William Osborn enlisted in Hamilton Ontario near his home town of Hespler on July 14th 1942 and began the long journey to flying operations with 419 squadron.
Trained at No. 6 ITS and completing the course in late November of 1942, followed by postings to No. 20 EFTS until February 1943 then to No. 6 SFTS until June 1943.
Receiving his commission in May 1943. Overseas training was to follow until on August 31 1944 when P/O Osborn and his crew were posted to 419 squadron from No. 1664 CU.
His crew were:
Navigator F/O M. R. Young
Bomb Aimer H. S. Paisley
Wireless Op. Sgt. John Hubert Clark (Later P/O John Clark DFC)
F/E Sgt. H. W. Roper
A/G M/U Sgt. J. W. Aitken
A/G R/G Sgt. S. F. Campbell
On September 10th P/O Osborn completed his stint as 2nd. Pilot on an operation to LeHavre, the first operation as a crew occurred on September 28th when the target was Cap Gris Nez.
During the March 1st daylight raid on Mannheim the crew were to feel the effects of the German 88 anti-aircraft guns. The formation was protected from enemy fighters by a fighter escort but heavy flak knocked out their Lancaster's port outer engine while still on the way to the target, but the crew continued on to their objective. VR-P was one of two 419 squadron Lancasters hit by flak during the raid. Both aircraft made it safely back to base with the damages they had received.
From the Operations log it appears that the crew flew together right up until May of 1945 when F/O Young, P/O. Clark, P/O Roper were "screened" and posted out of the squadron To "R" Depot. I was unable to find information on F/O Paisley, however the crews M/U gunner was transferred to F/O Millar's ill-fated crew.
F/S John Aitken was the only survivor of KB786 see KB786
Now with the rank of Flight Lieutenant, William Ward Osborn stayed on past the 30 operations that normally completed an airman's tour until April 30th when he was "screened " to "R" depot after completing 36 sorties (over 237 operational hours ).
Distinguished Flying Cross
OSBORN, F/L William Ward (J26673) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.419 Squadron - Award effective 8 September 1945 as per London Gazette dated 21 September 1945 and AFRO 1704/45 dated 9 November 1945. Born 1921 in Preston, Ontario; home in Hespeler (labourer); enlisted in Hamilton, 14 July 1942. Trained at No.6 ITS (graduated 21 November 1942), No.20 EFTS (graduated 6 February 1943) and No.6 SFTS (graduated 11 June 1943). Commissioned May 1943. Medal presented 22 June 1949. No citation other than "completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty." DHist file 181.009 D.1941 (RG.24 Vol.20612) has recommendation dated 5 April 1945 when he had flown 36 sorties (237 hours 15 minutes), 10 September 1944 to 15 March 1945. Flight Lieutenant Osborn commenced his tour on September 10th, 1944 by doing a trip to Calais. On this first effort he brought his aircraft back to base on two and one-half engines. As gaggle leader on a daylight trip to Cologne on March 2nd, 1945, he again lost an engine in the target area and returned to base on three engines. At all times during his tour of 36 trips this pilot has shown a high degree of courage, initiative and keenness. He has led his crew in bombing such difficult targets as Dresden, Munich and Nuremburg. This pilot's standard of crew captaincy has been exceptional. For fine record on operation, his coolness, skill and leadership this officer merits the award on a non-immediate Distinguished Flying Cross.
After graduating the U of T in Civil Engineering he joined the Canadian Army served in Korea and later in Egypt as part of the UN Peacekeeping force, retiring as a Major. Mr. Osborn passed away on January 13th 2012.