You are not logged in.
No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War -


Air Force Index
skip to content


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.


If you enjoy this site

please consider making a donation.




    Site Home

    WW2 Home

    Add Stories

    WW2 Search

 WW2 Features

    Airfields

    Allied Army

    Allied Air Forces

    Allied Navy

    Axis Forces

    Home Front

    Prisoners of War

    Allied Ships

    Women at War

    Those Who Served

    Day-by-Day

    Library

    The Great War

 Submissions

    Add Stories

    Time Capsule

    TWMP on Facebook



    Children's Bookshop

 FAQ's

    Your Family History

    Volunteering

    Contact us

    News

    Bookshop

    About

    Links







World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force



   No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron was the fourth RCAF bomber squadron to be formed overseas on 19th December 1941, at RAF Waddington. In August 1942, 420 squadron moved to Skipton-on-Swale in Yorkshire, to join No. 4 Group. In October they moved again to Middleton St George, Co. Durham, transferring to No. 6 (RCAF) Group the following January. In May 1943 the squadron moved to North Africa spending three months in Tunisia, with No. 205 Group attacking targets in Sicily and Italy. In autumn 43 they returned to the UK and rejoin No. 6 Group briefly based at RAF Dalton before moving to Tholthorpe for the remainder of the hostilities.

The 2017 RAF Middleton St George Memorial Service will take place at memorial garden outside the St George Hotel at 10.30am on 11th November 2017 all are welcome, please arrive in good time. If you would like to lay a wreath please let us know before the service begins. Our memorial garden has recently been refurbished to remember those whose ashes lie in this place. If family members of those who served would like to have ashes placed in the garden, please get in touch so arrangements can be made.


The annual Middleton St George remembrance and reunion weekend will take place on the second weekend of June 2017 at the St George Hotel, Durham Tees Valley Airport. This event is open to all who wish to attend:

  • Memorial service, 10.30am on Saturday, please arrive in good time.
  • Three Course Dinner and Entertainment on Saturday evening, must be booked in advance.
  • Special offer on accommodation at the St George for those attending.
  • Raffle to support the Memorial Association, donation of prizes would be most welcome.
  • Come along for the whole weekend or just part of the celebrations.

Airfields at which 420 Squadron were based during the Second World War:
  • Waddington. Dec 1941 to Aug 1942
  • Skipton-on-Swale. Aug 1942 to Oct 1942
  • Middleton St. George. Oct 1942 to May 1943
  • North Africa May to Nov 1943
  • Dalton. Nov 1943 to Dec 1943
  • Tholthorpe. from Dec 1943


Now Available


A 60 minute DVD of the Memorial Service for 420, 424, 432 and 433 Squadrons held at the former RAF Skipton on Swale in June 2009 is now available for purchase. The service features a flypast by a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, music from the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, readings and tributes set against views across the runways filmed from the usually inaccessible old control tower.

To obtain your copy please get in touch for the address to send a cheque. The DVD costs £13.00 This includes UK postage, for shipping abroad please add an extra £3 to cover costs.

 

