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Clay, Gilbert Frederick (Flight Lieutenant)

Killed in Action 1940-November-17

Birth Date: 1915-August-14 (age 25)

Frederick S. Clay & Helen Louise Clay

Home: New Westminster, British Columbia (parents)

10 (BR) Sqn- Squadron
Flight Lieutenant
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

10 North Atlantic (BR) Squadron, RCAF Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Douglas Digby aircraft 749 was on an anti-submarine patrol on the East Coast when it encountered extremely poor weather conditions and attempted to reach Quebec City.

It was discovered that the crew of six only had 5 parachutes, so the two smallest members volunteered to use one parachute. The bomber ran out of fuel and was abandoned near East Lake (Lac de l'Est), Quebec. pilot F/L GF Clay (RCAF) and F/L JG Richardson (RCAF), making the double jump, fell into the lake and were drowned when they went through the ice.

However F/O LeBlanc had landed on the edge of a logging camp and was soon able to send a telegram detailing the area where the survivors should be. Within days searchers found LAC Benoit and AC1 Johnson, but the remains of aero engine mechanic LAC HE Howard (RCAF) were not discovered until 1944.

The bomber came down just over the border in Maine, USA (R Sneddon).

Killed: F/Lt Gilbert Frederick Clay RCAF C/1126 KIFA Forest Lawn Memorial Park Burnaby BC Timberland Sec. Lot 206. Grave 1. LAC Hollis Eugene Howard (1065) KIFA Aylesford United Church Cemetery Lot 19. F/Lt John Gordon Richardson RCAF C/899 KIFA Woodlawn Cemetery Saskatoon Block 88. Lot 86. Grave 10500.

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Google MapNew Westminster, British Columbia (parents)
Google MapForest Lawn Memorial Park
Timberland Sec Lot 206 Grave 1

Digby 749

Douglas Digby

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581607) (Source Harold A Skaarup web page)
Douglas Digby Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 740), coded R, No. 10 (Bomber) Squadron, RCAF.

The RCAF acquired 20 Douglas Digby Mk. I in 1940. These were American twin engine B-18A Bolo bombers which served during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Digby, named after the RAF school of bombing at RAF Digby, was based on the Douglas DC-2 airframe. The RCAF Digbys were immediately issued to No. 10 Squadron to replace the squadron's Westland Wapitis, to carry out anit-submarine patrol duties. RCAF Eastern Air Command (EAC) Digbys carried out 11 attacks on U-boats. U-520 was confirmed sunk by Flying Officer F. Raymes' crew of No. 10 (BR) Squadron, on 30 October 1942, east of Newfoundland. The Digby antisubmarine role was relatively short-lived, and they were superseded in this role in 1943 by Consolidated B-24 Liberators, which had a much heavier payload and a substantially longer range which finally closed the mid-Atlantic gap. Harold Skaarup web page

YouTube Digby bomber

Wkikpedia Wikipedia, Digby bomber

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (20), Canadian Aircraft Losses (5)
last update: 2021-09-06 14:28:30

Digby Mk. I 749

Category A crash near Riviere du Loup, Quebec on 18 November 1940. Aircraft was en route from Newfoundland to St. Hubert, Quebec when it was forced to divert due to bad weather. Crew abandoned aircraft, probably as fuel ran low. Aircraft not located for some time. Reported to have come down in Maine, just across the border, as did some of the crew. 2 crew members drowned after landing in lake on Quebec side of border, one crew member found dead in Maine several weeks later, had apparently survived the bail out but succumbed to exposure and starvation. Ownership assigned to No. 4 Repair Depot in Scoudouc, NB on 3 March 1941, for write off.
1940-03-22 Taken on Strength Eastern Air Command 2020-09-23
1940-November-17 Accident: 10 Squadron Loc: Lac De L'est Quebec Names: Benoit | Clay | Howard | Johnson | Leblanc | Richardson
1941-08-03 Struck off Strength 2019-08-20

10 (BR) Sqn ()

Battle honours

The Second World War



Authorized as ‘No.10 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron’ 1 April 1938.Footnote1

Redesignated 'No.10 (Bomber) Squadron' 28 August 1939.Footnote2

Redesignated 'No.10 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron' 1 September 1939.Footnote3

Disbanded 13 August 1945.Footnote4


No lineal connection with '10 Experimental Squadron', of 1967-70. See 10 Experimental Squadron.

Operational history

The Second World War

The squadron flew on anti-submarine operations on the Atlantic Coast under 'Eastern Air Command'.Footnote5


Footnote 1

GO 48/38. Authorized but not formed (AFGO 19/39)

Footnote 2

AFGO 41/39

Footnote 3

AFGO 57/39\

Footnote 4

Secret Organization Order 279, 4 August 1945, file S.17-10-1 (DOE), Kardex 181.009 (D5432)

Footnote 5

AFGO 25/40; Statement and Organization Charts for the Home and Overseas War and BCATP Organization, 15 April 1942, file S.8202, Kardex 181.002 (D421); Memorandum, Notes for CAS, Appendix A, 12 September 1939, Document Collection 77/543

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