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Clay, Gilbert Frederick (Flight Lieutenant)

Killed in Action 1940-11-17

Birth Date: 1915-08-14 (age 25)

Son of Frederick S. Clay and Helen Louise Clay, of New Westminster.

Home: New Westminster, British Columbia

Service
RCAF
Unit
10 (BR) Sqn- Squadron
Rank
Flight Lieutenant
Marshal
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
SergeantSGT
CorporalCPL
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Position
Pilot
Service Numbers
C/1126
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, pilot F/O JHU LeBlanc (RCAF), LAC EJ Benoit (RCAF), LAC HE Howard (RCAF) and AC1 E Johnson (RCAF) came down in the Quebec woods in winter (CL Annis). 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. It appeared he had traveled a long way from where he landed to where he was found. The bomber came down just over the border in Maine, USA (R Sneddon).

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Find-A-Grave.com Find-A-Grave.com

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

Crew on Digby Mk. I 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- Squadron

Battle honours

The Second World War

NORTH-WEST ATLANTIC, 1940-1945.

Lineage

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

Notes:

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

Footnotes

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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