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No. 427 (Lion) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 427 (Lion) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 427 (Lion) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

   No. 427 (Lion) Squadron was formed at Croft on 7 November 1942, becoming part of No. 6 Group on 1 January 1943. In May 1943, 427 moved to Leeming and re-equipped with the Handley Page Halifax converting to Avro Lancasters just before the end of the Second World War. No. 427 Squadron was disbanded on 31 May 1946. Airfields at which No. 427 Squadron were based:
  • Croft. 7 Nov 1942 to May 1943
  • Leeming. May 1943 to 31st May 1946.



2nd Jan 1943 Operations

5th Jan 1945 Night Ops

22nd Jan 1944 427 Squadron Halifax lost

13th Feb 1945 Night Ops

16th Mar 1944 427 Squadron Lancaster lost

24th Mar 1944 Berlin Targeted

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

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

25th Mar 1945 Night Ops

8th Apr 1945 Night Ops

13th Apr 1945 Night Ops

18th 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. 427 (Lion) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Adlam. Oscar Philip Edwin Ronald J. Sgt (d.12th Feb 1943 )
  • Ball William . Sgt. (d.12th Feb 1943)
  • Brownell . F/O
  • Clifford Arnold C . Sgt. (d.12th Feb 1943)
  • Dawson Raymond. P/O (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Dean A P. Sgt
  • Dunn. Bryan . F/O (d.12th Feb 1943)
  • Ford Everett Morrison. PO (d.14th February 1945)
  • Hamilton James Douglas. Flt.Sgt. (d.23rd June 1943)
  • Harris Frank Albert Charles. Sgt. (d.21st Feb 1944)
  • Jelley. William C I . Sgt (d.12th Feb 1943)
  • Johnson Eric Arthur. PO.
  • Keen Geoffrey Frank. Sqn Ldr.
  • Keen Geoffrey Frank. Sqdn.Ldr.
  • Lumsden W. Sgt
  • Middleton A. C. P/O (d.25th Feb 1944)
  • Middleton Albert Charles. P/O (d.25th Feb 1944)
  • Mortimer Don. P/O
  • Osler Thomas. (d.5th January 1945)
  • Peak John Frederick. PO (d.14th February 1945)
  • Smith Albert. F/O
  • Southwood G T . Sgt
  • Spears Lloyd G.. P/O
  • Taylor. Carl. F/Lt
  • Thompson Roland. (d.9th Oct 1943)
  • Wilson Joyce.

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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F/O Albert Smith DFC 109, 427, 142 Squadrons

My father, F/O Albert Smith, flew with the 109 Squadron from July 1944 until November 1944. He flew with the 427 Squadron and the 142 Squadron before joining 109. He completed 89 missions before colliding with another Mosquito over Aachen, Germany on the night of 30th November 1944 on the way to Karlsruhe. He bailed out just behind enemy lines but walked into the American sector with the help of local farmers. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. We have his log book, flying jacket, and surprisingly, pieces of the plane which were recovered by a war time archeological group in Aachen.

Steve Smith

P/O Albert Charles Middleton 427 RCAF Squadron (d.25th Feb 1944)

My Uncle served with 427 RCAF Squadron at REF Leeming as an Air Gunner flying Halifax's. On the night of 25th Feb 1944 he took off from RAF Leeming at 2130 for a bobming raid on Augsburg. The crew comprised of
  • F/L R G Milton (Pilot),
  • Sgt F C Barker,
  • F/O A W Shirley RACF,
  • P/O K K Hignett,
  • F/O F J Thompson,
  • Sgt M R Singer,
  • P/O A C Middleton.
      Weather on 25th Feb 1944: Cloudy with rain durning morning. Visibilty modrate to good. Of the 10 aircraft that became airborne one returned soon after take off when oil pressure on starboard outer engine seriously dropped and caused dangerous overheating. This aircraft was "R" piloted by F/S C H Coathup. The aircraft LK759 was attacked and shot down by an ME110 flown by Hptm Hans-Karl Kamp (NJG4) and crashed at Beuren, 18km ESE of Trier. All the crew died with the exception of F/O F. J. Thompson who was thrown clear as the Halifax exploded and he spent several weeks in hospital. On his release from hospital he was interned in Camp L3, POW No 3711. P/O Albert Charles Middleton is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Plot 4 Row AA, Grave 14

A B Middleton

Sqn Ldr. Geoffrey Frank "Chuffo" Keen CGM, DFM. 51 Sqn.

Geoffrey Frank Keen was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on 26th March 1916, the youngest of five children, with a brother Jack and three sisters Doris, Gwen and Mary, born to Minnie and Percy Keen. He was never to meet his father, he was killed in action near Messines Ridge in Flanders on 4th June 1917.

