Beaufighter attacking T24 (source Internet)
Photograph of Squadron Leader William Ritchie Christison, who was awarded one of his Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) medals for this attack. He is standing by his Beaufighter.
William Ritchie Christison DFC (2) was born in Montreal, Québec (QC). His parents lived in Lennoxville QC and he enlisted in the RCAF in Sherbrooke, in July 1940. Christison received air crew instruction at various training schools in Canada and graduated from No. 7 Service Flying Training School in March 1941. He received his pilot officer commission in 1942 and by the time he joined No. 404 Squadron he had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) effective October 17, 1944.
The citation refers in part to one sortie where he was flight commander in an attack upon enemy shipping in Le Verdon harbour. The citation says: During the action his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire rendering one engine useless. However, Flight Lieutenant Christison completed the attack and made a successful return flight, landing at an advanced base in France. This officer has led his squadron with great skill and has set a fine example to all.
On March 30, 1945 Christison was awarded a second DFC. The citation says: “Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross this officer has taken part in a number of attacks on enemy shipping and throughout has displayed courage and resolution of a high standard”.
In February 1945, Squadron Leader Christison participated in an attack against an enemy force of eleven vessels. The ships were sheltered by high cliffs rising steeply from the water’s edge and defended by anti-aircraft batteries on the shore.
In the face of fire from these guns and from those of all the enemy ships and also opposition from enemy fighters, Squadron Leader Christison led his squadron into the attack which was pressed home with the greatest determination. His undoubted skill contributed materially to the success achieved. Regrettably, Christison was killed in action with No. 404 Squadron on March 24, 1945.
Source Archives Canada