The loss of 419's Commanding Officer W/C McMurdy after only eleven days in his new post was felt deeply by all those on the
base. The former Commander of "A" Flight had replaced W/C Fleming officially on October 11th. and now
was listed as missing presumed killed on an operation to Kassel on the night of October 22/23.
The military moves quickly in these circumstances and S/L Wilbur Pleasance DFC was posted from 431 Squadron to take
charge of Moose Squadron. As A/W/C he would seem to jump into the position with an eye on improving what he saw wrong
with the squadron. One of his first acts within days of arrival was to give a lecture on discipline. A second action
a few weeks later was a look into the high rate of turn- backs of aircraft send on ops.
It was into this backdrop that F/O David Taylor arrived with the other members of Pleasance's crew from 431 Squadron.
Taylor's captain was a man of perseverance. During one mining operation the H2S radar had failed and the clouds prevented a good
visible indication of the dropping zone, Taylor was at his post for another half hour after the other aircraft had
left the area and headed back to base. They continued to circle waiting to see if conditions improved before they too headed home.
The Long Road to Becoming an Airman
David Rob Taylor enlisted with the RCAF in May of 1941, after being with the Regina Rifles. Following Manning Depot
training which as a former soldier would have been a breeze. He continued his training in Western
No. 4 I.T.S. Edmonton, No.5 E.F.T.S Lethbridge and No. 3 S.F.T.S. at Calgary.
He continued his further training in Ontario at No.4 A.O.S. located in London, No.4 B&GS at Fingal and No.1 A.N.S. at Trenton.
Once overseas he was posted for operational service to 431 Squadron, were as Bomb Aimer on S/L Pleasance's crew he
completed a series of sorties.
On November 1st. 1943, the then Flying Officer Taylor arrived at 419 Squadron along with the other members of the
F/O Lorne Rotstein, Sgt. Robert Emsley, Sgt. Edward Ihde, Sgt. Jack Tagg and Sgt. William McGill.
On the night of January 20/21 1944, Bomb Aimer Taylor took his prone position
but before he could start his duties in directing the bomber towards the target it was realized
that the Halifax had already overshot the target.
The pilot climbed to rejoin the long bomber stream above and take his place at the end of the line of waiting aircraft circling above.
His petrol supply was depleted by the climbing, circling and waiting in line for another bomb run. With the bombing run complete
they followed their dog-legged path back to base.
The use of the petrol during the actions to complete the second run at the target was proving to be a problem. To that problem was now added the port outer
engine as it began to fail and ditching looked like a possibility.
As they reached the English coast luck was still against them as fog was now over the coast. Their only option was to
turn on their IFF and pray they were somewhere near a landing spot. In response to their IFF signal off in the distance they could make out a flare path
guiding them to an air base. And with only 30 to 40 gallons of petrol remaining the crew touched down at RAF Woodbridge.
On the night of June 10/11 the squadron was marshalling the aircraft and as their turn came F/O Taylor in his
Bomb Aimer position had his normal front row seat to the Lancaster's run down the runway and then slowly climb into the sky.
KB708 came speeding down the runway at full throttle. As the aircraft's wheels left the ground VR-E
was to provide Taylor with a very different and dangerous takeoff view.
At this critical time as the aircraft began to lift off, both engines on the port side faltered, Pleasance was unable to
climb without putting the delicate balance of what little lift the Lancaster had into jeopardy. The area in front of the
runway provided an obstacle clear path at the 200 foot level he had managed to level the aircraft at.
As the dark ground sped past the perspex in front of Taylor's eyes, he could hear the pilot and the Flight Engineer
communicating and working together to correct the problem before the heavily laden aircraft could possibly crash.
excellent skills of the F/E and pilot resolved the problem and the engines returned to full power as the
crew headed off to complete their mission.
I cannot help but wonder what must have been running through the minds of F/L Taylor and the crew as they continued
their almost six hour trip, not knowing if they would again loose the two engines before making it back to base.
For their actions on that night W/C Pleasance received a Bar to to his DFC and F/E P/O William McGill received his DFC.
( An investigation into the cause of both engines problem is listed as "structural" not clear on what that means in this case
and that a modification was made to correct the problem)
Tour Completed on to Other Duties
On August 8th F/O David Taylor had completed his sorties to finish his Tour. Now after his time with 431 and 419 Squadrons
he moved on to No. 1664 HCU in the role of instructor. During this time he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.
David Rob Taylor passed away April 18th, 1988