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No. 424 (Tiger) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 424 (Tiger) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 424 (Tiger) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

   No. 424 (Tiger) Squadron was an RCAF squadron formed at Topcliffe in October 1942 as part of No.4 Group Bomber Command. On the 1st January 1943 424 Squadron tranferred to No.6 (RCAF) Group. The squadron flew its first operation on 15 January 1943, moving to North Africa to support the invasions of Sicily and Italy in the spring. The ground echelon left Britain on 15 May 1943, followed by the aircraft on 5th June, and the squadron was reunited at Kairouan on 23 June 1943.

No. 424 Squadron returned to the UK on 26 September 1943, leaving its Wellington aircraft behind. They were re-equipped with the Halifax III at Skipton on Swale and resumed operations with Bomber Command on 18th February 1944. The first delivery of Avro Lancaster aircraft arrived at the start of 1945 and remained in use to the end of the war. After the end of hostilities in Europe, No. 424 became a transport squadron, transporting troops to and from the continent until it was disbanded on the 15th of October 1945.
Airfields at which 424 Squadron were based during the Second World War:

  • Topcliffe. 15th Oct 1942 to 19th Apr 1943
  • Leeming. 19th Apr to 3rd May 1943
  • Dalton. 3rd to 15th May 1943
  • Kairouan. from 16th June
  • Zina. to 26th September 1943
  • Skipton-on-Swale. 6th Nov 1943 to 15th Oct 1945

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 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.


15th Jan 1943 Enemy Aircraft

29th Jan 1943 Enemy Aircraft

5th Jan 1945 Night Ops

24th Mar 1944 Berlin Targeted

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

28th May 1944 424 Squadron Halifax lost

Aug 1944 Arriving on the Squadron

25th Dec 1944 Merry Christmas

27th Feb 1945 Night Ops

2nd Mar 1945 Night Ops

3rd Mar 1945 Night Ops

8th Apr 1945 Night Ops

13th Apr 1945 Night Ops

22nd Apr 1945 Night Ops

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

Those known to have served with

No. 424 (Tiger) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bellantino Dominic. Flight Sergeant
  • Critchley James Whittle.
  • Dowding Alexander Francis. Pilot Officer (d.16th Feb 1944)
  • Grigg William Hamilton. Flt.Sgt.
  • Loudoun N.
  • McDonald Clarence.
  • Pearson Ray Sidney. Tech Sgt.
  • Plummer Syd. Sgt.
  • Prediger George. F/Sgt.
  • Roberts Lyman Anderson. Cpl.
  • Ross Donald Alexander. F/Lt. (d.5th Mar 1945)
  • Ross John Murdoch. F/O
  • Rowe Keith. Sgt.
  • Warburton Denis.
  • Witham Arthur Harris. 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

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N Loudoun DFC 424 Squadron

My dad, F/Lt N. Loudoun, served with the RCAF 424 Sqd at Skipton on Swale as a Halifax III pilot. His name comes up in some of the Daily Operations on the Group 6 website Aug/44 - Feb/44. He flew 39-40 sorties and ended up with a D.F.C. I am sure one proud son of my dad for what he did back then.

Mark Loudoun

Flight Sergeant Dominic Bellantino 434 Squadron

My uncle Dominic Bellantino served with the RCAF in 424 Squadron and was killed on the 7th March 1945. He is buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

I believe he was stationed at Skipton on Swale and was a gunner for a Lancaster "N". The pilot of his plane was W.D. Lighthall. Does anyone have have some info or photos of his squadron, his plane, etc. or any photos of the Air Base at that time?

Nancy Bellantino

F/Lt. Donald Alexander Ross 424 Sqd. (d.5th Mar 1945)

Donald Ross was the pilot of Lancaster NG458 during Operation Chemnitz on the night of the 5/6 March 1945. We think he was involved in a collision with another friendly aircraft. Two Parachutes were seen from the Lancaster, one airman, a S/Sgt was taken to Berlin and released after the war. The other we think was Don. He was taken to Frankenberg and held by Police but when being transferred to Berlin 5 "civilians" attacked the two police and kicked and beat this airman to death.

The odds are that it was F/Lt Donald Ross, my Dad's good friend, my Dad, F/L H.C. Manly, searched for him for many years and died without finding any information. Details from "The Mystery of Frankenberg's Canadian Airman", by Peter Hessel page 66.

David Manly

Tech Sgt. Ray Sidney Pearson 192 Squadron

My brother and I were in Coventry during the Blitz in 1940 and 1941. Ray joined the RAF in 1941 and after training in Terrill Texas and Ontario Canada qualified as Air Bomber. He actually passed as a pilot but developed a phobia about flying the aircraft so did extra training to be an air bomber. He arrived to 424 Squadron at Topcliffe and took part in approximate 19 raids including 'gardening- laying mines' until Mar 5th 1943 when he reported sick with a painful lump in the groin. He had an operation for a hernia and was off flying until April 21st. When he returned from leave he found that 424 Squadron had left for North Africa and No 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit had arrived At Topcliffe.

