Ottawa born F/O Byford came to 419 in early October 1943, his crew which first shows up
listed together in 419's Operations Log on an mission to Stuttgart on the
night of 26/27 November 1943 flying in Halifax JD456.
The crew which stayed together
until May 1944 consisted:
F/O Byford Pilot
F/O Daly Navigator
Sgt. Prentice Bomb Aimer
Sgt. Tenny Wireless Op.
Sgt. Holder F/E
Sgt. Fraser Air Gunner
Sgt. Darnley Rear Gunner
(Sgt. Tenny suffered what was thought to be the "Bends" on one mission on May 24th 1944
and the aircraft returned home, he was replaced for one sortie)
The two gunners sometimes switched positions, going back to the Combat Reports Sgt., later P/O Fraser DSM,
is mentioned as Rear Gunner on three of these Reports.
Halifax JP204 while entering the target area the Byford crew was attacked by a single
Ju88. The Rear Gunner, Sgt. Fraser sighted the attacker gave the order for corkscrew starboard and opened
up with a short burst. No damage to JP204 or the enemy fighter.
While entering the target area, Leipzig, VR-E was attacked by either an Me210 or
a JU88. The Monica system gave the warning and the Rear Gunner sighted at 1,000 dead below. Mid-Upper gunner
Sgt. Darnley, kept an eye on the enemy aircraft. Rear Gunner ordered corkscrew to starboard. Fraser and enemy fighter opened fire at
opened fire at 500 yards. The Rear Gunner's short burst was caused by a stoppage of the four barrels of his guns.
The gun fire damaged the hydraulic motor, holed the port tail, flaps were shot away. More holes were found in the
fuselage and port wing. Fraser was injured when he hit his head on the guns track,
while leaving the target area, Sterkade, Lancaster KB738 was attacked by a FW190. The enemy fighter was
sighted by the Mid-Upper gunner at 800 yards at starboard quarter level. Mid- Upper Gunner opened fire, the Lancaster
corkscrewed starboard at 100 yards broke off at 100 yards without opening fire.
F/O Byford's 20th sortie on the night of February 19/20, was the one for which we was awarded his DFC. As seen above
this was not his first time under attack
and in this instance the night fighters had shot part of the hydraulics system up, produced a large hole in
the wing as well a section of the port rudder was missing.
Determined to complete the mission he carried on to the target.
The aircraft was again attacked on the return trip and through skilful work of the crew working with
him to direct the manoeuvres
that in the end shook off their attacker and allowed them to return safely to base. I was not able to find a Combat Report
on this last attack.
He was later awarded a Bar to his DFC for his determination and skill among other qualities.
He flew another 15 operations mostly with the same crew members before being posted in July 1944 to
1662 CU as S/L.
He remained in the post war RCAF and as W/C Byford was posted to the Middle East in 1956 the time of the