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No. 432 (Leaside) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 432 (Leaside) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 432 (Leaside) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

   No. 432 (Leaside) Squadron was the twelfth RCAF bomber squadron formed overseas at Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire, on 1st May 1943 with No. 6 (RCAF) Group of Bomber Command. Originally flying Wellingtons, later converting to Lancaster and Halifax. The squadron's first operation was on the night of the 23rd/24th May 1943 and by the end of the war in Europe, it had flew 3,100 sorties with the loss of 71 aircraft.
Airfields at which 432 Squadron were based during the Second World War:
  • Skipton-on-Swale. May to Sep 1943
  • East Moor. from Sep 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.


4th July 1943 432 Squadron Wellington lost

5th Jan 1945 Night Ops

15th Jan 1944 432 Squadron Lancaster lost

13th Feb 1945 Night Ops

24th Mar 1944 Berlin Targeted

28th May 1944 432 Squadron Halifax lost

8th Jun 1944 432 Squadron Halifax lost

8th Aug 1944 Ops Scrubbed

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. 432 (Leaside) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Blomeley William James.
  • Burford Edward Charles. Sgt.
  • Carruthers Orne Ross. WO.
  • Carruthers Orne Ross. W/O
  • Fortin Jean-Claude.
  • Gnius Mike. F/O. (d.20th Jan 1944)
  • Grigg William Hamilton. Flt.Sgt.
  • Higgs Joseph.
  • Horn Walter Wilfred. MWO1 (d.27th June 1943)
  • King Alexander. W/O
  • Lowle G. P.. WO.2 (d.2nd Dec 1943)
  • Maguire John Goodwin. F/Lt. (d.21st Feb 1945)
  • McLay John Milton. F/O. (d.28th Apr 1944)
  • Narum Chester Russell. P/O (d.31st Mar 1944)
  • Piper William Thomas. Flt.Sgt.
  • Quesnel Joseph Herve Leon . Sgt.
  • Tarr Charles Francis. Sergeant (d.14th Jan 1944)
  • Waddell Walter William. LAC.
  • Zacharuk Alexander Orest. WO1.

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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W/O Alexander King DFC. 432 Sqd.

On enquiring my late father, Sandy King's papers I saw that he was with 432 Squadron for 7 months from August 43 until March 44. In 1944 Dec he became Flight Sargeant then in 1945 became a Warrant Officer.


Sergeant Charles Francis Tarr RCAF 432 Squadron (d.14th Jan 1944)

My Father, Sgt. Charles Francis Tarr, Service # 1068226, British born, and a member of the RAF. He was assigned to the 432 squadron RCAF, and lost his life on a raid in January 14, 1944. I was born later that year, and obviously have only emotional and brief family stories and no living memory of this great man. I am trying in my senior and retirement years to build a history of his service and death in action. Frank Tarr

Frank Tarr

F/O. John Milton McLay 432 Squadron (d.28th Apr 1944)

Flying Officer John McLay was my father's cousin. My father told me about him when I was a child. He was in the RCAF and served as a navigator on bombers. He was shot down and killed in 1944 and that's all I knew about him until I started to research him and his war service. I know almost nothing about Johnís childhood. He was born and grew up in Lionís Head, Ontario. It is a very small village about 150 miles north of Toronto and surrounded by mainly farmland and to the east Georgian Bay.

John enlisted in the RCAF in 1939 and was promoted to Flying Officer after his training. He was part of 432 squadron and was flying in Halifax BIII bombers in 1944. On the night of April 27 1944, 432 Squadron along with 419, 431, and 434 Squadrons were tasked with bombing the railroad marshalling yards at Montzen, Belgium. After midnight on the 28th April, Johnís Halifax was attacked by a German nightfighter piloted by Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer aka. The Night Ghost of St. Trond. His Halifax crashed near Verviers, Belgium. John is buried at Heverlee War Cemetery Belgium. John McLayís aircraft, Halifax BIII number MZ588 call sign QO-W was brand new to the squadron and this was itís first and only combat mission. I do not know how many mission my fatherís cousin flew. Of course I never knew him but I would have liked to have known him.

David McLay

P/O Chester Russell Narum 432 Squadron (d.31st Mar 1944)

Chester Narum was my father's best friend. Dad had wanted to enlist also, but did not pass the medical. It was very hard for Dad to be left at home while his best buddy went off to war, and harder still to receive the news of his death. I think Dad felt guilty for not being over there with him and the others from our small village. We lost 5 young men. The battle that some felt over not being able to fight along side their friends is a battle we may not think of, but it, too, had its casualties.

Tamie Eastman

William James "Doc" Blomeley 432 squadron

My father, Bill Blomeley, served in WW2, as a rear gunner in "willie the Wolf", a Halifax bomber. I still have his log book of all the bombing runs over Germany.

