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Bazalgette, Ian Willoughby VC (Squadron Leader)

Killed in Action 1944-August-04

Birth Date: 1918-October-19 (age 25)

Born: Calgary, Alberta

son of Charles Ian and Marion Edith (ne Bunn) Bazalgette. His family moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1923 where received his early education at Balmy Beach School. Then his family moved to England and hi

Home: Calgary, Alberta

Decorations: VC, DFC, MiD

Victoria CrossDistinguished Service CrossMentioned in Dispatches
635 (PFF) Sqn- Squadron (RAF)
Nos Ducimus Ceteri Secunter We lead, others follow
Squadron Leader
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers

Citation of Valour

Victoria Cross

On 4th August, 1944, Squadron Leader Bazalgette was master bomber of a pathfinder squadron detailed to mark an important target at Trossy-St. Maximin for the main bomber force.

When nearing the target his Lancaster came under heavy anti-aircraft fire. Both starboard engines were put out of action and serious fires broke out in the fuselage, and the starboard mainplane. The bomb aimer was badly wounded.

As the deputy master bomber had already been shot down, the success of the attack depended on Squadron Leader Bazalgette, and this he knew. Despite appalling conditions in his burning aircraft, he pressed on gallantly to the target, marking and bombing it accurately. .That the attack was successful was due to his magnificent effort.

After the bombs had been dropped the Lancaster dived, practically out of control. By expert airmanship and great exertion Squadron Leader Bazalgette regained control. But the port inner engine then failed and the whole of the starboard wing became a mass of flames.

Squadron Leader Bazalgette fought bravely to bring his aircraft and crew to safety. The mid-upper gunner was overcome by fumes. S/L Bazalgette then ordered those of his crew who were able to leave by parachute to do so. He remained at the controls and attempted the almost hopeless task of landing the crippled and blazing aircraft in a last effort to save the wounded bomb aimer and helpless gunner. With superb skill, and taking great care to avoid the small French Village of Senantes, he brought the aircraft down safely. Unfortunately, it then exploded and this gallant officer and his two comrades perished.

His heroic sacrifice marked the climax of a long career of operations against the enemy. He always chose the most dangerous and exacting roles. His courage and devotion to duty were beyond praise

(Sixth Supplement to the London Gazette, No. 37228, 17 August 1945)

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross, Award effective 1 July 1943 as per London Gazette

Ian Willoughby Bazalgette was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on 19 October 1918 to parents of English and Irish background, Charles Ian Bazalgette (1888–1956) and Marion Edith, née Bunn (1891–1977). His great-grandfather was the civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. Bazalgette was always known as "Will" in his family, to distinguish him from his father, who was known as "Ian". Bazalgette began his schooling at the Toronto Balmy Beach School, but his family returned to England in 1927. He grew up in New Malden, England and attended Rokeby School in Wimbledon (1927–1932) and then Beverley Boys Secondary School as well as receiving private tutelage In his childhood he suffered from poor health, and at 13 was diagnosed with clinical tuberculosis, which required four months of treatment at the Royal Sea-Bathing Hospital, Margate, in 1931.

When the Second World War broke out, Bazalgette enlisted in the Royal Artillery, being commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1940. After serving in the Searchlight Section as an instructor, he transferred to the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.[2] He soloed within a week of beginning his flight training at RAF Cranwell and swiftly completed his ab initio flying by 24 January 1942, given the rank of pilot officer. His first posting was to No. 25 Operational Training Unit (OTU) but by September 1942, he had joined an operational bomber squadron, No. 115 Squadron RAF at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk. Flying the venerable Vickers Wellington bomber, "Baz" was sent out initially on "gardening" sorties, laying mines in the North Sea. After 13 operations, Bazalgette and his squadron transitioned to the Avro Lancaster, completing their training in March 1943.[3] After completing 10 more operations successfully on raids against heavily defended targets, including Berlin, Essen, Kiel and St. Nazaire, and surviving some harrowing escapes including a crash landing, Bazalgette was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 29 May 1943. The award noted his "great courage and determination in the face of the enemy". With the end of his tour of 28 operations, Bazalgette was posted as an instructor and Flight Commander to No. 20 OTU in Lossiemouth, Scotland, before he was "recruited" for the Pathfinders.[4] He transferred in April 1944 to No. 635 Squadron RAF, part of No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group, based at RAF Downham Market in Norfolk. When his conversion training was completed, 25-year-old "Baz" flew as an acting squadron leader, taking part in a number of operations during and after the D-Day campaign. As the assigned Master Bomber, Bazalgette's 58th and final operation was the bombing of V-1 rocket storage caves at Trossy St. Maximin.

#635 Sqn (Nos Ducimus Ceteri Secunter) Lancaster III aircraft #ND 811 F2-T shot down by flak while on a daylight attack against a V-1 flying bomb storage site in France. S/L IW Bazalgette (RAF)(Can), FS VVR Leeder (RAAF) and F/L IA Hibbert DFC (RAF) were killed, Sgt GR Turner (RAF), F/L G Goddard (RAF), F/O CR Godfrey DFC (RAF) and F/O D Cameron DFM (RAF) evaded. For his actions S/L IW Bazalgette DFC (RAF)(Can) of Calgary, Alberta, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Aug. 17, 1945. Of note, F/O Cameron had also been part of the crew of Stirling I aircraft # BF372 which returned badly damaged to England Nov. 28-29, 1942, and which his pilot F/S R.H. Middleton RAAF had held until most of the crew had bailed out, but was killed with two other crew members. F/S Middleton was also awarded a Victoria Cross.

At the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum, now the Bomber Command Museum of Canada (located in Nanton, Alberta, south of his hometown Calgary), an Avro Lancaster, FM159, after a lengthy period of reconstruction and repair, was painted in the colours and markings of Bazalgette's aircraft. A dedication ceremony was held in 1990. Group Captain T.G. 'Hamish' Mahaddie, who had honored Bazalgette's request to be transferred into the Pathfinders, came from England to speak at the ceremony. Ethel Broderick, Bazalgette's sister, unveiled a plaque and the markings of the Bazalgette aircraft (F2-T) were unveiled by two of Bazalgette's crew members, Chuck Godfrey and George Turner.


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The Avro Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax, both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.

The Lancaster has its origins in the twin-engine Avro Manchester which had been developed during the late 1930s in response to the Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for "world-wide use". Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester (which had proved troublesome in service and was retired in 1942), the Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing the Halifax and Stirling. Wikipedia

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last update: 2021-09-18 14:32:33

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