Born in Sarnia Ontario on August 20th, 1921. Bill had finished high school and was working at the Imperial
Oil Refinery when the war broke out. He was one of the "married" members of the crew. Bill was always good
on mathematics which helped him in his role as Navigator. Behind the pilot and flight engineer, the navigator
worked in a curtained off compartment so that the lights he required would not give away the position of
the Lancaster to enemy fighters. Few navigators had the time, or the inclination, to leave their station
during a raid. They were constantly plotting the aircraft's course and making adjustments for wind and
other factors. Navigators directed pilots to their destination and then back home again. If a navigator
was not incredibly precise, the bomb aimer would miss his target.
As electronic navigational aids developed during the war the navigator's work load became even greater.
Navigators needed to be trained intensively in navigational rules, calculations and measurements to such
a degree that they could pinpoint the position of the aircraft without any external aid, also known as
dead reckoning. As the war progressed, so did navigational technology. Radios and astral observation were
used to assist the navigator in his duties. However, since electronic devices could be interfered with
and the stars are not always visible, dead reckoning was never replaced.
After receiving his initial training at Manning Depot No.1 followed by trade selection at No.1 ITS both of which were
located in Toronto, Bill was posted
to #5 Air Observation School in Winnipeg Manitoba in April 1943.
Upon completion of his Navigator training in
August 1943 he was sent to No. 1 "Y" Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia to await posting overseas.
Upon reaching Britain he reported
to No.3 Personnel Reception Reception Center in Bournesmouth England before being sent to No. 2 Advanced Flying
Unit in Millom, England in
November of 1943.
In January of 1944 Bill was posted to No. 24 OTU at Long Marston, England. This is where he was
selected to be a member of the Roy Kent crew, who was also from Sarnia, Ontario. In April 1944 , he was
posted to No. 1666 HCU and finally to Wombleton for commando training.
Roy and his crew were based at Middleton St. George arriving on May 26 1944 and
flying 32 missions between June and October 1944.
Although the crew had several close calls, they all avoided serious injury.
Roy Kent was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during the operation on the night of
August 9/10 1944.
P/O Lee Morgan, the crew's Rear Gunner also received a DFC, for his actions during two of the