Crewing Up

For the greater part of the 419 Squadron's early days with the heavy bombers, and for that matter most Canadian bomber squadrons, the RCAF relied on the RAF to provide the manpower for the Flight Engineer role. There were no training facilities in Canada under the BCATP for this role.
For Sgt. Roy Uden his time with F/O Anderson's crew began before he was even posted to the Moose squadron. After completion of his Flight Engineering training he was posted to No. 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit at Dishforth, part of No.6 (RCAF) Group.
Here the RAF Flight Engineers were crewed up with existing RCAF crews who had just completed training at a Operational Training Unit. It is somewhat casual selection usually done with the pilot making the final decision out of those whom he and maybe his crew had talked to and felt comfortable with. After all they would be spending a lot of time together and the selection had to be a good fit for all of the crew. For Uden as with the other British F/E's he would not be the only new crew member, a gunner was also added to a crew at this same time.

For some of the RAF airmen posted to RCAF squadrons there was a difference felt that they liked over their own squadrons. Discipline though in effect was lighter, food was (I am told ) better and the equal way all ranks were treated was also felt.

Anderson's Crew

Sgt.Uden became part of F/O William Anderson's crew, who had just finished training at No.22 O.T.U. It just so happened that there was another Anderson crew with 419 Squadron at the very same time. F/O John Anderson and crew often flew on the operations as Uden's crew captained by F/O William Anderson.
His crew were:
Pilot F/O William Anderson
Navigator F/O W.F."Bill" Behen
Bomb Aimer F/O J.W. Steeles
WAG WO L.F. Bailey
A/G M/U Sgt. P.Burton
A/G R/G Sgt. W.F. "Bill" Mann

For Uden and Anderson's crew it would be a quick jump into the action. Arriving on the morning of April 10th 1944, it would be only a few short hours before F/O Anderson did his first stint at 2nd. Pilot. Anderson completed his second 2nd. pilot stint the following day, then the crew including Uden had four days of cross country flying and other squadron exercises to acquaint themselves with the country surrounding the base.


The squadron were still flying Halifax aircraft when they completed their first operation on April 18th. A "Gardening" operation in Fakse Bay.The low level flying involved with laying mines was always a tricky and dangerous mission.
By May the squadron was now equipped with the Canadian built Lancaster X. It would be on their fifth operation on the Lancaster where the crew would be attacked by a Ju88.
The Combat Report Narrative would read:

The squadron had claimed it's first "Destroyed" enemy fighter with their new Lancasters. It would prove to be the first credited "Destroyed" by any Lancaster X squadron. His aircraft was the squadron's famous VR-X "Xterminator",
an aircraft which would go on to complete 84 operations and eventually return to Canada in June of 1945. One of the few Lancaster X's to make it through so many operations.

As the Flight Engineer with Anderson, Sgt. Uden would experience other incidents with flak damage, hydraulics being shot up on the different Lancasters he was on.
"Xterminator" would be seen in his Log book along with KB720, VR-P "Piddlin Pete" and KB765 VR-Q which was his aircraft for many of the operations, amung other Lancasters belonging to Moose squadron.

Completion of Tour

The crew would complete over 30 operations, F/L Anderson would have completed an additional two operations earlier as 2nd. Pilot. The last operation was on September 12th 1944. It was not an uneventful trip and could have been a bad ending to an experienced crew. They were over the skies of Dortmund, a target well familiar to the squadron and the area where a number of 419 crews had been lost in the past and would continue to be lost.
Heavy flak was always a source of trouble in that area and for Uden and the crew the flak caught the crew's aircraft in the starboard wing knocking out their hydraulic system. What that could be done by hand would now require the manual method of operation all the way back to base. They made it back, a dramatic conclusion to an extra long Tour.
After screening, most of the crew were posted to 64 Base for aircraft testing, Sgt. Mann was sent to "R" Depot and then on his way home to Canada.
For Flight Engineer Uden, he returned to the RAF for further postings

After the war, Roy Uden returned to civilian life and a family, he passed away on September 5th 2006