Forgotten RCAF 404 Squadron Airmen – Flight Sergeant G.A. Crow and Flight Sergeant W.E. Leake

Hans Sanders wrote me.

Hi, what a wonderful blog you have here on Squadron 404. I have more detail on the actions that took place on the 13th August 1944 concerning the Buffalo LZ297 crew:

Bristol Beaufighter, LZ295, August 13, 1944
Pilot: Flt. Sgt. G.A. Crow, 1320524, RAFVR, Unknown Hometown
Navigator: Flt. Sgt. W.E. Leake, 1602731, RAFVR, Southall, Middlesex, United Kingdom

Aircraft was on a mission to attack enemy ships in the mouth of the Gironde, a major waterway in southwest France. LZ295 was shot down by flak in the Gironde Estuary. Flt. Sgt. Leake’s body was recovered and buried, Flt. Sgt. Crow is listed as “Missing in Action”


Bristol Beaufighter TF.Mk X
Owner/operator: 404 (Buffalo) Sqn RCAF
Registration: LZ295
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Mouth of the Gironde – France
Phase: Combat
Nature: Military
Departure airport: RAF Dyce, Aberdeen
Destination airport:

Aircraft was on a mission to attack enemy ships in the mouth of the Gironde, a major waterway in southwest France. LZ295 was shot down by flak in the Gironde Estuary

Pilot: Flt. Sgt. G.A. Crow, 1320524, RAFVR – killed
Navigator: Flt. Sgt. W.E. Leake, 1602731, RAFVR – killed


I am related to William Eric Leake. I have a good photo of him in his flying uniform. (see it here:


I also found some French records relating to the discovery of his body.

The translation is as follows:
Place: Le Bois-Plage-en-ré
Type: Deceased
Date: 23/8/1944
Number/Source: Mairie du Bois-Plage-en-ré – Report by Jean-Noel Savignac
1944/civil status death certificate No. 14
Last Name: ERIC (Leake)
First Name: Guillaume (William Eric)
Place of Birth: Sothall, Middlesex, Great Britain
Date of Baptism: 18/07/1944
Gender: M
Age: 30 years

Note: On the 23rd of August, Nineteen hundred and forty-four, thirteen o’clock we observed the death, apparently going back several months, of a male individual, who is wearing a dark blue gray jacket with the insignia of the Royal Air Force and a gilded metal badge on the right arm, ID No. 491303 with the following inscription: F/S Leake – 235 – 9/6/44 – alert: slight – blue eyes – bay hair – birth 18-7-/1914 – RAF N0. 1602731. F/S – father Leake – name Guillaume Eric.

The body was found at the place called “La Fontaine”. On the 24th day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-four, ten o’clock, on the declaration of Adrien Favreau, fifty nine year old, keeper of the Bois, who had read the book, signed with us Gaston David, Mayor of Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré – F/Sgt William Eric LEAKE, Navigator RAF VR, deceased and buried in the Bois-Plage-en-Ré – Ile de-Ré communal cemetery (Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, Charente-Maritime 17), serial number 1602731 – This English aviator was a navigator on a Bristol Beaufighter of the 404 Squadron RCAF on a German ships attack mission, shot down by the Flack at the mouth of the Gironde, near Royan. The plane had taken off from Davidstow Moor, Cornwall UK.
Occupation: British Aviator
Husband Name: LEAKE
Husband First Name: Bessie Olive
Father’s Last Name: LEAKE
Father’s First Name: Harold
Mother’s Last Name: LEAKE
Mother’s First Name: Alice

I will let you decide if you want to include any or all this information.

Kind Regards,
Hans Sanders, Adelaide, Australia

Flying Officer Peter McCartney and Flight Lieutenant Raymond Clifford. Ridge

Last week Peter McCartney’s son shared this photo showing his father on the left and Flight Lieutenant Raymond Clifford Ridge on the right standing on the wing of their Beaufighter.

Mike had came across the 404 Squadron Website a few years ago when it was still active, and had printed out some of the pages, in particular those including references to his father.

