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Bomber Command

Many of the young men of Nanton and District joined the RCAF during World War II.
Nine were killed and one died 35 years after the war as a result of wartime injuries.

Arden Ellis

Born in Nova Scotia, Arder Ivan Ellis came west with his father George Ellis and family in 1926. After attending school in Nanton, he became a teacher in the Oyen District and was principal of the Acadia Valley School when he joined the RCAF during January 1942. Although trained as a navigator, Arden spent time at #5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Dafoe, Saskatchewan and that school's crest is on his sweater in the photograph. Sgt. Ellis was lost when his 75 Squadron Wellington Bomber was hit by flak on 11 August, 1942 on a raid to Mainz. P/O G.E.F. Bradey, his pilot, was severely wounded in the abdomen and the aircraft crashed into the sea. The lone survivor was taken prisoner. Sgt. Ellis was survived by his wife Alice, son Norman, and his parents all of whom resided in Nanton at the time.

Thomas Fetherston

The Fetherston family was operating a grocery store in Nanton when Thomas was born. The family moved to High River where Thomas attended high school prior to joining the RCAF when he turned 18 in 1941. After completing pilot training in High River and Dauphin, Manitoba and being married, Sgt. Fetherston was posted to 102 Squadron. During a raid to Hamburg, his Halifax bomber was shot down and crashed into the sea. The crew was declared "Missing in Action." It was Thomas's second operation. In 1999, Thomas's rust-covered RCAF bracelet was found on a beach on the small island of Ameland off the north coast of Holland. The family in High River was contacted and attended the placing of a Memorial in the cemetery at Nes, Ameland, Holland.

Clifford Garbutt

Clifford Edgar Garbutt was the son of Edgar and Helen Garbutt of Nanton. After graduating as a pilot, he was serving at #2 Wireless School in Calgary. During a familiarization flight on 29 October, 1943 in a North American Yale, the aircraft crashed two miles east of Midnapore. The RCAF crash report stated, "P/O Kennedy, the aircraft's pilot, was demonstrating stalling at a height of 1000 feet and got into a spin from which he did not completely recover. The aircraft hit the ground while in a vertical dive." F/S Garbutt was survived by his wife Melba and son Cliff jr. His is the only RCAF headstone in the Nanton Cemetery.

Cecil Kindt

The son of Peter and Dorothy Kindt, Cecil John Edgar Kindt spent his early years on the family farm east of Nanton. After joining the RCAF during July 1941, Cecil received his pilot training at Edmonton, Claresholm, Fort Macleod, and Calgary. WO2 Kindt was the pilot of a 626 Squadron Lancaster Bomber that was shot down on 26 November, 1943 during what became known as The Battle of Berlin. His aircraft crashed thirty miles from the city and all seven aboard were killed. Cecil Kindt was 21 years of age.

Wally McLean

Kenneth Hector "Wally" McLean's mother had passed away when he was an infant. Wally lived in Nanton and nearby Brant with his Uncle Ed and Nellie McLean prior to joining the RCAF. F/S McLean was the twenty year old pilot of a 106 Squadron Lancaster that was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed into a corn field near St. Trond, Belgium during a raid to Cologne on 9 July, 1943. All aboard were killed. The aircraft was one of three lost by 106 Squadron that night.

John Kinney

Born in Nanton, John R. Kinney enlisted in the RCAF in 1941 and trained as a navigator. His 10 Squadron Halifax Bomber was shot down on his thirteenth operation, a raid to Frankfurt on 21 December, 1943. F/O Kinney was the sole survivor but was badly injured. His back was broken and his feet were frozen when he was captured. He was held by a lone Nazi trooper in an isolated barn where his injuries were further aggravated by the severe cold and inhumane treatment inflicted by his captor who was subsequently convicted of his crimes at the War Crime Trials following the war. John's injuries were eventually properly treated but his left leg had to be amputated. His mother, who still lived in Nanton, was advised that he was missing and presumed dead. F/O Kinney then spent 14 months as a Prisoner of War in a Hospital Camp, was repatriated to Canada on a Red Cross Hospital Ship, and then spent eight months at a Military Hospital in Toronto. He died in 1980 of complications related to his war injuries.

Glen Ransom

The son of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Ransom, Glen Irwin Ransom was born in Nanton and attended school here prior to joining the RCAF in 1941. He trained in Edmonton and Claresholm. During a training flight while based at Claresholm, Glen saw one of his former school friends bringing in the milk cows. He decided to help. With the motors cut he glided silently at low level towards the cows. Then Glen opened up his motors with a roar. Away went the cows and the saddle horse started to buck and nearly lost its rider. As a Lancaster pilot, Glen participated in the Pennemunde Raid which significantly delayed the Nazi's V-2 Rocket program. F/O Ransom had completed 26 operations when he and five of his crew were killed during a raid to Berlin on 20 January, 1944. He was serving with 83 Squadron and part of the elite Pathfinder Force.

Robert Leman

Arthur and Catherine Leman ranched in the foothills west of Nanton. Their son, Robert Arthur Leman, attended the one room school in the Muirhead District and Robert worked at various ranches prior to joining the RCAF in 1942. P/O Leman was an air gunner aboard a 431 Squadron Halifax Bomber flown by nineteen year old F/O J.B. Colliver. Their aircraft was lost without a trace on a raid to Hamburg on 29 July, 1944. Five of seventeen 431 Squadron aircraft were lost that night and 6 Group saw its highest loss rate (9.4%) of the war. The large number of enemy fighters that intercepted the bombers was expected but the anticipated cloud layer within which the bombers were to seek refuge failed to materialize.

Clarence Scott

Raised on a farm six miles south of Nanton, Clarence Loree Scott's training kept him close to home as he was stationed at High River, Vulcan, and Fort Macleod prior to being posted overseas. F/O Scott was a 21 year old pilot serving with 518 Squadron when he and his crew were killed on 23 January, 1944 while on a meteorological trip. Their Halifax aircraft appeared to be trying to make a forced landing when it struck the edge of a cliff and crashed at Bundorrin, County Donegal, Ireland.

Ken Smith

Born in Nanton, Kenneth Read Smith attended school here prior to joining the RCAF in 1941. After training at Brandon, Manitoba and Regina, Saskatchewan he served as a navigator with 9 Squadron. While returning from a raid on Essen on 3 January, 1943 his Lancaster was attacked by a night-fighter and crashed at Arnhem, Holland. All seven aboard were killed. P/O Smith's family received a letter from a Dutch man who had witnessed the crash. Enclosed was a map showing the aircraft's route made from the skin of the Lancaster.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada