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Cunningham, John Leonard Scudamore (Lieutenant)

Killed in Action 1943-January-13

Male Head

Birth Date: 1916 (age 27)

Son of Lieut.-Comdr. and Mrs. John S. Cunningham, of Esquimalt, British Columbia; husband of Irene Ethel Cunningham, of London.

Husband of Irene Ethel Cunningham, of London.

Home: Esquimalt, British Columbia

767 (TB) Sqn- Squadron (FAA)
HMS Daedalus, RNAS Lee-on-Solent
Service Numbers

Swordfish Mk I L-2839 failed to return from exercises in the Redhead-Carnoustie area, on the eastern Scottish coast and is believed to have ditched in the North Sea. (

Lt JLS Cunningham (RCNR) and Sub Lieutenant George P Keir (RNAS) were missing, presumed killed

Lt Cunningham has no known grave and is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial

General Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, January 1943

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lieutenant John Leonard Scudamore Cunningham has no known grave.

Google MapEsquimalt, British Columbia

Google MapHalifax Memorial
Panel 9

Fairey Swordfish

Source: Harold A Skaarup Web Page (Shearwater Aviation Museum Photo)
Fairey Swordfish in flight ca. 1941

The Fairey Swordfish is a biplane torpedo bomber designed by the Fairey Aviation Company. Originating in the early 1930s, the Swordfish, nicknamed "Stringbag", was operated by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, it was also used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), as well as several overseas operators, including the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Royal Netherlands Navy. It was initially operated primarily as a fleet attack aircraft. During its later years, the Swordfish became increasingly used as an anti-submarine and training platform. The type was in frontline service throughout the Second World War.

Despite being obsolete by 1939, the Swordfish achieved some spectacular successes during the war. Notable events included sinking one battleship and damaging two others of the Regia Marina (the Italian Navy) during the Battle of Taranto, and the famous attack on the Bismarck, which contributed to her eventual demise. By the end of the war, the Swordfish held the distinction of having caused the destruction of a greater tonnage of Axis shipping than any other Allied aircraft. The Swordfish remained in front-line service until V-E Day, having outlived multiple aircraft that had been intended to replace it in service.

The Fairey Swordfish was a medium-sized biplane torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. The Swordfish employed a metal airframe covered in fabric. It utilized folding wings as a space-saving measure, which was useful onboard aircraft carriers and battleships. In service, it received the nickname Stringbag; this was not due to its biplane struts, spars, and braces, but a reference to the seemingly endless variety of stores and equipment that the type was cleared to carry. Crews likened the aircraft to a housewife's string shopping bag, common at the time and which could accommodate contents of any shape, and that a Swordfish, like the shopping bag, could carry anything.

The primary weapon of the Swordfish was the aerial torpedo, but the low speed of the biplane and the need for a long straight approach made it difficult to deliver against well-defended targets. Swordfish torpedo doctrine called for an approach at 5,000 feet (1,500 m) followed by a dive to torpedo release altitude of 18 feet (5.5 m). Maximum range of the early Mark XII torpedo was 1,500 yards (1,400 m) at 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) and 3,500 yards (3,200 m) at 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph). The torpedo travelled 200 feet (61 m) forward from release to water impact, and required another 300 yards (270 m) to stabilise at preset depth and arm itself. Ideal release distance was 1,000 yards (910 m) from target if the Swordfish survived to that distance.

The Swordfish was also capable of operating as a dive-bomber. During 1939, Swordfish on board HMS Glorious participated in a series of dive-bombing trials, during which 439 practice bombs were dropped at dive angles of 60, 67 and 70 degrees, against the target ship HMS Centurion. Tests against a stationary target showed an average error of 49 yd (45 m) from a release height of 1,300 ft (400 m) and a dive angle of 70 degrees; tests against a manoeuvring target showed an average error of 44 yd (40 m) from a drop height of 1,800 ft (550 m) and a dive angle of 60 degrees.

After more modern torpedo attack aircraft were developed, the Swordfish was soon redeployed successfully in an anti-submarine role, armed with depth charges or eight "60 lb" (27 kg) RP-3 rockets and flying from the smaller escort carriers, or even merchant aircraft carriers (MACs) when equipped for rocket-assisted takeoff (RATO). Its low stall speed and inherently tough design made it ideal for operation from the MACs in the often severe mid-Atlantic weather. Indeed, its takeoff and landing speeds were so low that, unlike most carrier-based aircraft, it did not require the carrier to be steaming into the wind. On occasion, when the wind was right, Swordfish were flown from a carrier at anchor. Wikipedia

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Fairey Swordfish

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (105), Canadian Aircraft Losses (3), RCN On Strength (5), Canadian Museum(3)
last update: 2021-09-16 20:52:04

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