17th Dec 1941 Losses

8th May 1942 420 Squadron Hampden lost

5th Jan 1945 Night Ops

13th Feb 1945 Night Ops

24th Mar 1944 Berlin Targeted

20th Apr 1944 Bomber Command

2nd Feb 1945 Halifax Lost

17th Feb 1945 Halifax Lost

20th Feb 1945 Halifax Lost

21st Feb 1945 Night Ops

23rd Feb 1945 Night Ops

27th Feb 1945 Night Ops

2nd Mar 1945 Night Ops

3rd Mar 1945 Night Ops

5th Mar 1945 Aircraft Lost

25th Mar 1945 Night Ops

8th Apr 1945 Night Ops

13th Apr 1945 Night Ops

18th Apr 1945 Night Ops


If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



Those known to have served with

No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Adams Frank George Webster.
  • Anderson Robert Allen. Sgt.
  • Barnie George Buchanan. Flt.Lt.
  • Bing. G R .
  • Bittner J D. Sgt
  • Bradley. A W .
  • Brickstock Philip Jabez. P/O.
  • Brown K.
  • Brown Sydney. Flying Officer (d.15th May 1943)
  • Brown Sydney. F/O. (d.15th Apr 1943)
  • Buck Frederick Walter. PO. (d.15th Oct 1942)
  • Buck. F .
  • Cameron Gregor Harry. LAC
  • Crowther G C. Flying Officer
  • Downton Charles Murray. F/Sgt.
  • Drake John. F/Sgt
  • Ernst Hank R . Sgt
  • Haile S .
  • Joynt. J M .
  • Lauder. J .
  • Mackinnon Hugh Neil. Sgt.
  • May Ben John. F/Sgt.
  • Monahan. H .
  • Nikolaisen Robert Christian. LAC.
  • Palmer. D .
  • Parker Bert. Cpl.
  • Player Geoffrey C. Flt.Sgt. (d.22nd Apr 1942)
  • Sealey Harold Hogarth. F/Sgt
  • Simpson John Alexander. Pilot Officer (d.15th April 1943)
  • Smith. J A.
  • Smith. L .
  • Smyth. D B .
  • Taylor F V. S/L
  • Walton Lloyd Henry. F/O. (d.22nd July 1943)
  • White John Alfred. Sgt.
  • Williams. J M .
  • Wingham Frederick. Flt.Sgt.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website.

Announcements

  • To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we are launching a new feature, Second World War Day by Day and also a new Library to allow access to records which have previously been held in our offline archive.
  • Looking for help with Family History Research?   Please read our Family History FAQ's
  • The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.
    If you enjoy this site

    please consider making a donation.

  • We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Research your own Family History.

June 2017 - Please note we currently have a large backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 232065, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

      

We are aware of the issue with missing images, this is due to the redesign of the website, images will reappear as soon as the new version of the page is completed, thank you for your patience.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.



Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to WW2. We would like to obtain digital copies of any documents or photographs relating to WW2 you may have at home.

If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted. World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on The Great War. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.








Pilot Officer John Alexander Simpson 420 Squadron (d.15th April 1943)

Wellington HE550 PT-G took off on April 14, 1943 at 2112 hours from Middleton St. George on a mission to Stuttgart. Homebound at 12,000 feet the plane was shot down by a Ju88 and crashed at Mesnil-St Laurent (Aisne), 5 km SE of St. Quentein, France.

F/O Sydney Brown and P/O John A Simpson are buried in the churchyard at Mesnil-St Laurent.

S/L F V Taylor and F/O G C Crowther bailed out and eventually returned to England.

Sgt H N McKinnon was taken prisoner (Stalag 4B, No 222620) and was eventually repatriated.

Howard Fluxgold



Sgt. Hugh Neil Mackinnon 420 Squadron

Wellington HE550 PT-G took off on April 14, 1943 at 2112 hours from Middleton St. George on a mission to Stuttgart. Homebound at 12,000 feet the plane was shot down by a Ju88 and crashed at Mesnil-St Laurent (Aisne), 5 km SE of St. Quentein, France.

F/O Sydney Brown and P/O J A Simpson are buried in the churchyard at Mesnil-St Laurent.

S/L F V Taylor and F/O G C Crowther bailed out and eventually returned to England.

Sgt H N McKinnon was taken prisoner (Stalag 4B, No 222620) and was eventually repatriated.

Howard Fluxgold



Flying Officer G C Crowther 420 Squadron

Wellington HE550 PT-G took off on April 14, 1943 at 2112 hours from Middleton St. George on a mission to Stuttgart. Homebound at 12,000 feet the plane was shot down by a Ju88 and crashed at Mesnil-St Laurent (Aisne), 5 km SE of St. Quentein, France.

F/O Sydney Brown and P/O J A Simpson are buried in the churchyard at Mesnil-St Laurent.

S/L F V Taylor and F/O G C Crowther bailed out and eventually returned to England.

Sgt H N McKinnon was taken prisoner and was eventually repatriated.

Howard Fluxgold



S/L F V Taylor 420 Squadron

Wellington HE550 PT-G took off on April 14, 1943 at 2112 hours from Middleton St. George on a mission to Stuttgart. Homebound at 12,000 feet the plane was shot down by a Ju88 and crashed at Mesnil-St Laurent (Aisne), 5 km SE of St. Quentein, France.

