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Johnston, Robert Guthrie (Sergeant)

Killed in Flying Accident 1942-July-08

Birth Date: 1922-December-01 (age 19)

Son of George and Edith E. Johnston, of Vancouver.

Home: Vancouver, British Columbia

15 SFTS- Service Flying Training School
Claresholm, Alberta, Canada
Leading Aircraftman
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
Died in the midair collision of Cessna Crane aircraft 8743 and Cessna Crane aircraft 8669, while both aircraft were engaged in a cross-country formation flying training exercise. The aircraft crashed seventeen miles east of Carmangay, Alberta. LACs E.E. Guttridge and R.G. Johnston were killed in aircraft 8669, LACs W.C. MacDonald and Stearns were killed in aircraft 8743.

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)

This incident involved multiple aircraft:

  1. Crane Mk. I 8669
  2. Crane Mk. I 8743

All the aircraft in the above list are in this report.

Google Map Mountain View Cemetery, Canada
Abray Block 5 Plot 12 Lot 4

Crew on Crane Mk. I 8669

Crew on Crane Mk. I 8743

Cessna Crane

Cessna Crane Mk. I
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The Cessna T-50 Crane was the RCAF version of the Cessna AT-17 Bobcat, a twin-engined advanced trainer designed and made in the USA during the Second World War. It served to bridge the gap between single-engined trainers and twin-engined combat aircraft.

First flown in 1939, the American-built Cessna Crane was developed as a five-seat, light transport civilian aircraft. It was originally intended to serve only a minor role within the BCATP (an initial 180 were ordered in 1940) until the Canadian-built Avro Ansons became available in greater numbers. This was the first large order that Cessna had received for one of its products. Eventually, more than 5,400 Cranes would be produced, of which 826 saw service with the RCAF. Cessna Cranes were used primarily to teach future bomber pilots, after they had received their initial training, to fly multi-engined aircraft at Service Flying Training Schools in western Canada.

Powered by 245-horsepower Jacobs R-755-9 radial engines, Cessna Cranes featured wooden wings and tail married to a fuselage constructed of welded steel tubing. Most of the aircraft was fabric-covered. It was cheap, reliable and relatively easy to fly, with a top speed of 315 kilometres (195 miles) per hour.

The Crane provided twin-engined complexity with economy of operation and went on to become one of the most important aircraft used by the BCATP. Cranes continued to serve with the RCAF until 1947, after which many were purchased by private individuals and companies.

Nicknamed the Bamboo Bomber because of its largely wood construction, the Crane had a reputation as a stable and reliable aircraft. Although not an ideal training aircraft because of its poor single-engined performance and load-carrying capability, it performed its duties satisfactorily and helped train several thousand bomber pilots. Bomber Command Museum of Canada

YouTube Cessna Crane Trainer

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Crane Trainer

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (826), RCAF 400 Squadron (3), Canadian Aircraft Losses (81)
last update: 2021-08-30 15:20:54

Crane Mk. I 8669

First assigned to No. 15 Service Flying Training School at Claresholm, Alberta. Category C2 damage at Claresholm aerodrome, at 14:15 on 19 April 1942. Category A crash at Carmangay, Alberta (20 miles east-north-east of Claresholm) at 15:50 on 8 July 1942. Collided with Crane 8743 during formation flying. Both crew on this aircraft killed, including pilot E.E. Gutteridge. (Listed as an LAC in some RCAF records, listed as a Sgt. in Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.) Scrapped by No. 10 Repair Depot.
1942-01-08 Taken on Strength No. 4 Training Command 2019-08-20
1942-April-19 Accident: 15 Service Flying Training School Loc: Practice Force Landing Field Names: Bush | Mark
1942-July-08 Accident: 15 Service Flying Training School Loc: Carmangay Alberta Names: Gutteridge | Johnston | MacDonald | Stearns
1942-11-28 Struck off Strength Struck off, reduced to spares and produce 2019-08-20

Crane Mk. I 8743

First assigned to No. 15 Service Flying Training School at Claresholm, Alberta. Category A crash at 15:50 on 8 July 1942, 17 miles east of Carmangay, Alberta (about 20 miles north-east of Claresholm). Collided with Crane 8669 during cross country formation flying. Both occupants of this aircraft killed: Sgt. C.M. Stearns and LAC W.C. MacDonald. Scrapped by No. 10 Repair Depot.
1942-01-23 Taken on Strength No. 4 Training Command 2019-08-20
1942-July-08 Accident: 15 Service Flying Training School Loc: Carmangay Alberta Names: Gutteridge | Johnston | MacDonald | Stearns
1942-12-12 Struck off Strength Struck off, reduced to spares and produce 2019-08-20

15 SFTS- Service Flying Training School (15 Service Flying Training School)

Graduates of the EFTS "learn-to-fly" program went on a Service Flying Training School (SFTS) for 16 weeks. For the first 8 weeks the trainee was part of an intermediate training squadron; for the next 6 weeks an advanced training squadron and for the final 2 weeks training was conducted at a Bombing & Gunnery School. The Service schools were military establishments run by the RCAF or the RAF.

There were two different types of Service Flying Training Schools. Trainees in the fighter pilot stream went to an SFTS like No. 14 Aylmer, where they trained in the North American Harvard or North American Yale. Trainees in the bomber, coastal or transport pilot stream went to an SFTS like No. 5 Brantford where they learned multi-engine technique in an Airspeed Oxford, Avro Anson or Cessna Crane.

SFTS15 Patch

For More Information on RCAF Station Claresholm see here

  • RCAF Roundel - RCAF Station Claresholm AB

  • RCAF Roundel - Relief Landing Field Woodhouse AB

  • RCAF Roundel - Relief Landing Field Champion AB

  • General 15 SFTS Claresholm History

  • Museum Vintage Wings - Ghosts Of Southern Alberta

  • BCMC Claresholm History

  • Museum Bomber Command Museum of Canada - 14 SFTS Claresholm AB

  • Wings Over Claresholm Alberta Video

  • YouTube YouTube - Wings over Claresholm

  • 1941-04-12 Primary Location Claresholm AB Canada Current location Claresholm Industrial Airport CEJ4
    1941-04-12 Relief Field Woodhouse AB Canada Abandoned returned to agriculture still visible on satellite image.
    1941-04-13 Relief Field Champion AB Canada Approximate location returned to agriculture.

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