Laid to rest at the Field of Honour.
Born: 2nd September 1919, Macleod, Alberta, Canada.
Died: 24th October 1942; age: 23 years, 1 month & 22 days; Killed as a result of a flying accident.
Residence: Granum, Alberta, Canada.
First enlisted into the No. 131 Canadian Army – Private, M/600935 after 30 days training Walter was discharged to enlist in the R.A.C.F. He left the Basic Training Centre, Camrose, Alberta on the 23rd June 1941.
Enlistment details in the R.C.A.F. – wished to enlist for flying duties/pilot. Age: 21; Occupation: Farmer; Religion: Presbyterian. Height: 5ft & 11ins, ruddy complexion, blue eyes, auburn hair. Hobbies: Mechanics, Electricity, Amateur Photography. Sports: Base Ball, Soft Ball & Skating.
Granum – Grades 1 to 8 – 1925 – 1933.
Granum High – Grades IX, X Part XI – 1933 – 1936.
Olds, Agriculture – 1938 – 1939 completed 1 year. Employed as a Farming Assistant – 1939 – 1941, Granum, Alberta.
John F. Carring – Farmer – Macleod, Alberta.
W.S. Daley – Farmer – Granum, Alberta.
Report after training – Thorough hard worker. Above average in all respects. Very thorough and capable. Has expressed a desire to instruct, strongly recommended as his voice is clear and well modulated. Link trainer above average. 3rd in class of 57.
Rank: Flying Officer/Pilot; Service Number: J/10239.
Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force, 218, (R.A.F.(Gold Coast)) Squadron.
Aircraft: Stirling Bomber
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Walter R. Thompson and of Jean Thompson (nee McNaught); husband of O. Ruth Thompson, of Pearce, Alberta, Canada.
Father: Walter Russell Thompson, born April 1886, Beech Grove, Quebec, Canada.
Mother: Jean McNaught, born June 1885, Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario, Canada.
On the 7th March 1942, at Lethbridge, Alberta, by the Rev. E.L. Garvin (Presbyterian) Walter married Olive Ruth Koole, born march 1922, Fort Macleod, Macleod, Alberta, Canada.
24th October 1942
Aircraft: Short Stirling type 1; serial number: R9241; code: HA-L. Mission to Milan, Italy. R9241 took off from R.A.F. Downham Market, Norfolk at 18:50hrs. 35 minutes into the flight a fire broke out in the port engine and rapidly spread. Control was lost of the aircraft and it’s bomb load was jettisoned, before it broke up and crashed at 19:27 hrs into marshland at Cattawade, 1 mile north of Manningtree, Essex. 7 crew members were killed. Sergeant George Hinshelwood baled out very low and was injured when he landed on a bridge over the River Stour. 71 aircraft took part in the mission to Milan, 7 were lost.
Frederick Rex Higgott; Flight Officer/Pilot; age 21; R.N.Z.A.F.
Bertram Scott Watt Grieve; Sergeant; age 35; R.A.F.V.R.
Alan Mahoney; Sergeant/Observer; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.
Norman Holland Simms; Sergeant/Bomb Aimer/Observer; R.A.F.V.R.
Leslie Nockels; Sergeant/ Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 29; R.A.F.V.R.
Wilfred John Ferris ‘Tink’; Sergeant/ Air Gunner; age 19; R.A.F.V.R.
Sgt. John Hinshelwood
“Dear Miss Ferris”
Many thanks for your letter dated Dec. 6th. It was very kind of you to write to me, I agree with you, it is rather awkward writing to someone whom you have never met.
Yes I was in your brother’s crew on that fateful night & it was more then good luck that I am alive today.
I can understand what is worrying both you & your mother but you see there is very little to tell you what you already know as regards your brother baling out & his parachute not opening. I do not know who told you, preharps you might let me know who it was.
I shall give you a brief explanation of what happened & you can take what you will from that.
We were roughly 8,000 feet & suddenly we developed into engine trouble, we lost height so we dropped our bombs. Still we lost height & losing control of the machine.
The pilot then gave the orders for all members of crew to stand-by, ready to jump. Few seconds later the order came to jump & myself being in the tail, I am first to jump. I got caught in the act of baling out & the machine was dragging me behind. But I managed to free myself – that is all Miss Ferris. I learned afterwards that shortly after I left the machine, it blew-up. So the poor fellows would not have a chance at all.
It was only when I came out of hospital that I learned the truth & fate of my crew. Believe me Miss Ferris I was badly shaken with that news, we were all like brothers.
I do not know how to express myself, but I will trust you will understand. Please accept my deepest sympathy. I trust this will help to clear things up for you.
I hope finds your mother & yourself in good health. Cheerio just now & thanks for writing it is a weight of my mind.
A. Hinshelwood Sgt.
Photograph of ‘Tink’ Ferris and letter sent to his mother from the Wing Commander and letter sent to Tink’s sister – courtesy of Gay.
George Allan Hinshelwood; Sergeant; R.A.F. Survived. Killed a year later 4th May 1943, Netherlands; age 23.