Remembering Victor Thomas Robinson


RCAF photo

Victor Thomas Robinson was part of 404 Squadron. He was killed on March 30th, 1944 off the coast of Norway.
His navigator was Flying Officer Devine was also killed.


Their bodies were never recovered.

Victor Thomas Robinson’s father was Arthur Ward Robinson.

Source Ancestry

Arthur Ward Robinson is also seen here in a family photo.

Source Ancestry

Arthur is on his father’s left. His mother Barbara McKay is on the right with little Hugh McKay Ferguson, the son of Victor’s sister Katherine.

Arthur Ward Robinson died in 1940 so he never knew his son Victor died nor did Carrie Davis, Victor’s mother, who died in 1942.

Victor was married to Ruth Audrey Dennison who would later remarried.

According to his record of service file, Victor was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 14, 1918. This is where I found people interested in his story…

A Facebook group page when I started sharing Victor’s photo.

To be continued….


Remembering Pilot Officer Jack Perry

My uncle Jack Perry was in the squadron and received the Distinguished Flying Cross but I have never been able to find out why. Only came across a reference to ‘took some good photos’. Wondered if anyone might know something.

Source of comment:

Citation source (

PERRY, WO (now P/O) Jack (R109092 and J90597)

– Distinguished Flying Cross

– No.404 Squadron

– Award effective 24 November 1944 as per London Gazette dated 5 December 1944 and AFRO 425/45 dated 9 March 1945.

Born 29 May 1921 at Lethbridge, Alberta; home in North Lethbridge; enlisted in Calgary 25 June 1941.

To No.2 Manning Depot, 9 July 1941.

To No.4 SFTS (non-flying duties), 14 August 1941.

To No.4 ITS, 25 September 1941; promoted LAC, 22 November 1941 and posted that date to No.5 EFTS.

Ceased training on 20 January 1942. To No.9 AOS, 14 February 1942; to No.1 BGS, 23 May 1942; to No.1 ANS, 4 July 1942; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 21 August 1942.

To “Y” Depot, date uncertain; to RAF overseas, 26 October 1942.

Commissioned 25 July 1944. Promoted Flying Officer, 20 January 1945.

Repatriated via Debert, 23 July 1945.

Released 13 September 1945.

Medal presented 9 July 1949.

Earned both a BA and a Masters at the University of Alberta excelling in sports, he received Block A and Wilson awards at the University for outstanding athletic and scholastic achievements.

On graduation, Jack became a mentor to a wide range of students for decades in Edmonton schools. Upon his retirement he obtained a NAIT certificate in electronics.

Died in Edmonton, 29 June 2002.

RCAF photo PL-28087


(ex UK-8976 dated 18 March 1944) shows him back of Beaufighter tail; caption says he was an apprentice electrician before the war and was now a navigator.

RCAF photo PL-36837 dated July 1945 shows eight decorated RCAF officers from Alberta aboard SS Stratheden as it docked in Quebec:

Front Row, left to right, F/L D.W. Schmidt, DFC and Bar, Wetaskiwin; F/O H.E. Patch, DFM, Vegreville; F/L G.A. Berry, DFC, Lloydminster; F/O J. Perry, Lethbridge; Back Row, left to right, F/L J.M. Calder, DFC, Edmonton; F/L G.L. Scott, DFC, Innisfail; F/O G.P. Bodard, DFC, Edmonton; F/L E.S. Dunn, DFC, Calgary and formerly of Medicine Hat.

RCAF photo PL-41456 (ex UK-17713 dated 21 December 1944) shows members of No.404 Squadron at readiness, playing cards – left to right, P/O J. Perry, DFC (Lethbridge), F/O Don Embully (Napanee, Ontario), F/O H. Smook (Winnipeg), F/O J. Tomes, DFC (Winnipeg), F/O Bob Keale (Kingston, Ontario) and F/L Hugh Watlington, DFM (Hamilton, Bermuda).


This Warrant Officer has completed many operational sorties. On all occasions, often under difficulties and in adverse weather he has guided his aircraft safely to the target and back. In addition Warrant Officer Perry has obtained some excellent photographs.




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

Updated 21 July 2022 with this comment found in the comment section.

My grandfather is George A Crow it is good to have information about him and Flight Sargeant Leake who died with him on 13th August 1944
Very proud of the sacrifice these young men made for our freedoms
His great grandson and children live in Bordeaux.

Original post 

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.