Ray then did a mad thing, he volunteered for the secret 192 Squadron at Feltwell (see Espionage in the Ether by W and J Rees). These guys did all sort of things with RADAR and Wireless some of which involved arriving over the target before the bomber streams and hanging about after the raid had finished. Rays career at flying finished after the raid on Hamburg 27th July 1943 when the German defences were baffled by the anti Radar action with 'Window' and misdirection of their fighters by wireless and Hamburg was destroyed. It was Ray's last raid of his tour and he refused to fly any more. He was transferred to the Royal Signals. After the war he went to reunions and one of his comrades told me 'They should have given him a medal, not thrown him out. He brought the plane back three times'. And this was inspite of his phobia about flying the aircraft! A condition not unknown in commercial flying.

Derek Pearson

Denis Warburton 424 Squadron

My Dad was based at RAF Skipton on Swale during WW2 and was in 424 Squadron. His name is Denis Warburton and he was a flight engineer, I know their plane was called Oscar and they flew 32 missions. My dad is the only survivor of his crew, I think the rest of his crew were Canadians.

Helen Abrahams

Cpl. Lyman Anderson Roberts 424 (Tiger) Squadron

My father, Lyman Roberts served with Tiger Squadron as an Armourer. He had a scrapbook of pictures and tales - including a picture of the "last softball" game before they were disbanded. He recently passed away.I am looking to compile and share information about his time served in Skipton. One of his initiatives during the war was donating his time and efforts to making toys for the children there. I would so love to locate a sample of one of these toys - I know it is a long shot, but definitely a dream of mine.

Roberta Roberts

F/O John Murdoch Ross DFM. 424 Squadron

John Murdock Ross was a member of 424 Squadron. He was born in Bainsville, Ontario, and worked as a Mechanic before joining the RCAF. He trained at No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald Manitoba and was commissioned in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on the 6th of January 1945, which appeared in the London Gazette of the 19th of January 1945:

"Ross, Flight Sergeant (now Pilot Officer) John Murdock has completed numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which (he has ) invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty" The recommendation for the DFM is dated 23rd of October 1944 when he had completed 35 sorties, totaling 168 hours 20 minutes) between 22 May and 23 September 1944. "Flight Sergeant Ross has completed a tour of operations which have included many difficult sorties over heavily defended targets. Throughout his tour he has shown great coolness and confidence, two essential qualities that have made him a most valuable member of the aircraft crew. His duties in the gunnery section and ground work outside have been commented on by old and new members of the squadron as a gunner who has always displayed coolness and devotion to duty of the highest order." I would like to find out more about him.

Andrew Hlasko

Update: Second World War ID Bracelet returned home after 69 years.

I guess you can say this story starts in 1939 when the 2nd World War began, hundreds of young men joined the armed forces. With no end to the war in sight, in late 1942 John M. Ross, a young man who just turned 18, the age that was required to join the forces, entered the Royal Canadian Air Force, (R.C.A.F.).

The son of Thomas Ross of Bainsville and his wife Maud Young, he was the youngest and only boy in the family. John was very close to his sister Lita, 18 months older, while his other sisters, Zina and Mary, were a few years older. It was Lita who bought the ID bracelet for him before he went overseas in late 1943 and inscribed it "There'll never be another you, Lita "

This bracelet, at some point, was lost and the immediate family knew nothing about its existence until Bill Nurse, a researcher with the Trenton Air Force Museum, received an e-mail from Andrew Hlasko asking about a John M. Ross service # R207165/ J90151. Andrew, a keen student and collector of historic USAAF and RCAF WW II aviation related militaria and named bracelets in particular, had bought the bracelet from an antique dealer at an Antique show in Baltimore, Maryland, and wondered who the original owner of the bracelet might be and the story behind it.

Bill Nurse checked the information provided by the service number. While searching on the internet for a Ross family in Bainsville he found that Don and Jean Ross of Duncan were researching the Ross families of Glengarry. He wrote to them with particulars to see if they could provide some information on who John M. Ross was. As it happens they did know as they were distantly related, so the story continues. John passed away in 1976, they knew that I had married again, where my husband Alex W. Fraser and myself were located and informed Bill, who sent me an e-mail. Since I had married John after the war, I did not recall anything about a bracelet and Lita having died a few years ago there was no one alive whom we could get some answers from.

John had been stationed in Lachine, Que., Trenton, Ont., Kingston, Ont., Trenton, Ont., MacDonald, Manitoba, Halifax, N.S. and was shipped overseas from Myles Standish, Mass, US. I found a letter addressed to him at Camp Miles Standish, Taunton, Mass, USA so we know he was there. Did he possibly lose the bracelet while stationed there? Is that why it turned up in the US?

