Joseph Dutton was born in Epsom England. His father, Mervyn Dutton, was a private in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The senior Dutton returned home with his new family sometime after 1919 .

Joseph Dutton enlisted for aircrew service in Calgary. He had left his hometown of Russel Manitoba and attended St. John's College in Winnipeg prior to going to Calgary. He would be the second of Mervyn Dutton's sons to join the RCAF. His father played hockey and coached before becoming President of the NHL at this time. Following his father into the sport of hockey, Joseph played hockey with an eastern US amateur team. In fact one of the occupations he listed on his enlistment form was hockey player.
After completing his Manning training at No.1 MD in Toronto he remained in the city being posted to the Initial Training School located at the Toronto Hunt Club. For his next posting after being accepted for pilot training took him to No. 10 EFTS in Hamilton. It would seem he was destined to have all of his pilot training within reach of the city of Toronto. Dutton completed his pilot training and received his pilots wings at No.5 SFTS in Brantford Ontario in July of 1941.


Once he arrived in Britain after certain problems with embarkation from Halifax, his next noted posting was to No.22 OTU.
Before arriving at 419 Squadron he was very temporarily posted to 101 and 40 Squadrons for periods of one or two days. Although the records show he arrived at the squadron on January 7th of 1942, and being one of the original squadron pilots, his first operation was not March 10th.
At this period the heavy bombers used two pilots on each operation. F/S Dutton's first two operations were as a 2nd. Pilot. By the time of his third operation he was the captain of the aircraft and had F/S McGuffin as his 2nd. pilot for the next five operations. After May 6th. the Wellingtons were allotted just the one pilot which would be the way that Bomber Command would follow until the end of the war.

June 5/6 1942 - Essen

For Dutton and his crew this would be their third sortie against the heavily defended Essen. The details of what brought down his crew and aircraft are few. The Wellington is reported to have come down on the 6th. at Milchplats/Eversdael. All the crew were killed and reported as being buried in Krefeld.
After the war in 1949 or 1950 the remains of the airmen of Wellington X3486 could not be located and it was decided that their names would be placed on the Runnymede Memorial.

A Father's Loss and Search for Answers

As a veteran of Vimy Ridge in the First World War Mervyn Dutton, Joseph's father was well aware of the costs and heartbreak of war. Within the service files of Joseph Dutton are a number of letters from his father requesting, then later demanding to know what the whole story was of this his son's loss.
The replies from the RCAF gave no further information about the loss, and as the year was 1944 it would be six more years before Mervyn Dutton would be told that even the last resting place of his son was now not known.
(On March 3rd. 1943 Joseph's brother WO Thomas a Dutton was lost and again for the Senior Dutton no burial plot would be found.)

The Toll of the Bombing Raids

Although F/S Dutton's crew remained almost constant there were times when other airmen flew as members of his crew. Of four who were part of the original airmen who flew with the fledling squadron and with Dutton, three would be killed before the end of 1942. A fourth who served as Dutton's 2nd. Pilot on five operations in 1942 then returned later to 419, S/L McGuffin was also lost in 1944.

P/O John H. Freestone was killed September 3rd. 1942on Wellington X3711
F/S Basil V. Pearce was killed July 14th 1942 on Wellington X3416
F/S Hefi. S. Sveinson was killed October 2nd. 1942 on Wellington BK269
F/S McGuffin returned to 419 Squadron and with the rank of S/L was killed October 23rd. 1944 on Lancaster KB776