RCAF 415 Squadron Swordfish

Lots of information on that squadron on the Internet.

Click here.

415 Squadron has a long history.

No. 415 “Swordfish” Squadron was a RCAF Squadron, based in Britain and under RAF operational command. The squadron was formed on 20 August 1941 as a torpedo-bomber squadron within Coastal Command, operating a mix of Beauforts, Blenheims and Hampdens over the next two years. The squadron carried out anti-submarine patrols from February 1942 and shipping strikes from May, initially with bombs but later with torpedoes.

In September 1943 the squadron converted to the Leigh Light Wellington, and the Albacore, operating the two types in tandem. The Wellingtons would locate German E-Boats and the Albacores would attack them. Over the next year the squadron sank a number of E-Boats, enemy merchant ships and larger warships.

In July 1944 the squadron converted to the Halifax, and joined No.6 (RCAF) of Bomber Command, taking part in the strategic bombing offensive until the end of the war.

Jack McLean’s first mission was on August 8, 1944. You won’t find that anywhere on the Internet. 

He did a full tour: 32 missions. We might say Jack McLean is an unsung hero like so many of his comrades-in-arms

I was elated to meet Jack.

Jack was behind me at the Gatineau Air Show.

I did not notice him at first until my brother told me about him. I turned around and there he was.


I had to shake hands with him and start talking about all the veterans I had met since 2010 when I starting writing blogs about them.

I talked so much that I was forgetting to watch the planes flying over head and letting Jack enjoy the fly-bys.

DSC06414 DSC06415 DSC06417

I took some notes about his service in the RCAF while I was talking with him about the veterans I had met and how I came interested in Eugène Gagnon, a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron based at Little Snoring.

Eugene Gagnon 1945

This is when his eyes lightened up. All the veterans I have met since 2010 had had the same reaction. All these veterans knew how Mosquito pilots and their navigators protected them from German fighters and from anti-aircraft guns stations.

Jack McLean still has his precious logbook.

He told me his pilot was Flying Officer Roberts. I will have to look him up…

Jack also told me he flew some of his missions on Willie the Wolf and that the panel of this Halifax bomber is in the War Museum in Ottawa.

Small world isn’t it?

I took a picture in 2008!

Ottawa aout 2008 Willie the Wolfcollection Pierre Lagacé
(Ottawa August 2008)

Willie the Wolf

Eugène Gagnon, a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron based at Little Snoring?

Try Googling that.

23 thoughts on “RCAF 415 Squadron Swordfish

  1. Hullo – did any of you fellows know Ian Campbell – who was a navigator on bombers? He was at 415 at East Moor in the very end of the war I think.

  2. I am looking for any info on my uncle P/O Gerald Errol Robertson. He was a navigator, I believe and was in 415 Squadron in WW2, His service number was J/87405 and he was killed in action on June 13, 1944 somewhere in Europe, His only memorial is at Runnymede, Surrey,UK at England’s memorial to all who did not return. I am looking maybe for anyone who may have known him and perhaps would have any photos or info.

    My email is bgriff9@gmail.com.

  3. I was at Little Snoring in 2012! It is in East Anglia near Fakenham where we were enjoying a couple of weeks on a house exchange! I had no idea there was a connection to 415! I was on 415 as a Nav and Sqn Adj from 1970 to 1975 and then on 413 as a Nav

    1. I know that 515 and 23 squadrons were stationed at Little Snoring, but I did not know 415 was.
      I check on that.
      Thanks for your comment.

    2. I think my post was confusing. 415 was not stationed there.

      In October 1943 the Squadron was re-equipped with Wellingtons and Albacores; operating out of Bircham Newton, it became a successful E- and R-boat hunter unit. During the D-Day operations, it used its bombers to lay protective smoke screens for the Allied ships as they assaulted the coastline and landed troops ashore.

      In July 1944, the squadron was transferred to RAF Bomber Command’s No. 6 Group (RCAF) and transitioned to East Moor. There, it re-equipped with Halifax IIIs and began major bombing of German targets on July 28/29, when it attacked Hamburg. For nine months afterward, it made bombing runs over important enemy targets in a variety of places until 25 April 1945, when it made its last mission, an attack on the gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge. The squadron disbanded in May, 1945.


  4. Hi! My grand uncle was in 415 and presumed dead as of 5/29/42. His name is Arnold Francis Conway and is Canadian. He went missing but have found a document from 1956 stating he is at Sage Cemetery in Oldenburg Germany. He is labeled as an “unknown British airmen” even though he is Canadian from Ontario. I am looking for information on him and anyone who may have known him.


    1. In memory of
      Flight Sergeant
      Arnold Francis Conway
      May 29, 1942
      Military Service:
      Service Number:
      Air Force
      Royal Canadian Air Force
      415 Sqdn.
      Additional Information:
      Commemorated on Page 66 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

      Burial Information:
      SAGE WAR CEMETERY , Germany
      Grave Reference:
      4. A. 3.
      Sage is a village 24 km south of Oldenburg, a town 43 km west of Bremen and 28 km north of the main road from Bremen to Holland. The cemetery lies 2 km south of the village on the west side of the road to Osnabruck. From the A1 Bremen/Munster motorway visitors should leave at the Wildeshousen Nord junction and take 213 following signs for Alhorn and Oldenburg. After 8 km and immediately after the village of Alhorn turn right at the roundabout and follow signs for Oldenburg along the Oldenburgerstrasse. The cemetery lies on the left hand side of the road 4 km from Alhorn.

  5. SARGENT KIA 29 May 1942

    Pilot P/O D.H. Sargent

    Navigator P/O M. Edwards

    WO/AG F/Sgt J.B.M. McWilliams

    WO/AG Sgt A.F. Conway

  6. 415 Squadron Crews – Last Update 14 March 2015

    The first 415 Squadron crews commenced their operational training on the Bristol Beaufort, an effective torpedo-bomber, with a four member crew. These planes were quickly reclaimed by the RAF and for a short period the obsolete Bristol Blenheim took their place. By late 1941, the Handley Page Hampden was being withdrawn from Bomber Command operations and many of these aircraft were adapted by Coastal Command for the torpedo-bomber role. In January 1942 the Squadron converted to the Hampden and crews continued their operational training ultimately flying the Squadron‘s first operational mission on 21 April 1942.
    Crews consisted of four personnel: a pilot, navigator or observer and two wireless operators/air gunners. Crew information, included crew photos, has been gathered through multiple sources. The rank shown is that which was assigned to the member at the time the crew was formed. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in the reporting of 415 Squadron Hampden crews. However, as the Squadron grew there were many changes to crew composition. There were also a large number of losses, both training and operational, many of which were the result of operating antiquated aircraft. As a result, some Squadron members flew on multiple crews and some crews were actually reformed part way through a tour of duty.

  7. Does anyone have a photo of my father, William Lloyd Mracek in uniform? He was a navigator in 415 Swordfish Bomber Command and transferred to No. 6 RCAF Group of Bomber Command in East Moor Yorkshire England. He was shot down over Hamburg, survived and was a POW at Stalagluft #1 in Barth Germany. We’ll be celebrating his 95th birthday this August 2017 at Nanton’s Bomber Command Museum of Canada! We’d love to find a photo of my Dad with his crew.

  8. Lauren, if you are still following this thread, it would be greatly appreciated if you could provide a biography of your grand uncle.

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