/O Gardiner and F/O J. Wiejski. They were airborne for 15 minutes and saw no action. The Squadron did a formation practice at 1450 hours, rendezvousing at West Hartlepool. Convoy duty by Sgt Fletcher and Sgt A.L. Haynes was done at 1555 hours, lasting one hour and 10 minutes and being uneventful. At 1605 hours P/O Olmsted and Sgt Dow were scrambled above the base. About 5 miles from Whitby, P/O Olmsted sighted what appeared to be a Dornier 217 at 1,000 yards. He could not close the gap and it disappeared into heavy cloud at 2,000 feet. With the weather getting sticky, they finally returned to base after being airborne for 50 minutes. P/O Magwood returned from sick leave today, reporting to West Hartlepool immediately.

Thursday, 13 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths to 10/10ths cumulus at 3,000 feet. It was overcast and threatening most of the day. One scramble was done by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool, who intercepted a friendly aircraft. Local formation flying was done in the afternoon. General flying practice was done by ‘A’ Flight in the morning. Word was received today that S/L AC Deere DFC and Bar has been posted to staff duties at Group Headquarters and will leave the Squadron on August 16th, 1942. It is bad news for the Squadron as his ability and leadership have been an inspiration since he joined the Unit. F/L LS Ford DFC will assume command. He is known to the Squadron and will have the respect and confidence of all.

Friday, 14 August, 1942
Weather, fine with 5/10ths to 8/10ths light cloud at 4,000 to 6,000 feet and closing in during the late afternoon. No flying activity was done by either flight during the day. ‘B’ Flight returned to Catterick at 1600 hours.

Saturday, 15 August, 1942
Weather started out fine but closed in during the early morning with low cloud, very poor visibility and intermittent rain. There was no flying today, instead, modifications were carried out on the a/c. The advance ground party left for Manston today.

Sunday, 16 August, 1942
The Squadron took off at 0845 hours for Manston, landing at North Weald owing to bad weather and arriving at Manston at 1400 hours. The second ground party left by train, owing to bad weather at Catterick. The weather was fine at Manston but two a/c overshot on landing (AA736 and AA979). P/O H.S. Anderson broke a shoulder blade and was taken to hospital while P/O M. Johnston was uninjured.

Monday, 17 August, 1942
The second ground party arrived at Manston at 0900 hours. The weather today was very fine with no cloud and only a slight haze on the seaboard. The Squadron took off at 1245 hours, S/L Ford DFC leading, and took part in a Wing Circus in the direction of St. Omer. No opposition was encountered and no matters of interest to report. The Squadron landed safely at 1341 hours. The Squadron was briefed with the Wing for a circus in the direction of Dunkirk at 1545 hours and took off at 1635 hours. Nothing was seen or reported during the operation and the Squadron landed safely at 1805 hours. S/L Ford led the Squadron on both operations.

Tuesday, 18 August, 1942
Weather, fine with good visibility. From 0620 hours, sections began patrolling the convoys in the Channel and the Thames Estuary until 1300 hours. The Squadron, under S/L Ford, took off from Manston at 1600 hours in a circus to the shores of Holland. 12 a/c from the Squadron took part and all landed safely at 1720 hours. At 1830 hours all pilots were briefed for the 19th August.

Wednesday, 19 August, 1942
Weather, fine with a little low, some medium and high clouds and visibility starting at 4,600 yards and improving gradually during the day. The Squadron was ordered to a state of preparedness from 0500 hours to carry out combined operations against Dieppe.

The first sortie was made at 0645 hours; the whole Squadron took off under the command of Squadron Leader Ford. It reached Dieppe at 0715 hours and served as close cover for the ships carrying out the operation. F/L G.V. Hill and his number 2, Sgt M.K. Fletcher attacked a FW 190. The e/a fell to pieces and went into a dive in flames. P/O H.J. Murphy successfully attacked a ME 109 and gave it three long bursts, going down to deck level after it. The e/a turned on its back and, when he last saw it, it was a few feet from the ground and was out of control. The combat took place in the valley South East of Dieppe and he could not observe the final result, as he had to take evasive action to avoid hitting the hills. The Squadron landed at 0820 hours.
Three a/c of the Squadron failed to return: AR334, EN850 and AR439 flown by P/O N. Monchier, P/O L.A. Walker and P/O J.E. Gardiner. Enemy casualties: 1 ME 109 and 1 FW 190 destroyed.