F/O Sydney Brown and P/O J A Simpson are buried in the churchyard at Mesnil-St Laurent.

S/L F V Taylor and F/O G C Crowther bailed out and eventually returned to England.

Sgt H N McKinnon was taken prisoner and was eventually repatriated.

Howard Fluxgold



Flying Officer Sydney Brown 420 Snowy Owl Squadron (d.15th May 1943)

My uncle F/O Sydney Brown #J15744 (wireless operator, air gunner) took off on April 14, 1943 at 2112 hours from Middleton St. George flying a Wellington HE550 PT-G, on a mission to Stuttgart. Homebound at 12,000 feet the plane was shot down by a Ju 88 and crashed at Mesnil-St Laurent (Aisne), 5 km SE of St. Quentein, France.

F/O Sydney Brown and P/O J A Simpson are buried in the churchyard at Mesnil-St Laurent. S/L F V Taylor and F/O G C Crowther bailed out and eventually returned to England. Sgt H N McKinnon was taken prisoner and was eventually repatriated. I believe Sydney Brown was billeted with a British family. I am looking for anyone who knew him.

Howard Fluxgold



Frank George Webster Adams 420 Squadron

I am trying to learn about the incarceration of RCAF Sergeant Frank George Webster Adams, who was the only survivor of the crash of Hampden P5330 in Denmark on April 25, 1942 after his bomber was attacked by a German night fighter near the Dutch island of Ameland. He flew with RCAF Squadron 420, and it is believed that the POW camps he was interned in were Stalag 9C, Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357.

I would be most appreciative to learn of the whereabouts of Sgt Adams today.

Bob Ingraham



F/O. Sydney Brown 420 Squadron (d.15th Apr 1943)

I remember that my mother told me that a British airman was killed and found in the village of Ribemont 11 kilometre east of St. Quentin (France) during the World War 2. Who is this airmen? The Ribemont registry office knows nothing, and the British graves in this country date back 1918. By Internet "Commonwealth War Graves", the next cemetery from Ribemont is Mesnil Saint Laurent. Two british airmen are buried: Sydney Brown, Canadian Flying, Flying Officer (Air Bomber), Royal Canadian Air Force, 420 Sqdn. J/5744 and John Alexander Simpson, Canadian Flying, Pilot Officer (Air Gnr.), Royal Canadian Air Force, 420 Sqdn. J/17113. The history of 420 squadon say about Crash of Wellington - Mk.X - s/n HE550 PT-C, Perhaps one is the good. But in this case, who was the airmen found in the village of Ribemont? Why was he buried in Mezsnil Saint Laurent cemetery? Can anyone help me, please? Sorry for language, but I don't speak, school is remote past.

Ma mère me racontait autrefois qu'un soldat aviateur britannique avait été tué pendant la seconde guerre mondiale et exposé dans un local communal de Ribemont village situé près de Saint Quentin à une dizaine de kilomètres à l'est, en France. Il n'y a rien dans les registres de l'état civil de la commune de Ribemont et les tombes de soldats britanniques dans le cimetière communal datent de 1918. En revanche, le site internet du « Commenwealth war graves » indique que dans le cimetière de Mesnil saint Laurent, le plus proche de Ribemont, deux aviateurs sont inhumés. Il s'agit de : Sydney Brown, Royal Canadian Air Force, 420 Sqdn. J/5744 et John Alexander Simpson, Royal Canadian Air Force, 420 Sqdn. J/17113. Ils faisaient partie du même équipage. Peut être s'agit il de cet évènement, mais dans ce cas lequel a été retrouvé sur Ribemont et pourquoi sont ils enterrés à Mesnil Saint Laurent ? Pouvez vous m'aider ?

Moussu Jean



Sgt. Robert Allen Anderson 420 Squadron

I have prepared the following brief summary of my Dad's World War II experiences based primarily on materials in my possession, including his Identity Card, Flying Log and Wartime Log:

In October, 1943, my Dad, Robert Allan Anderson, qualified as an Air Gunner after completing training at #3 Bomb and Gunnery School at Macdonald, Manitoba under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In January, 1944, he was posted to the 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron, based in Tholthorpe, England, as a tail gunner in a Halifax bomber.

