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Pettit, Wilmot Reginald OBE (Squadron Leader)

Killed in Action 1944-June-06

Birth Date: 1912-April-03 (age 32)

Born: Brantford, Ontario

Son of Harry A. and Kathleen Pettit, of Brantford, Ontario.

Home: Brantford, Ontario

Enlistment: Ottawa, Ontario

Enlistment Date: 1940-09-05

Decorations: OBE, DFC

Order of the British EmpireDistinguished Service Cross
620 Sqn- Squadron
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
620 Squadron. Stirling IV aircraft EF 295-J crashed in France while carrying paratroops and towing a glider. S/L W.R. Pettit OBE DFC (RAF) (Can.), F/O R.G. Watkins (RAF), F/S E.H.F. Atkinson (RNZAF) and Sgt G.A. Maund (RAF) killed, Sgt A. Pryce (RAF) and F/S B. Kebbell (RAF) injured and made PoW. Of the 17 Paratroops of the Royal Engineers on board one, L/Cpl J. Reardon-Parker, died of injuries the next day. Ten more died, Sapper P. Guard, Sapper A.E. Austin, L/Cpl K.W. Branston, Sapper J.J. Evans, L/Cpl T.A. Fraser, Cpl W.A. Kelly, Driver G. Thompson, Sapper D.H. Wheeler, Sapper F. Wolfe and Sapper J. Youell. Three were killed in the crash and 7 were murdered by German soldiers while PoW (R. Tebbutt). S/L Pettit awarded the OBE for saving 3 crewmen from a crashed and burning aircraft with the assistance of LAC J. Wray RAF, who was awarded the BEM, date unknown (Awards). The Citation for S/L Pettit's O.B.E reads, "S/L Pettit was in charge of night flying at the RAF station when an aircraft crash landed and caught fire in swampy ground. With the aid of LAC J. Wray (RAF), B.E.M., he released two members of the aircraft crew who had been trapped in the fuselage and then discovered the rear gunner pinned upside down in his turret, seriously injured. Defying flames, danger from exploding ammunition and the fact fuel tanks had begun to explode, S/L Pettit succeeded in extracting the rear gunner. He is credited with having saved the lives of 3 members of the crew." Addendum: - crew list should read, Sgt. E.H.F. Atkinson (RNZAF), Sgt. G.A. Maund (RAF), and F/O R.G. Watkins (RAF). Two others of the crew, not Canadians, missing believed killed. Detail provided by Joel Huard, Serquigny, France.

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)

Squadron Leader Wilmot Reginald Pettit was exhumed and reburied.

Google MapBrantford, Ontario
First Burial
Google MapCrash Site, France
Google MapRanville War Cemetery
Coll grave VA D 3-8

Short Stirling

Source: Harold A Skaarup Web Page (L. Faux Photos)
In June 1944, this Short S.29 Stirling B Mk. IV (Serial No. LK589), coded V3, RAF, was flown across the Atlantic as part of a navigation training exercise and did a tour of bases in Eastern Canada. It is shown here at Malton, Ontario. It was flown back to the UK after a two-week visit.

The Short Stirling was a British four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War. It has the distinction of being the first four-engined bomber to be introduced into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The Stirling was designed during the late 1930s by Short Brothers to conform with the requirements laid out in Air Ministry Specification B.12/36. Prior to this, the RAF had been primarily interested in developing increasingly capable twin-engined bombers but had been persuaded to investigate a prospective four-engined bomber as a result of promising foreign developments in the field. Out of the submissions made to the specification Supermarine proposed the Type 317, which was viewed as the favourite, whereas Short's submission, named the S.29, was selected as an alternative. When the preferred Type 317 had to be abandoned, the S.29, which later received the name Stirling, proceeded to production. In early 1941 the Stirling entered squadron service. During its use as a bomber pilots praised the type for its ability to out-turn enemy night fighters and its favourable handling characteristics whereas the altitude ceiling was often a subject of criticism. The Stirling had a relatively brief operational career as a bomber before being relegated to second line duties from late 1943. This was due to the increasing availability of the more capable Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster, which took over the strategic bombing of Germany. Decisions by the Air Ministry on certain performance requirements (most significantly to restrict the wingspan of the aircraft to 100 feet) had played a role in limiting the Stirling's performance; the 100ft limit also affected earlier models of the Halifax (MkI & MkII) though the Lancaster never adhered to it.

During its later service, the Stirling was used for mining German ports; new and converted aircraft also flew as glider tugs and supply aircraft during the Allied invasion of Europe during 1944"1945. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the type was rapidly withdrawn from RAF service, having been replaced in the transport role by the Avro York, a derivative of the Lancaster that had previously displaced it from the bomber role. A handful of ex-military Stirlings were rebuilt for the civil market. Wikipedia

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Short Stirling

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
Canadian Aircraft Losses (395)
last update: 2021-10-15 17:38:33

Stirling EF295

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