The second sortie was made at 1115 hours, the whole Squadron again taking off from Manston under the command of S/L Ford DFC. The Squadron went to Dieppe and covered the ships withdrawal. Heavy smoke, rising over 3,000 feet was seen over Dieppe and some fierce fires were burning. The Squadron again patrolled at 2,500 to 3,000 feet and, after 30 minutes, noticed a number of e/a approaching and several engagements took place. S/L Ford opened fire on a FW 190 at close range, the e/a falling to pieces, parts of which hit S/L Ford’s number 2, P/O R. Wozniak but caused no damage. The e/a burst into flames and went down. This took place on the Dieppe waterfront. F/L P.T. O’Leary opened fire at 150 yards on a FW 190; black smoke poured out and it went down, disappearing in the clouds. He tried to follow it through the cloud and came against another FW 190 to which he gave a burst at 250 yards. Smoke poured out and the e/a, apparently out of control, went down rapidly, swaying violently. He took a film that may support his claim of this e/a being destroyed. His first engagement is confirmed by his number 2, P/O J. Mozolowski, who witnessed the smoke pouring out. Sgt A.L. Haynes opened fire on a rapidly diving e/a but no claim was made. All 12 a/c landed safely at 1315 hours. Our losses were nil and the enemy losses were 2 FW 190 destroyed and 2 FW 190s damaged.

The third sortie was made at 1620 hours under S/L Ford. The Squadron went to the French Coast and reported that most of our ships were safely more than half way home. Several of the pilots had combats and three of them were successful. S/L Ford shot at a FW 190 that caught fire and crashed into the sea. The pilot was seen to get into his dinghy. Sgt M.K. Fletcher gave several bursts to a FW 190 and smoke poured out before the e/a disappeared into the clouds. Sgt Cabas fired his cannon but makes no claim. All 12 a/c of the Squadron landed safely at Manston at 1820 hours. Our losses nil. Enemy losses two FW 190s destroyed, one FW 190 damaged.

The fourth sortie took place from 1925 hours to 2030 hours, with the whole Squadron taking off under the command of S/L Ford and returning safely. No e/a were encountered and nothing of interest was reported.
The Squadron behaved in a most excellent manner and deserves every congratulation. All ranks behaved splendidly and the ground staff co-operated in a most hearty way. At 1630 hours, a signal was received from the AOC, asking all ranks to make a further effort as we were in view of a great air victory.

Thursday, 20 August, 1942

A signal was received from the AOC congratulating all of the Squadrons concerned on the fine results of yesterday’s air battles.

The weather today was fine with no low cloud and only small amounts of high cloud during the morning. The Squadron received orders to return to Catterick and the rail party, consisting of 66 of the ground crew, with F/O A.H. Warner (EO) and P/O J.H. Long (IO), left at 1300 hours, reaching Catterick at 2359 hours. The road party, with F/L G.A. Black (MO) in charge, left during the evening, staying at North Weald for the night. The pilots left by air at 1330 hours and arrived at Catterick by 1600 hours.

Friday, 21 August, 1942

The Squadron was released from operations at 1000 hours today until 1000 hours tomorrow. At 1600 hours, the road party arrived from North Weald, which they left at 0700 hours. A very enjoyable dance was held in the Sergeant’s Mess to which all officers were invited. P/O R. Wozniak left for 7 days leave.

Saturday, 22 August, 1942

‘B’ Flight moved on to West Hartlepool during the morning and ‘A’ Flight took readiness at Catterick. Sgt C.F. Sorensen took off at 1430 hours to do aerobatics at 2,000 feet near Leeming. At about 1500 hours, his engine failed and he was compelled to make a forced landing on the edge of Leeming aerodrome. His aircraft was completely written off but fortunately, he escaped uninjured. There was no operational flying today. Sector reccos, aerobatics and formation flying were carried out.

Sunday, 23 August, 1942

Weather very low 10/10ths cloud and very poor visibility. The only thing that took place was a weather test by F/L O’Leary and P/O K.P. Marshall. F/S F.C. Turner returned by road from West Hartlepool on being posted from the Squadron.

Monday, 24 August, 1942

Weather low cloud of 10/10ths at 300 to 400 feet at first with a slight improvement during the afternoon and evening. Red and Yellow Sections were on readiness here at Catterick as the weather at West Hartlepool closed in during the evening. P/O H.J. Murphy and P/O M. Johnston left early in the morning on their way down South to join 402 Squadron. Though sorry to leave 403, they are nonetheless pleased to be going to 11 Group with its promise of greater activity. They will be very much missed in the Squadron, both being experienced pilots.

Tuesday, 25 August, 1942

Weather rain and low 10/10ths cloud all day. No flying. The pilots attended a film show ‘Next-of-Kin’ in the Station Cinema during the afternoon.

Wednesday, 26 August, 1942

Weather, rain and low cloud during the morning and the afternoon saw some improvement before it closed in again in the early evening, this time with heavy rain. Apart from a weather test in the morning there was no flying until the early evening when some local formation flying and a cannon test was done. The pilots attended a film show on Combined Operations in the Station Intelligence Office during the afternoon. F/O R.J.O. Doehler, the new Engineering Officer, arrived on being posted to the Squadron.