Peter McCartney and Raymond Clifford Ridge were first referred to on that website in the account of actions on D-Day June 1944 when McCartney’s cupola was shot off.

In June 1944 they held the ranks of Flight Sergeant and Flying Officer, but by the time of their final action on 8 March 1945 they had risen to the ranks of Flying Officer and Flight Lieutenant.

Both were awarded a DFC.

Mike told me that on a technical point of accuracy, the awards of the DFC to both his father and R.C. Ridge were not posthumous; although the medals were not confirmed and received until after their deaths on 8 March 1945. They were in recognition of many actions prior to that date.

Attached is the official notification of McCartney’s award which you will see is with effect from 7th March 1945.

As Mike wrote…

The explanation of whether an award is posthumous or not is rather involved and may not be of much interest; it is just a subject Mike researched because he was confused. Attached is the announcement of the award in the London Gazette which refers to McCartney as …since deceased, and the MOD document included underneath explains that this indicates that the award is not posthumous.

I have a letter dated 22nd March 1945 to my mother from their commanding officer saying that,

…  two or three weeks prior to Peter’s going missing, I recommended both he and Cliff Ridge for the Distinguished Flying Cross.

His letter goes on to explain that because the DFC cannot be awarded to airmen “missing in action” any further announcement should not be expected in the near future. Enquiries were undertaken by the Air Ministry to ascertain whether McCartney and Ridge might be prisoners of war, and otherwise confirm their fate. It was a number of months before they were confirmed deceased and the awards of the DFC confirmed.

Finally, I attach two other photographs of Peter McCartney taken during 1944/45, and a photo of his medal.

Mike added this…

I realise that I may be over-burdening you but if I can assist further please let me know. Thank you again for your work, and I would be interested to learn your connection with the squadron.

More about Raymond Clifford RIdge here.

Remembering Flying Officer Peter McCartney DFC

RCAF 404 Squadron is all about remembering.

I have not written that much on my blog which is a ressurection of a Website created a few years ago about RCAF 404 Squadron.

Using Wayback Machine I was able to retrieve almost all the information and photos.

There was one photo that was not there. This one was shared today by the son of Flying Officer Peter McCartney seen on the left with his pilot.

Mike Miles never knew his father. He father died on March 8, 1945. This is the information I had found but never followed up on it.

Bristol Beaufighter, NV427, March 8, 1945
Pilot: Flt Lt R.C. Ridge (DFC), J/24425, RCAF, Augusville, Manitoba, Canada
Navigator: P/O P. McCartney (DFC), 187955, RAFVR, North Cheam, Surrey, United Kingdom

Aircraft target was 6 ships that were located and sheltered under high cliff walls in a narrow fjord located south of Vindspol, Midgulen, Norway. During the attack the aircraft was hit by shipborne-flak and crashed, the crew was never found and are listed as Missing in Action.

Mike Miles has shared more information about his father.

To be continued…

Remembering Flying Officer Frank Edward Pickering

Flying Officer Frank Edward Pickering needs to be remembered a little more than a name inscribed on a memorial…

To be continued…


Frank’s photo should appear on his memorial later when approved.

Forgotten RCAF 404 Squadron Airmen – Roger Savard and Jeffrey Middleton

RCAF photo

Roger Savard (Front row centre) had Rog as a nickname with the 404. He was there on Black Friday. A lot of airmen died in that operation.

Source Internet

Rog survived the mission and was taken prisoner.

Bristol Beaufighter, NV292 EE-O
Pilot: Flying Officer J.R. Savard, RCAF, survived but was captured, P.O.W.
Navigator: Pilot Officer J. Middleton, RAF, 187929, Norwood Green, Yorkshire, U.K.

Flight Lieutenant Joseph Roger Savard landed on the ice with his aircraft on fire, probably after being hit by the Flak. The Beaufighter survived the crash, but rolled over on its back and trapped the crew. Norwegian civilians rushed to the plane, but had to retreat when German soldiers shot at them. Savard and Middleton were seen being pulled out of their plane by German Flak crews, but Pilot Officer Jeffrey Middleton was so badly wounded that he did not survive. Savard spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war.