At Dr. Challoners Grammar School, Amersham, he was an enthusiastic sportsman and represented the school at both cricket and football. On leaving school he served an apprenticeship in printing, working for the company which produced the local newspaper. His enthusiasm for sport continued after he left school and became an important part of his life. He and his brother Jack both played for the Town Club, Chesham United, and Geoffrey had trials for both Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers.

On the outbreak of war the two brothers decided to join the RAF and in October 1940 Geoffrey was posted to Yatesbury for basic training then on to Penrhos for Bombing and Gunnery School and finally to Abingdon OTU for wireless training before the finished article was posted to his first operational base as wireless operator/air gunner Sergeant Keen at Dishforth and 51 Squadron, equipped with Whitleys. His log book entries include:

1941, Kiel-could not reach target,- bombed Boulogne Docks instead, Bremen, Mannheim, Hanover, Kiel-'pranged' on drome, Cologne, Dortmund, Duisburg. Wihelmshaven, Brest, Dunkirk, Emden, Frankfurt-baled out East Dereham, Berlin, Stuttgart, Nuremberg,

1942, Cologne(1000 bombers), Essen(1000 bombers), Dusseldorf.

He completed his first tour (30 ops) in November 1941 and was posted to Abingdon No.10 OTU in December. In January 1942 he was cited in the London Gazette as follows:

Distinguished Flying Medal (D.F.M.) London Gazette 30.1.42. Sergeant, No. 51 Squadron, the recommendation states: 'During the many sorties in which this wireless operator has participated, some of which have been at extreme range, he has displayed high qualities of courage and determination. His technical skill is of a high order and on one occasion, after a raid on Stuttgart, his steadiness in obtaining wireless aid was solely responsible for the return of his aircraft after bearings had been completely lost.'

Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Keen became a founder member of 427 Squadron as the wireless operator to Wing Commander Dudley Burnside when he became the squadrons C/O and it was on only their seventh operation together that the crews abilities were tested to the limit and for which four of them were decorated, including Geoffrey as cited below:

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (C.G.M.) London Gazette 23. 4. 43 Flight Sergeant D.F.M., No.427 (Lion) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. On the night of 12th March 1943, this airman was the wireless operator of an aircraft detailed to attack Essen. Whilst over the target area the aircraft was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire. The navigator was killed instantaneously. Flight Sergeant Keen, who was in the astro-dome, had his right foot blown off and received cuts to both legs. Disregarding his wounds, Flight Sergeant Keen regained his seat in the wireless cabin. For over two hours he laboured to repair the damaged apparatus. He could not speak to other members of the crew owing to damage to the inter-communication apparatus. Another airman spoke to him, however, on at least a dozen occasions and found him still conscious and working at his self-imposed task of directing the manipulation of various installations. He also offered assistance in navigating the aircraft and actually managed to drag himself on two occasions to the navigator's compartment to obtain essential information necessary for the aircraft's safe return. His courage and fortitude in such circumstances were of the highest order

The recommendation states: 'I consider this N.C.O.'s superb display of courage and devotion to duty whilst seriously wounded fully merits the award of the Victoria Cross' (Wing Commander D. H. Burnside, Commanding Officer, RCAF Station, Middleton St. George).

'This case is considered to be an outstanding example of coolness and tenacity of purpose on the part of this N.C.O. when seriously wounded, and demanding courage of the highest order-an award of the Victoria Cross is recommended (Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice Marshall G.E. Brookes CB OBE )

`As was only fitting, the very fine display of courage and determination shown by all members of the crew was subsequently recognised by awards. Burnside received a Bar to his DFC, Hayhurst and Ross the DFC, and Keen, who already had the DFM, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.' (RCAF Overseas 1944)

As a result of his wounds part of his right foot was amputated but after a period of three months convalescence he returned to the squadron where he remained for the duration of the war, finishing as Squadron Leader responsible for training of Group 6 wireless operators. Upon returning to civilian life he trained as a teacher before marrying Jose Barnes, the girl he met after a visit to the cinema in Oxford while training at Abingdon. In 1948 they moved to his home town Chesham, where he was to become Assistant Head and eventually Headmaster of the local village school of St Leonards in Buckinghamshire.

Always a keen sportsman and in spite of the lack of half a foot he continued to play football and cricket not only at club level for Chesham United FC and Chesham CC but also at county level winning several winners medals in the process. When his playing days were over he took up umpiring, golf and bowls. Heaven knows how he found the time to look after the garden.

Martin Keen

Joyce Wilson

My Mother was in the WAAF served at Leeming, she met my Dad there. They married after Dad was repatriated to the UK when the POW’s were liberated. Her name is Joyce Wilson later Findlater. I think she was attached to 427 Squadron.