My Dad was just 3 days shy of his 20th birthday on April 20, 1944, when 154 Halifax bombers took off to attack the rail facilities at Lens, France, Dad's Halifax, LW692, was shot down and crashed into the Scie River at Pourville, near Dieppe. It was the only aircraft that failed to return that night and my Dad and Paul Bourcier, the mid-upper gunner, were the only survivors.

According to a researcher, Dad described the event as follows: "We flew down to south England and over the Channel. Reached enemy coast 10 minutes early and off track, we passed over very near Dieppe. They threw up a lot of flak and we got 3 hits, the plane shuddered, slowed down and lost height fast. Port engines went on fire, spread to whole wing, engineer admitted it was hopeless, skipper said bale out. I got to escape hatch after mid upper gunner and jumped after him, plane was diving very fast and had trouble to get out of slipstream. Saw the plane spiral down on fire and crash. I landed in the mouth of a small river near Dieppe, had to use my Mae West, not a scratch."

The same researcher described Paul Bourcier's account as follows: After taking off and setting course for Southern England and then the Channel we got off course and reached the enemy coast ten minutes before time over Dieppe, which was about 20 miles off course, as Le Havre was the crossing point. We were picked up by radar and we were hit 3 times by flak, causing trouble to port engines, the necessary measures were taken, but fire started, and spreading rapidly on the port wing, I was then given order to bale out, which I did and by doing so landed safely. Out of front hatch."

After capture, the researcher presented a quick timeline of events: lane goes down, Anderson and Bourcier are picked up. From there they take a train ride to the Dulag Luft, the Luftwaffe Interrogation Centre at Albereusel, north of Frankfurt. Most fliers spent between 2-3 weeks there. Treatment ranged from pretty decent, to threats to a strange scenario where the Luftwaffe stripped you of all your clothes and locked you in a room with the heat turned up high. They had an interrogator there from Kitchener, Ontario who spoke better English than some of the Canadians there. When the Fatherland called he had returned to Germany."

Both Dad and Paul were then sent to Stalag Luft III, arriving just days after the 50 airmen were recaptured and murdered by the SS under the direct order of Adolph Hitler for their part in The Great Escape. As the Russians advance towards Germany in 1945, Hitler gave the order to evacuate POW camps and move POW's closer to Berlin. On Saturday, January 27, 1945, Dad and thousands of other POW's were told to gather their meager belongings and a forced exodus began. A day-by-day account was recorded in Dad's Wartime Log. After an eleven day trek, Dad ended up in Stalag IIIA in Luckenwalde. Eventually liberated by the Russians, his ordeal was still not as yet over.

A notation in his Log states: May 6, 1945 Russians refuse to let Americans evacuate us, some trucks have gone back empty. Russians have posted guards who have shot at some of the fellows. On May 7, 1945, he nevertheless managed to escape his new captors by making his way to the American lines at Magdeburg. On May 10, 1945, he then caught a USAAF DC3 (Dakota) to Rheims, France, and the next day, a Lancaster to Tangmere, England.

Today, there are memorials to Peter Warren the Navigator, Patrick Gough the Flight Engineer, and Raymond Leonard, the Pilot, in Runnymede Cemetery, Surrey, England. Clifford Wheelhouse, the Wireless Air Gunner, and Clark Wilson, the Bomb Aimer, were originally buried in a cemetery in St Riquier-es-Plains, and later in Grandcourt War Cemetery, France.

Bill Anderson



Flt.Lt. George Buchanan Barnie 420 Squadron

Flight Lieutenant George Barnie (1922-2013) was a pilot who served in No. 420 Squadron. He flew many types of warplanes, but his favourite "kite" was the Lancaster.




LAC Gregor Harry Cameron 420 Squadron

My father Gregor Cameron passed away when he was only 43. All I knew about his war experiences was that he lied about his age, like many young men of the time, and enlisted at age 17 in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He enlisted on August 9, 1943 in Lachine, Quebec. He was in the 420 RCAF Snowy Owl Squadron and his rank was LAC, meaning Leading Aircraftsman which I think was a mechanic.