To be continued…

RCAF photo

Footnote (source

Re: R.C.A.F. No. 404 Squadron

Post by georgetanksherman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:31 pm

No. 404 Squadron, “Black Friday”, February 9, 1945
On 9 February 1945 the largest air-battle in WW 2 Norway was fought over this fiord. Nearly fifty British and Commonwealth anti-shipping aircraft from RAF Dallachy were engaged by twelve Fw-190’s from the Luftwaffe base at Herdla. In the ensuing battle nine Beaufighters and one Mustang were downed. The Germany convoy carrying iron ore was largely untouched. Six of the lost Beau’s were from RCAF 404 Squadron. Mentioned below.

Bristol Beaufighter, NV292 EE-O
Pilot: F/O J.R. Savard, RCAF, survived but captured, P.O.W.
Navigator: P/O. J Middleton, RAF, 187929, Norwood Green, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

F/O JR Savard made a wheels-up landing on the ice with his aircraft on fire, likely after being hit by flak. The Beaufighter survived the crash but turned upside down and trapped the crew. Norwegian civilians ran out to the aircraft but had to retreat when they were fired at by German soldiers. Savard and Middleton were seen to be pulled from their aircraft by flak crews, but Middleton was so severely wounded that he did not survive. Savard spent the rest of the war as a POW.

Bristol Beaufighter, NV422 EE-C
Pilot: F/O H.C. Lynch, J/35785, RCAF, Mallory town, Ontario, Canada
Navigator: F.O. Knight, J/36373, RCAF, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Aircraft damaged, the pilot tried to land on an elevation, but the terrain makes this an impossibility. The plane breaks in half during the ensuing crash and the cockpit section slides down the hillside for more than 500 meters. Sadly, the crew did not survive in the crash.

Bristol Beaufighter, NT890 EE-F
Pilot: C. Smerneos, J/29021, RCAF,
Navigator: F.O N.D. Cochrane, J/23704, RCAF, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Aircraft cause of loss has not been established

Bristol Beaufighter, NT922 EE-V
Pilot: P/O W.J Jackson, J/92936, RCAF, Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada
Navigator: W.E. Blunderfield, J/92165, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

P/O Blunderfield and P/O Jackson was the first of the Beaufighters to be shot down. A German narrative reports that a Fw-190 attacked from above and the Beau lost its tail, exploding on impact with the ocean. A Canadian body was later found in the water, but the identity is not known.

Bristol Beaufighter, NE761 EE-W
Pilot: F/O P.R. Myrick, J/35788, RCAF, Tilsonburg, Ontario, Canada
Navigator: P/O C.G. Berges, J/95209, RCAF, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Aircraft cause of loss has not been established

Bristol Beaufighter, RD136 EE-Q1
Pilot: F/O H. Smook, J/36168, RCAF, St. Malo, Manitoba, Canada
Navigator: W/O A.M. Duckworth, J/97139, RCAF, Angus, Ontario, Canada

Aircraft cause of loss has not been established

Forgotten RCAF 404 Squadron Airmen – André Lauzon and David Andrews

Photos from the collection of André Lauzon

André Lauzon

André Lauzon


Attacking Beaufighters


Damage on his Beaufighter

papa et pilote 404

André Lauzon and his pilot David Andrews

papa squadron 404

André Lauzon


André Lauzon and his pilot David Andrews




This was a comment left on the now defunct website that paid tribute to 404 Squadron. It tells us more about the exploits of André Lauzon and  his pilot David Andrews.

The 404 Squadron history web page is well presented. I was a member of the squadron from April 1943 to July 1944. The account of events on May 1, 1943 should include the name of the pilot and navigator who were David Andrews as pilot and André Lauzon as navigator. They flew Beaufighter “B”. The plane was hit by over 100 machine gun bullets. No 20mm guns were fired; the Messerschmitt pilot had obviously not engaged his guns…. This could explain why the Beau was able to return with two flat tires, the port engine leaking, no air pressure and no hydraulics.
We would appreciate it if the names of the crew were mentioned. Andrew and Lauzon both completed a 38-operation tour, which ended in July 1944.
I enclose a photo of pilot David Andrew and navigator André Lauzon, as well as a photo of B taken by myself before the Beau was towed out of the hangar.