Thursday, 27 August, 1942

Intermittent rain all day and the cumulus cloud that was almost on the ground. Flying was suspended for both Flights. Nothing of interest to report.

Friday, 28 August, 1942

Weather clearing and very hot with a ground haze to 500 feet most of the day. West Hartlepool flying was washed out due to poor visibility. At 1445 hours, a section, under S/L Ford, left for Topcliffe to carry out co-operation with the Halifaxes at 8,000 feet, returning to base at 1530 hours. The Sergeant’s were entertained at the Officer’s mess in the evening. It was well attended with a number of 403 Squadron NCOs coming form Hartlepool.

Saturday, 29 August, 1942

Weather was again closed in, with 10/10ths cloud all day and no flying. Plans for a Squadron dance were drawn up with a tentative date set for Sept 18th. 403 has been assigned a part in the Station Defence Plan, being required to man four machine gun posts. The schedule of the gun crews for each post was formulated and a practice will be held shortly. Morning PT of one half hour daily will start next week for all ground crew as part of the Squadron policy to keep personnel in fighting trim and good health during the winter months.

Sunday, 30 August, 1942

Weather still unfit for flying, 10/10ths cloud with a heavy mist and rain. No activity of any kind to report.

Monday, 31 August, 1942

Weather was improving with 10/10ths cumulus cloud at 1,000 feet in the morning, which cleared somewhat in the afternoon. One section of ‘A’ Flight got airborne at 1500 hours for 30 minutes. No flying activity was done by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool. S/L Ford left for three days of leave in Edinburgh where he will act as the best man at the wedding of F/L NR Dick, a former member of 403 Squadron.

What about the other comment made by Don Howard?

Albert Haynes flew with the RCAF 403 in ’41-’42. I have a few pictures of him and his story on a Facebook page here:

If you are interested in more information feel free to email me.

More tribute here:

Joined RCAF.
Pilot training Camp Borden, Ontario from September to December 1941.
Shipped overseas ETO.
Assigned to 403 Sqn RAF 17-6-42, Spitfire Mk Vb AR438 ‘Dorothy I’ ‘Pappy’
Returned USA to share ETO fighter experience
Joined 26th FS, 51st FG 14th AF in China, defending the Chinese end of the ‘Hump’ route and air bases in the Kunming area.
Out of Kweilin on an escort mission for 11th BS B-25’s on a mission to bomb in the Changsha area. Jumped by 15-20 Oscar fighters and shot down in P-40N Warhawk 42-104930, baled out over Hengyang, China 5-7-44.


Eye Witness certain he landed in Hengyang which was at the time surrounded by Japanese troops.

MACR’s 7268/7593.

MIA/FOD Crash site unknown. Body unrecovered as yet.

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


Colorised version done by Doug Banks


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.


* The ships were in fact minesweepers.

A Little Help from the 403 Squadron Operational Record Books

I found the 403 Squadron ORBs on the Internet…
First page is here.

I jumped to August 1942
I was looking for who else might be on this photo which Doug and I think was taken on August 21, 1942 two days after the Dieppe raid since Gardiner, Monchier and Walker, who were killed on August 19, are not on this group photo.


Three more are now going to be added by Doug.
I found this one using the ORBs.Hill

Flight Lieutenant George Urquhart Hill DFC and Bar

I also found this one.Cabas

Sergeant Victor Cabas.

More on him here.
Doug found Flight Sergeant J.T. Norman.Norman

How did he die?
9 more to go with your help and this list of 403 Squadron pilots who flew with 403 Squadron from 19 August to 31 August 1942…

19 August 1942, first sortie…19 August 1942-1

S/L Ford (on the group picture)
P/O Olmsted
P/O Gardiner (killed at Dieppe)
F/L Hill (on the group picture)
Sgt Fletcher
P/O Johnston
F/L O’Leary (on the group picture)
Sgt Cabas (on the group picture)
P/O Walker (killed at Dieppe)
P/O Murphy
P/O Aitken (on the group picture)
P/O Monchier (killed at Dieppe)19 August 1942-2

To be transcribed later…

19 -20 August 1942 - 1

21- 22 August 1942 - 1

22- 24 August 1942 - 1

24- 26 August 1942 - 1

27- 28 August 1942 - 1

28- 31 August 1942 - 1

When and Where

LeClare Allerthorn Walker should be on this group photo.

But he is not. LeClare Allerthorn Walker was shot down on August 19, 1942.

Collection Robert Brookes

LeClare Allerthorn Walker’s biography is on this blog for you to read.

20 pilots pose for posterity after August 19, 1942. 8 have been identified. I knew some of them but Doug Banks found some more.

