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Stephens, William Russell (Pilot Officer)

Killed in Flying Accident 1944-01-24

Birth Date: 1922-03-01 (age 21)

Husband of Mayme Irene Stephens, of Kelowna.

Home: Kelowna, British Columbia

2 BGS- Bombing & Gunnery School
Mossbank, Saskatchewan, Canada
Pilot Officer
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
Bolingbroke 10075 and Lysander 2369 collided in mid-air two miles north-west of the 1 target after making a turn at the west end of Lake Johnston, Saskatchewan. at the time of the collision the crews in the aircraft were participating in a routine gunnery exercise. LAC Arthur Maduik, the drogue operator of the Lysander and P/O W.R. Stephens, were both killed. There were no fatalities among the airmen in the Bolingbroke.

Canada Primary Source School Daily Diary Entry – 1944-01-24

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. Lysander Mk. IIIA TT 2369
  2. Bolingbroke Mk. IVT 10075

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

Crew on Lysander Mk. IIIA TT 2369

There were no casulaties listed on Bolingbroke Mk. IVT 10075

Westland Lysander

Westland Lysander Mk. IIIA
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Westland Aircraft of Yeovil, UK, started to design an Army Cooperation aircraft for the British Air Ministry, in June 1935. The first Lysander flew a year later and demonstrated a remarkable short field performance that today would be seen in a STOL aircraft. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, seven RAF squadrons equipped with Lysanders were sent to France in support of the British Army. In May-June 1940, 118 Lysanders were destroyed in action and 120 aircrew were killed or taken prisoner. These severe losses showed that the old ideas about army support aircraft were out of date and the future lay in fighters like the Hurricane.

The most daring use of Lysanders in WW II was with the Special Operations Executive, which supported the Resistance in German occupied France and Belgium, by flying in agents and picking up escapees. It was during these night operations, that the Lysander came into its own, using its remarkable STOL capabilities to fly into the small fields marked out by the Resistance.

The first Canadian built Lysanders rolled out of National Steel Car factory at Malton, Ontario in September 1939 and later were delivered to RCAF No. 110 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ontario. In February 1940, No. 110 became the first RCAF squadron to be ordered overseas to Britain, becoming No. 400 Sqn..

By late 1941, most Canadian built Lysanders had been transferred to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), where they were used for target towing at gunnery training schools. National Steel Car, which became Victory Aircraft, stopped building Lysanders in September 1942, as it started to gear up to manufacture Lancaster bombers. 1,652 Lysanders were built between 1938 and 1943; 225 of them in Canada. Lysanders served with the RAF, RCAF and the RAAF, as well as the air forces of seven other nations. Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

YouTube Lysander

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Lysander

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

Kestrek Publications Lysander - Kestrel Publications

General Century of Flight Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (329), RCAF 400 Squadron (1), Canadian Aircraft Losses (26)
last update: 2022-11-15 18:46:26

Lysander Mk. IIIA TT 2369

Assigned to No. 2 Training Command and used by No. 5 Bombing & Gunnery School at Dafoe, Saskatchewan. Category "C" damage on 19 Aug 1942, while at Dafoe. Assigned to MacDonald Bros Aircraft for repairs as of 10 Sep 1942. Returned to No. 2 Training Command stored reserve as of 11 Feb 1943. Re-issued to No. 4 Training Command and used by No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School in Mossbank, Saskatchewan, as of 25 Mar 1943. To No. 4 Training Command stored reserve as of 10 Aug 1943. Re-issued on 7 Jan 1944 to No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School. On 24 Jan 1944, the a/c was involved in a Category “A” accident at Mossbank. The Lysander and a Bolingbroke #10075 from No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School Mossbank collided. Pilot Officer W.R. Stephens and LAC A. Maduik were both killed. The Bolingbroke was able to recover safely.
1942-06-23 Taken on Strength 2019-08-20
1942-August-07 Accident: 5 Bomb & Gunnery School Loc: Aerodrome Names: Davies
1942-August-19 Accident: 5 Bomb & Gunnery School Loc: Aerodrome Names: Baker | Dyre-mathews
1942-08-19 Accident Category C 2022-01-08
1944-January-24 Accident: 2 Bomb & Gunnery School Loc: Lake Johnston Ranges Names: Furness | MacDonald | Madiuk | Page | Stephens | Thomas
1944-01-24 Accident Category A 2022-01-08
1944-04-24 Struck off Strength reduced to spares and produce 2022-01-08

Bolingbroke Mk. IVT 10075

Built with Mercury XX Star engines. Delivered new to stored reserve with No. 4 Training Command. Issued on 20 February 1943. To stored reserve on 17 April 1944. To No. 2 Air Command on 1 December 1944, still in storage. Available for disposal from 12 October 1945. Stored post war at No. 3 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit at MacDonald, Manitoba. Had 480:15 airframe time when struck off.
1943-01-23 Taken on Strength 2019-08-20
1944-January-24 Accident: 2 Bomb & Gunnery School Loc: Lake Johnston Ranges Names: Furness | MacDonald | Madiuk | Page | Stephens | Thomas
1944-March-12 Accident: 2 Bomb & Gunnery School Loc: Aerodrome Names: Hugill | Mafaffy | Nichol | Paxton | Wells
1946-05-15 Struck off Strength Struck off, to War Assets Corporation for sale 2019-08-20

2 BGS- Bombing & Gunnery School (2 Bomb and Gunnery School)

The Bombing and Gunnery School (B&GS) offered instruction in the techniques of bomb aiming and aerial machine gunnery to Air Observers, Bomb Aimers, and Wireless Air Gunners. These schools required large areas to accommodate their bombing and gunnery ranges, and were often located near water. The Avro Anson, Fairey Battle, Bristol Bolingbroke, and Westland Lysander were the standard aircraft used at B&GS schools.
Mossbank NO2 BGS Magazine
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  • Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial

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  • General RCAF Mossbank Blog

  • 1940-10-28 Primary Location Mossbank SK Canada Abandoned returned to agriculture. Still visible on satellite imagery.

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