My Dad, Harold A. Findlater, flew in Halifax aircraft out of Leeming in 1943 with RCAF 429 Squadron, he was shot down over Dusseldorft on 22 April 1943 in aircraft LV963 and became a POW in Stalag Luft 111. We brought my Dad & Stepmum up to Leeming in, I think, 1990 and I remember the staff showing Dad some details about himself in a book, but I don’t remember any of the detail. How can I find out more about this please? My brother and I also came to Leeming to scatter some of his ashes, at the end of the runway, when he passed away in 2002. The staff at Leeming when very kind to us on both occasions.

Any information that anyone can give me would be much appreciated.

Sheryl Crossland

Sgt. Frank Albert Charles Harris 427 Sqn. (d.21st Feb 1944)

Frank Harris was my Uncle. I have recently been delving into my family history and although I had heard of him from family members I was not told where he died. With many thanks to a gentleman named John Belcher of Chippenham, Wilts I have learnt that he was killed on a mission to Stuttgart. The Halifax ZL-Y LV836 took off from Leeming at 0015 with three Canadians and four British crew but crashed approx. nine minutes later in a field one mile north west of Northallerton.

The names of the crew were:

  • F/O R K Laut RCAF
  • Sgt.E J Rove
  • F/O W N Hegy RCAF
  • P/O R W Moody RCAF
  • Sgt.G H Jones
  • Sgt. A F Fitton

Sheila Cooper

Flt.Sgt. James Douglas "Douglas" Hamilton 427 Squadron (d.23rd June 1943)

In reviewing my deceased mother's papers, I found the following information about her fiancé who was killed in the war. He was James Douglas Hamilton (FS) P R102390, killed in action June 23rd 1943 age 22 of 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas). He was a Flight Sergeant Pilot from Kenaston, Sask I am confident, in the accuracy of this information, as my mother had told me about Douglas many years ago, and had given me his jacket, scarf and the telegram announcing his death, which she had been keeping. It may be of use to know that the gentleman went by Douglas, his middle name, and his mother's name was Alice. I have seen a few photos of Douglas among my mother's albums.

Patricia Allen

P/O A. C Middleton 427 Squadron (d.25th Feb 1944)

P/O A C Middleton was born in Dublin Eire. He was a menber of 427 Squadron flying a Halifax's out of RAF Leeming.

On the night of 25th Feburary 1944 he was a air gunner as part of he crew of Halifax LK759 the crew comprised of

  • F/L J R G Milton,
  • Sgt F C Barker,
  • F/O A W Shirley RCAF,
  • P/O K K Hignett
  • F/O F J Thompson,
  • Sgt M R Singer and
  • F/O F J Thompson
They got airborne at 2130 on the night of 25th February 1944 for a bombing raid over Augsburg. The bomber was attacked and shot down by a ME110 flown by Hptm Hans-Karl Kamp NJG4, crashing at Beuren, 18kn ESE of Trier.

F/O Thompson was thrown clear as the Halifax exploded and spent several weeks in hospital and on release was interned in Camp L3, POW No 3711. The remainder of the crew were all killed.

P/O A C Middleton is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery Plat 4 Row AA Grave 14. I am the nephew of P/O A C Middleon.

Albert Middleton

Thomas Osler 427 Sqdn. (RCAF) (d.5th January 1945)

My grandfather Tom Osler was fatally shot on 5th January 1945 whilst parachuting from a plane in Germany.


P/O Lloyd G. Spears 427 Sqdn.

P/O Spears flew 33 sorties from July to November 1944, mainly in Halifax IIIs. Lloyds was the navigator and the pilot for almost all sorties, as well as many training, was F/O Brownell. Happily Lloyd and the crew survived, although he died several years ago. Does anyone remember him or the crew?

Brian Reis

F/O Brownell 427 Sqdn.

F/O Brownell was the pilot, mainly in Halifax IIIs, for sorties from July to November 1944, as well as many training exercises. His navigator was P/O Spears. Happily the crew survived the war.

Sqdn.Ldr. Geoffrey Frank Keen CGM, DFM. 51 Sqdn. and 427 Sqdn

427 Sqn. 1943 Crew of BK164/ZL-E L to R: F/S Ross (air gunner), F/O Hayhurst (bomb aimer) W/C Burnside (pilot), F/S Keen (wireless operator), W/O Heather (navigator). March 1943

S/L Geoffrey Keen CGM, DFM, 1944.

Geoffrey Keen served with 51 Squadron and 427 Squadron.

Martin Keen

PO Everett Morrison Ford 427 Sqdn. (d.14th February 1945)

Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) Ford was the son of Leslie Ezra and Della May Ford, of Evesham, Saskatchewan, Canada.

He was 21 when he died and is buried in Joint grave 117B in Hoven (Brande) Cemetery in Denmark.

S Flynn

PO John Frederick Peak 427 Sqdn. (d.14th February 1945)

Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) Peak was the son of Frederick E. and Aileen Peak, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

He was 26 when he died and is buried in the Joint grave 117B in the Hoven (Brande) Cemetery in Denmark.

S Flynn

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