One of them looked familiar…

Collection Fred Turner

Reader’s Comment

Stephen Nickerson commented on William Thompson Lane.

It was interesting to read that the 403 was visited by W/C Ford the day P/O W.T. Lane was missing. On March 13th, 1943, while carrying out an escort assignment to American B-17s, Ford’s Spitfire was suffering engine trouble on the return leg of this mission. He ordered the squadron to return to base immediately because the American bombers’ C/O did not take his fighter escorts limited flying range while flying over France that day. P/O Lane who was acting as (Red 4) stayed with Ford while the rest of the 403 left the area. Lane had consumed more fuel then the rest in the section because he was acting as tail in Charlie. Fortunately, for Ford his engine recovered and Lane warned him of enemy aircraft attacking. Lane received several hits to his fighter in protecting his leader before both escaped. I’m sure W/C Ford was upset to hear that Lane was missing the day he came to visit his old squadron.

William Thompson Lane is in the back row, second from the right. On the extreme right is Fred Turner.

More on this picture later…

Courtesy Doug Banks

Sergeant Robert Brookes’ Collection – George Aitken

George Aitken is standing probably on a wing of a Spitfire Mk Vb in 1942 or 1943. This photo is part of more than 30 photos from Sergeant George Brookes’ collection shared by his son.

Never been seen before!


To be continued…

Another request from Steve Nickerson

Hello Pierre,

I’m seeking information on the Spitfire Mk IX known as ‘CANADIAN PACIFIC’.
I know that S/L Syd Ford flew this fighter and claimed four aerial victories during the months of February to April 1943. However, I would like to know the history of this fighter and the squadron letters and serial number the aircraft wore when Ford flew it 1943.

Thank you for all the hard work you have done during the past countless years keeping the memory of the 403 and all its members alive for this generation and future generations to read about.
We will remember them.


Steve had already requested some information about Squadron Leader Ford.

Click here.

Squadron Leader Leslie Sydney Ford

A question from Stephen Nickerson…

While researching Leslie Sydney Ford’s military career I was unable to find out who Phyl Marie was. This was the name painted on his Spitfire BM 344 while he served as the 403’s Squadron Leader during the Dieppe raid and the last few months of 1942. Would anyone know who Phyl Marie was?
Stephen Nickerson

More about Syd Ford on this Website.


FORD, F/L Leslie Sydney (J3712) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.175 Squadron – Award effective 9 June 1942 as per London Gazette dated 26 June 1942 and AFRO 1000-1001/42 dated 3 July 1942.  Born Halifax, Nova Scotia, 30 December 1919.  Home in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.  Attended Acadia University for three years.  Enlisted in Halifax, 21 June 1940 (possibly 21 January 1940).  Trained at No.2 ITS, No.8 EFTS and No. 4 SFTS (graduated 28 January 1941; awarded wings that date).  Posted overseas in February 1941; further trained at No.52 OTU, March and April 1941..  Served with Nos.403 Squadron, 21 April 1941 to 12 September 1941; No.402 Squadron, 21 September 1941 to January 1942; No.175 Squadron, 6 February 1942 to 9 July 1942.  Returned to No.403 Squadron as “B” Flight Commander, 19 July 1942; became Commanding Officer on 13 August 1942. Posted to Digby as Wing Commander (Flying), 19 April 1943.  Killed in action, 4 June 1943 attacking enemy shipping off Dutch coast; with four pilots of No.402 Squadron attacked three E-boats and was shot down into sea.  Credited with with following aerial victories: 27 September 1941, one Bf.109 damaged (Hurricane Z3349, shared with another pilot); 19 August 1942, two FW.190s destroyed (Spitfire BM344); 15 February 1943, one FW.190 destroyed (Spitfire BS474); 27 February 1943; one FW.190 destroyed (BS474); 27 February 1943, one FW.190 destroyed (BS474); 13 March 1943, one FW.190 destroyed (BS474); 3 April 1943, one FW.190 destroyed (BS474); 4 April 1943, one FW.190 destroyed (BS474).


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


FORD, S/L Leslie Sydney (J3712) – Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross – No.403 Squadron – Award effective 16 September 1942 as per London Gazette dated 2 October 1942 and AFRO 1653/42 dated 16 October 1942.


On August 19th, 1942, this officer 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, his inspiring example instilled great confidence in his fellow pilots.


NOTE:  Public Records Office Air 2/8769 has recommendation for a Croix de Guerre dated 20 January 1943 stating about the same as above.  Although it was went right through to Fighter Command Headquarters, it was not approved at Air Ministry level, either because the deed had already been covered by the Bar to the DFC or because of Ford’s death in action.  Several other pilots were recommended for the Croix de Guerre following the Dieppe Raid and ended up with Mentions in Despatches (see H.H. Hills, R.C. MacQuoid and M.B. Pepper).