Dad was shipped to England from Halifax on April 4, 1944 disembarking in the UK on April 11. I do not know the name of the ship or where he would have disembarked in the UK. I would love to have more information on this transport to the UK. When his parents complained that he was underage and serving in England, he was shipped back to Canada on September 22, 1944. I have determined that he would have served as ground maintenance crew, in all likelihood, and that he was probably at the base in Tholthorpe, Yorkshire.

Although Dad was only in England for 5 months, I am keen to learn more about what he could possibly have been doing for those 5 months. He stayed on in the RCAF until his discharge on May 9, 1946. Anyone with more info can contact me at my e-mail. Thank you.

C. Emmett



F/Sgt. Ben John May 420 Squadron

I joined No. 420 Squadron R.C.A.F. in December 1944 after training as flight engineer at St. Athan S. Wales and Locking in Somerset and being selected for flying Halifaxes. The weather was very bad with much snow consequently there was no flying until February. Our first operation was to Rheine in the Ruhr and we went on to complete ten more before the war ended including the long 700 mile each way flight over water to Heligoland.

The Squadron celebrated the end of hostilities now with a huge party on the airfield and I still don't know where all the beer came from! I am the only survivor of our crew and would be very pleased to hear from anyone connected with 420 Sqadron or this time.




P/O. Philip Jabez Brickstock DFC 420 Squadron

Pilot Officer Philip Jabez Brickstock was my grandfather, he migrated from Poland and was not allowed to join the RAF directly. He served with the RAF Volunteer Reserve 420 Squadron. He was awarded a DFC and lived to a ripe old age long after the war but I know nothing, more about him. Sadly I never got to meet him.

Ivor



Sgt. John Alfred White 420 Squadron

My Dad, Jack White joined the RAF a day after his 18th birthday and started training as a Flight Engineer on July 22nd 1943. He was based at Regent's Park and Lord's Cricket Ground for initial training. He then transferred to 61 Base for flight training. He joined 420 "Snowy Owl" Squadron on 19th November 1944 at the age of 19, and flew Handley Page Halifaxes.

I am still trying to find out more about his time in the RAF and would love to see if anyone has photos.

Paula Lilburn



PO. Frederick Walter Buck 420 Squadron (d.15th Oct 1942)

Frederick Walter Buck

My Uncle Fred Buck was shot down over Cologne, Germany on 15th of October 1942. My mother was 11-years-old when he died aged 22, but to her he seemed so old and grown-up. She now has his service medals and the silver cross that was awarded to her mother. He is commemorated on Panel 100 of Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, United Kingdom.

Frederick Buck was the son of Clarence Henry and Margaret Eileen Buck, of Copper Cliff, Ontario.

Terry Woodrow



Cpl. Bert Parker 420 Squadron

Dale



Flt.Sgt. Geoffrey C Player 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron (d.22nd Apr 1942)

Geoffrey Player was a British airman seconded to the RCAF stationed at Waddington flying Handley Page Hamptons.

Don Player



Flt.Sgt. Frederick "Pop" Wingham 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron

My grandfather Fred Wingham flew with Snowy Owl and maintained his links with his crew and their families until his death at 90. He was the oldest on board, hence the nickname Pop and the only Englishman. My father still has his logbooks. My favourite memory of his reminiscences is of Africa. Grandad was walking past a group of soldiers and he heard someone mention Bombardier Wingham. It was his brother! Thousands of miles from home and he found his younger brother Alfred. He loved attending the squadron reunions especially those at Middleton St George as it meant he could visit his family in the north east.

Tracey Wingham



F/O. Lloyd Henry Walton 420 Sqdn. (d.22nd July 1943)

Lloyd H. Walton grave marker

Flying Officer Lloyd Walton was the Bomb Aimer on HE334 of 420 Squadron. He was killed in action after air operations over Naples, Italy on 22nd of July 1943 aged 22. He was the son of Frederick Foster Walton and Mary Irene Walton, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. He is buried in Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.

Jocelyn Evoy







Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.



Goosepool.

Stan Howes


The History of RAF and RCAF Middleton St George and Teesside Airport
More information on:

Goosepool.




Into the Night Sky: RAF Middleton St George: A Bomber Airfield at War

Paul Tweddle











Links


Suggest a link















The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.



Hosted by:

The Wartime Memories Project Website

is archived for preservation by the British Library





Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
- All Rights Reserved