His mother kept all his letters and while rereading them recently, I found a mention of a lost bracelet and that Lita was replacing it with another with a better clasp but the insignia was not in the center as in the original. The bracelet that Andrew discovered has the insignia in the center so we know that this is the original one given to John by his younger sister Lita before hewent overseas.

Thanks to Andrew for his thoughtfulness in wanting to trace the owner of the bracelet, and to Bill for providing assistance in locating John's family. Subsequently,his bracelet has returned home after an absence of 69 years. John was decorated with a DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) and along with his service medals we now have the bracelet and an amazing story as to how it was returned. Rhoda Ross, Courtenay, BC

Ross, Flight Sergeant ( Now Pilot Officer ) John Murdock. R207165/ J90151- DFM 424 Squadron. Award effective 6 January as per London Gazette dated 19 January 1945 and AFRO 508/45 dated 23 March 1945. Born in Bainsville, Ontario, home there ( Mechanic ). Trained at No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald Manitoba. Commissioned 1944. No citation other than that he has 'completed numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which (he has ) invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty'....D Hist File 181.009 D2609 (RG.24 Vol 20627) has recommendation dated 23 October 1944 when he had completed 35 sorties ( 168 hours 20 minutes ) from 22 May to 23 September 1944.

Flight Sergeant Ross has completed a tour of operations which have included many difficult sorties over heavily defended targets. Throughout his tour he has shown great coolness and confidence, two essential qualities that have made him a most valuable member of the aircraft crew. His duties in the gunnery section and ground work outside have been commented on by old and new members of the squadron as a gunner who has always displayed coolness and devotion to duty of the highest order....

The following from a small notebook in John M. Ross war memorabilia Places where I have been stationed, Lachine, Quebec. Trenton, Ont Kingston, Ont. Trenton, Ont MacDonald, Manitoba, Halifax, NovaScotia Myles Standish, Mass. US.

Rhoda Ross

Sgt. Arthur Harris Witham 424 Sqd.

After much digging around I have discovered that my Dad, Arthur Witham was stationed at Skipton-on-Swale with 424 Squadron. He was in the flight crew of F/O D. Saunders and served as the rear gunner. Other members of that crew were F/O G. Parent, Sgt A. Andrews, F/Sgt C. LaForce, Sgt E. Ellis and F/Sgt A. Olafson.

Jennifer Witham

Clarence McDonald 424 Squadron

My dad, Clarence McDonald, was a middle upper gunner on Victorious Virgin with 424 Squadron. He did his tour and I have his tour book of operations.

Anyone out there that was on that Halifax bomber please respond.All these young men back then were heros.

Rick McDonald

Sgt. Keith Rowe 424 Squadron

Keith Rowe died at the respectable age of 92 years. He was so proud to have served in 424 Squadron flying a total of 193hrs over Europe, 130hrs of which were night time operations, before being posted to Luqa in Malta where he flew missions over Cairo West, El Aouina, Tunis and Elmas, Sardinia.

Keith seldom spoke of his experiences but never forgot his companions in 424, particularly the men who never flew home. The memories he kept to himself were too sensitive and raw, even during his final days, but he did hold these men in the highest regard and was honoured to serve alongside them.

John Nelson

F/Sgt. George Prediger 424 Squadron

Gregory Prediger

Flt.Sgt. William Hamilton Grigg 424 Squadron

William H. Grigg joined the RCAF in January 1942. His first posting was to elementary flight training at #10 EFTS in Mount Hope, Ontario. In April 1942 he transferred to #6 SFTS in Dunville, Ontario for training on the Harvard and Yale aircraft. In July 1942 having completed the tests and training for his pilots badge, he was awarded his RCAF wings.

In September 1942 he commenced his training on the Oxford bomber aircraft with the RAF in Dishforth. In November of this same year, he commenced his training on the Wellington bomber aircraft while attached to the #23 OTU in Pershore, England.

In March 1943, Bill Grigg and his crew began operational bombing flights into Germany on the Wellington aircraft. Between March 1st 1942 and May 29th 1943, they flew numerous missions over Germany bombing their assigned targets. On May 29th, while returning to England from a mission over Wuppertal, Germany, their aircraft was shot down. During this enemy attack, Bill Grigg was rendered unconscious from a shrapnel hit in the head. Prior to jumping from the aircraft, other crew members put him out of the falling aircraft with an open parachute. He landed in Holland and was captured by the German Army. In early June 1943, he was taken to Stalag Luft VI at Haydekrug. He was assigned POW No.154. William Grigg remained a POW for the remainder of the war.

His wartime log book states that on 6th April 1945, he and the entire POW personnel set out on a forced march from Fallingbostel, Germany. On 2nd May 1945 they were liberated by British paratroopers. Those that did survive were seriously malnourished and many POWs did not survive the march.

Mike Keegan

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