Cérémonie hommage aux aviateurs canadiens/A Tribute to Canadian airmen

A reader sent me this link.


Ci-joint le lien Youtube vers l’hommage rendu au F/O Robert Samuel FORESTELL et F/O Ian Crichton ROBBIE, morts le 8 août 1944 lors de l’attaque de quatre dragueurs de mines allemands dans le goulet de Fromentine, pointe sud de l’île de Noirmoutier dans la baie de Gascogne. Robert et Ian sont enterrés sur la commune de Barbâtre (île de Noirmoutier). Présents à la cérémonie Mme Dorothy Plunkett, fille de Ian ROBBIE et Daniel FORESTELL, neveu et filleul de Robert FORESTELL etc…





Attached is the Youtube link to the tribute paid to F/O Robert Samuel FORESTELL and F/O Ian Crichton ROBBIE, who died on 8 August 1944 during the attack on four German minesweepers in the Fromentine Narrows, southern tip of the island of Noirmoutier in the Bay of Biscay. Robert and Ian are buried in the town of Barbâtre (île de Noirmoutier). Present at the ceremony Mrs Dorothy Plunkett, daughter of Ian ROBBIE and Daniel FORESTELL, nephew and godchild of Robert FORESTELL etc….



A request from Norway

We are a group interested in local history, which is active in Norway (Bremangerland). In the final phase of the Second World War 8 Beaufighter aircraft of the 455th Sqdn. (Dallachy Strike Wing) on 8.3.1945 at 16.20 attacked six ships at Vindspollen (Bremangerland, Norway). I have found some information of the Danish ferry MS Heimdal on your site, maybe perhaps you can help me with further information:

Where the ships came from – destination of the ships?

Especially we would be interested to know more about what freight the Heimdal had on board. It is reported to us that 800 – 900 German soldiers were on board, other sources say that the ship had prisoners of war on board. It should also have given only one survivor of the attack.

We would be very happy if you could help us. If you are unable to do so, we would be grateful to refer you to an institution that could possibly help us.

Thank you very much for your interest!

Sincerely, from Norway

Hardy Michel

The Fallen (post in progress)

Updated 1 April 2021

The archived website had listed the Fallen.

I will be adding images along the way.


The Fallen

Adams Aubrey Abram J/5700 Flight Lieutenant 6 May 1944 Pilot

Abram Aubrey Adams

6 May 1944 Adams and Pickering

Adamson John William R/116130 WO2 14 October 1943 Pilot

John William Adamson

Aljoe Lorne Raymond J/28525 Flying Officer 24 March 1945 Pilot

Lorne Raymond Aljoe 2

Lorne Raymond Aljoe

Lorne Raymond Aljoe report 1

Lorne Raymond Aljoe report 2
Lorne Raymond Aljoe report 3
Lorne Raymond Aljoe report 4