Jo Anne Gerrard

F/O. Mike Gnius 434 (Bluenose) Squadron (d.20th Jan 1944)

Mike Gnius flew 6 missions in a Halifax; 5 as Middle Upper Air Gunner and 1 as Rear Air Gunner. On November 18, 1943 during an operation against Ludwigshafen, the aircraft was attacked by an FW 190. Rear Gunner Hill and MU/AG Gnius fired and F/O Brest took evasive action. F/O Brest and P/O Gnius were interviewed the following day and their account of the fight and flight back to base on 3 engines and an inoperable rear turret was reported in the Canadian Press. Also mentioned in the article were Wilf Kipp, James Snowsell and Jack Morgan.

Teresa Kindrachuk

Flt.Sgt. William Thomas "Pip" Piper 433 Squadron

My grandfather William "Pip" Piper flew with the Novick crew 433 (Porcupine) Squadron. He always had fond memories of his Canadian crew mates and at 94 is still going strong although the recent loss of his wife of 65 years has been painful.

He always has a funny story about Bill Novick flying the plane like he was driving a lorry but I know he has the utmost respect for him and has often said he flew Bill Novick and what a gentleman he is and still practising as a doctor .Amazing man!


WO.2 G. P. Lowle 432 Squadron (d.2nd Dec 1943)

Memorial Cross

G.P. Lowle served as a navigator with 432 Squadron. His aircraft was shot down by an M109 or flak. He is buried in the Berlin War Cemetery.

Andre Genest

F/Lt. John Goodwin Maguire Leaside 432 Sqdn. (d.21st Feb 1945)

My grandfather, John Maguire enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was about 20 years old. He rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and was serving as navigator when his aircraft, a Halifax VII bomber, was shot down on route from East Moor airport to Worms, Germany, on February 21, 1945.

Jack and five other crew members were killed; the remaining member was injured and remained hospitalized until liberation. His crew mates were: Flight Lt. E.S. Maguire (pilot), Sgt. A.A. MacDonald, Flying Officer C.W. McMillan, Flight Lt. C.S. Moir, Flight Sgt. F.T. McLachlan and Flight Sgt. E.J. McCalarty.

R J Newton

Sgt. Joseph Herve Leon Quesnel DFM 432 Sqdn.

Joseph Quesnel was my grandad who sadly I never knew as he died many years ago. I know very little about him as my mum was very young when he died and we would love to find out anything about him

Tania O'Halloran

Sgt. Edward Charles "Junior" Burford 432 Squadron

As with most veterans, Edward Burford didn't talk too much about the war. He joined the RCAF in late 1943 at the age of 19. His Flying Log Book shows that he made only one operation over enemy territory in April of 1945. He spent most of his time training in Canada and England. He was a Wireless Operator on Wellington and Halifax bombers.

Apparently he did a fair bit of gambling with his crew mates and others and was quite good at it, so much so that he earned the nickname "Lucky Eddy". He also had another nickname "Junior". All the money that he made at gambling he saved and put towards getting married and starting a family when he got home to Canada. In his later years he did talk more and more about the war and the people that he met. He went to reunions in Winnipeg whenever he could.

Ken J Burford

WO. Orne Ross Carruthers 432 Squadron

Orne Carruthers served with the RCAF 432 Squadron at Skipton-on-Swale. He survived the war and married a British war bride, Mary Crowe of Birmingham, England. His crew flew several missions over France and Germany near the end of the war. He was part of the last flight that left England in battle as the war ended.

G Carruthers

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

WO1. Alexander Orest "Chiefy" Zacharuk MID Bomb Aimer 432 Squadron


Alexander Zacharuk's citation reads: "Under a calm and quiet manner he has always maintained a fine offensive spirit in action which inspired confidence in his crew members and other crews in his flight. Eleven of his 26 operational sorties have been over heavily defended targets in Germany, such as Dusseldorf, Essen, Brunswick, Berlin (three times), Stuttgart and Frankfurt."

Halifax NP706 (QO-J) took off at 0326 hours, on the 18th of July 1944 from East Moor to bomb fortified positions facing the Allied push towards Caen. The aircraft was shot down in flames by flak.

This was a very experienced crew whose skipper had flown 31 operations. the crew consisted of:

  • F/Sgt R E Burton (RCAF) was mortally wounded and is buried in Bretteville-sur-Laine Canadian War Cemetery.
  • F/L J.H. Cooper (RCAF, POW),
  • Sergeant S.D. Wright (RCAF, POW),
  • Sergeant H.E. Oakeby (evader),
  • F/O R.P. Dryden (RCAF, POW),
  • WO2 A. Zacharuk (RCAF, evader),
  • WO1 K.E. Elliott (RCAF, POW),
  • F/L J.H. Cooper was interned in Camp L3, POW No.7607,
  • F/O R.P. Dryden in Camp L1, POW No.5171,
  • WO1 K.E. Elliott in Camp L7, POW No.452
  • Sergeant S.D. Wright, in Camp L7 POW No.500.

Patrick Robinson

W/O Orne Ross Carruthers 432 Sqaudron

My father, Orne Carruthers, was a tail gunner in the RCAF 432 Squadron and flew several operations over Europe during the war. He passed away August 1999 and is buried in the Virden Cemetery, Virden Manitoba Canada. All members of his crew survived the war, all but one are all now deceased, the pilot "Bud" Raymond is still living and resides in Toronto Ontario.

More information on his wartime ops

Glen Carruthers

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