J/16872 P/O Floyd Alvin WILE, 617 (RAF) Sqdn, Royal Canadian Air Force: 17/05/1943

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by CL1, May 17, 2018.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Remembering Today

    Pilot Officer (Navigator) WILE, FLOYD ALVIN
    Service Number J/16872
    Died 17/05/1943
    Aged 24
    617 (R.A.F.) Sqdn., Royal Canadian Air Force
    Son of Harris A. and Annabelle B. Wile, of Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Location: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    Number of casualties: 7500
    Cemetery/memorial reference: 21. D. 15.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Details below available from public family trees on Ancestry - thanks to others for providing access to such information

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    P/O. Floyd Alvin Wile. Reichwald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 21.D.15
    Born in 1919 in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia, the son of Harris and Annabelle Wile. He had six siblings, Arnold, Ada, Leslie, Dorothy, Raymond (served overseas with the Princess Louise Fusiliers in Italy) and Donald.
    After he left high school he worked in farming and the lumbar business. A keen sportsman, he enjoyed skiing, skating and swimming. Attended No. 5 Initial Training School and No. 8 Air Observer School and was noted for being very quiet and hard working. By the time he had attended No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery school he had gained in confidence and was commended as outstanding by his commanding officer. After passing out of No. 2 Air Navigation School in 1941, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and left 1654 Conversion Unit, Wigsley in December 1942. Posted to 9 Squadron at Waddington, Floyd and the rest of the crew were piloted by Sergeant M.W.Stephenson, who it is believed was killed acting as Flight Engineer on a raid to Duisberg on 8/9th January 1943.
    Floyd and the rest of the crew were to fly their first op.with Flight Lieutenant Astell on the 25th of January 1943.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission also erected an identical headstone dedicated to Floyd in the family plot.
    Floyd joined 617 squadron at Scampton in Lincolnshire. 617 squadron had been formed with one aim in mind, to breach the dams of the Ruhr valley and thus wipe out much of Germanys' arms manufacturing capability.
    Frank Garbas and Albert Garshowitz
    The dams were to be destroyed using Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb, codename 'Upkeep'. In order for Upkeep to do its job properly, it had to be dropped with great precision, from a height of just 60 feet at a distance from the dam of 400 - 450 yards. Also, in order to avoid detection the Lancaster bombers, which had no fighter escort, had to fly from their base to the dams at very low altitude.
    Because of the dangerous and highly skilled nature of this mission the crews of 617 squadron were hand picked from the best bomber command crews available no matter which squadron they were already flying with.
    During March, April and May the crews of 617 squadron trained intensively, flying at very low altitude, dropping bombs with a degree of accuracy never previously required and doing so over water at night! Despite this unusual training they were not told of the targets until the night before the raid. Only Wing Commander Guy Gibson, Barnes Wallis and a handful of others knew what they were. Several of B for Baker's crew, two of the Canadians, Pilot Officer Floyd Alwin Wile and Warrant officer Albert Garshowitz, the Scot, Sergeant John Kinnear and Richard spent their last leave before the raid together in Kimberley.
    Operation Chastise
    Floyd A. Wile - M.Stephenson - Donald Hopkinson Albert Garshowitz - Richard Bolitho
    On the night of the 16th of May 1943, B for Baker took off at 21:59. She was a part of A-flight, which were to be the first nine Lancasters to attack the dams. Two more flights B and C, each made up of five Lancasters, would follow along behind in case the dams had not been breached. In total 19 bombers headed for the Ruhr valley.
    Unfortunately B for Baker never completed her mission, she crashed en-route near Marbeck. All the crew died, when a Lancaster is hit at such low level the crew have very little chance of surviving.
    The official squadron record of the sortie shows that B for Baker had strayed off course and was brought down by flak. However eyewitnesses later said that she had hit a pylon or electrical cables and crashed in flames. It was also reported that the Lancaster exploded on impact, she still had the bomb on-board so this seems quite plausible. What is clear however, is that for the crew any chance of surviving the crash was slight.
    On the morning of 17th May 1943, 8 of the 19 Lancasters had failed to return. 56 aircrew were missing (53 were dead, 3 had survived crashes)

    Peter Clare and CL1 like this.

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