Lorne Raymond Aljoe and navigator

Allen Edward Glenelg 975744 Sgt 2-Sep-41 WAG RAF

No information

Armour William Douglas J/16462 Flying Officer 23 March 1944 Pilot

William Douglas Armour


William Douglas Armour accident

Baker Earle Edward J/85766 Pilot Officer 12 August 1944 Navigator

Earle Edward Baker

Earle Edward Baker accident report

Earle Edward Baker accident




Barber Irvine Alfred Maxwell R/77034 Sgt 19 October 1941 Pilot

Berges Claude Gerald J/95209 Pilot Officer 9 February 1945 Navigator

Source CVWM

Blunderfield William Edward J/92165 P/O 9-Feb-45 Navigator

Blyth John William J/17657 F/O 7-Jul-44 P

Brockington George Stanley R/75725 F/Sgt 12-Jun-42 P

Brown Charles Douglas Grant R/67587 F/Sgt 21-Feb-42 P

Campbell Douglas William R/74710 F/Sgt 16-Jun-42 WAG

Christison, DFC and Bar William Ritchie J/15143 S/L 24 March 1945 Pilot


Clapperton Thomas 1341877 AC2 1-Nov-41 Clk/GD

Clark David Marshall 989572 AC1 1-Feb-42 ACH/GD

Cochrane Norman Douglas J/35704 F/O 9-Feb-45 Navigator

Colwell Robert Edwin R/70810 Cpl 7-Jul-44 AFM

Conn William Bruce 51883 F/O 22-Dec-43 O

Cooper Arthur Kenneth J/36135 F/O 9-Dec-44 P

Coy Thomas William 992775 Sgt 21-Feb-42 WAG

Dale William Edward R/72360 Sgt 2-Sep-41 P

Dale Gordon James R/96848 F/Sgt 4-Aug-43 P

Davey Ernest Raymond J/23767 F/O 2-Oct-44 P

Decloux Marcel Auguste J/14440 Flying Officer 16 January 1944 Pilot


Marcel Decloux

Source CVWM


RCAF image

Marcel Decloux is in the middle of the back row.

ORB Decloux

Devine William Douglas Mathew J/13987 F/O 30-Mar-44 N

Dixon James Alonzo 32004 W/C 13-Jul-42 P

Dixon John Askew Chartres J/23433 F/O 24-Jan-44 P

Duckitt Harold Wood 151031 F/O 8-Dec-43 N

Duckworth Alan Murray J/93719 P/O 9-Feb-45 N

Dunbar William Frederick 1351752 AC1 16-Jun-42 Tech

Dunlop John George J/4754 P/O 15-Nov-41 P

Elder John Burleigh 922231 Sgt 7-Dec-42 N

Ensom John Victor J/17054 P/O 7-Dec-42 P

Evans William Luxmoore 131012 F/O 14-Jan-44 N

Ferrier Erwin John Marr R/56640 Cpl 7-Sep-43 Fitter IE

Field Robert Charles J/10498 F/O 26-Mar-43 P

Flannery Seth James C/13460 F/O 1-May-43 P

Forestell Robert Samuel J/24962 F/O 8-Aug-44 P

Foster Philip Herbert 87408 S/L 26-May-42 P

Gilhespy John 151027 F/O 14-Jan-44 N

Gillam Ernest 746755 F/Sgt 19-Oct-41 O

Gillespie Ian George J/14698 F/O 22-Dec-43 P

Glendinning James Edgar 151029 F/O 22-Dec-43 N

Gray Thomas Alexander 1371299 AC1 1-Nov-41 ACH/GD

Gregory Stanley Leslie 1238538 AC2 8-Jan-42 FME

Hanway, AFC James Albert J/5986 S/L 26-Aug-44 P

Heavner John William R/83209 WO1 12-Aug-44 P

Hedefine Thomas Edward 986613 Sgt 5-Nov-41 O

Horne James Harper Greig 132715 F/O 17-Nov-43 N

Hunt Norman Boulton J/19500 P/O 14-Jan-44 P

Jackson William James J/92936 P/O 9-Feb-45 P

Jamieson John Murray R/58352 F/Sgt 26-May-42 WAG

Joiner StanleyGeorge 136380 F/O 14-Jan-44 N

Josephson Svein J/18495 P/O 3-Sep-43 P

Keefe, DFC Ernest James J/14117 F/O 28-Jun-44 P

Kent Frederick Alan 131495 F/L 30-Mar-44 N

Knight Oswald Wellington J/36373 F/O 9-Feb-45 N

Lalonde Joseph Moise Gaston J/18455 P/O 4-Jul-43 N

Leighton Robert Frederick R/74598 F/Sgt 1-Nov-41 P

Leitch Norman 1096133 AC2 1-Feb-42 Inst Rep

Long Norman Earl J/20615 F/O 17-Nov-43 P

Long George Albert J/15704 F/L 2-Oct-44 P

Lynch Hugh Charles J/35785 F/O 9-Feb-45 P

MacKay James Garfield R/54293 F/Sgt 5-Nov-41 P

Mair James Irvine R/92048 Sgt 16-Jun-42 P

McCarthy Thomas Francis 751520 F/Sgt 6-Oct-42 O

McCartney, DFC Peter 187955 P/O 8-Mar-45 N

McCruden Robert James J/21389 F/O 16-Nov-43 P

McKinlay Leslie White 567698 Cpl 2-Sep-41 Fitter

Middleton Jeffrey 187929 F/O 9-Feb-45 N

Moller James Dallas 1182841 Sgt 12-Jun-42 WAG

Morrow Edgar James R/78377 F/Sgt 23-May-42 P

Munro Roy J/6022 F/L 22-Dec-43 P

Myrick Philip Rex J/35788 F/O 9-Feb-45 P


Oliver James Henry R/64236 F/Sgt 21-Feb-42 O

Orser Clayton Earl J/95471 P/O 24-Mar-45 N

Lorne Raymond Aljoe and navigator

Owens John Desmond 1324038 Sgt 16-Nov-43 N

Patterson John Howard J/15840 P/O 6-Oct-42 P

Payne Michael Freeling 132877 F/O 26-Aug-44 N

Pearce William John 755517 F/Sgt 5-Nov-41 WAG

Pearce Eric 1459222 Sgt 24-Jan-44 N

Pickering Frank Edward J/14795 F/O 6-May-44 N


Pickering May 1944-1

Pickering May 1944-2Pickering May 1944-3

Pickering May 1944-4

Pickering May 1944-5

Pickering May 1944-6

Pickering May 1944-7

6 May 1944 Adams and Pickering

Pike Samuel Edward 656495 Sgt 5-Dec-42 N

Prest Robert Hardwick R/99704 WO2 14-Oct-43 N

Riddell Keith Emerson R/108478 WO2 4-Aug-43 N

Ridge, DFC Raymond Clifford J/24425 F/L 8-Mar-45 P

Robbie Ian Crichton J/17247 F/O 8-Aug-44 N

Robinson Victor Thomas J/8210 F/L 30-Mar-44 P

Robinson Louis Eber Eldred J/24546 F/O 2-Oct-44 N

Rumbel James Rudolph J/13741 F/O 4-Jul-43 P

Sallis Anthony Charles 1180389 Sgt 13-Jul-42 O

Seward Gordon Llewellyn R/105558 Sgt 3-Sep-43 N

Shaw Joseph 946427 Sgt 19-Oct-41 WAG

Smerneos Charles J/29021 F/O 9-Feb-45 P

Smith Charles Frederick J/95442 P/O 9-Dec-44 N

Smook Harry J/36168 F/O 9-Feb-45 P

Steed Beecham Isaac Gordon J/85990 P/O 28-Jun-44 N

Stephens Edward 1586082 Sgt 23-Mar-44 N

Stickel Frederick Martin J/26279 F/O 2-Oct-44 N

Taylor Norman J/18679 P/O 5-Dec-42 P

Taylor Clive Ford 1130288 Sgt 26-Mar-43 WAG

Taylor Charles Hugh J/9905 F/L 14-Sep-44 N

Thomas Lloyd George Dennis J/15219 P/O 23-May-42 WAG

Tinsley Reginald George 1258914 Sgt 6-Oct-42 WAG

Toon, DFC Frederick John 131939 F/L 24-Mar-45 N

Turner Darl Neilson J/11583 F/O 8-Dec-43 P

Tustin William Albert J/28580 F/O 6-Mar-45 P

Wettlaufer John William J/93696 P/O 6-Mar-45 N

White William Oswald 1109871 Sgt 23-May-42 WAG

Wilkie William J/22219 F/O 14-Jan-44 P

Woolhouse Albert Edgar R/91111 Cpl 3-Sep-43 Fitter IE

Wright Bruce John J/11185 F/O 1-May-43 O