420 Squadron City of London: “Snowy Owls”
6th Bomber Group Base at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire: In December 1943 No. 420 and No. 425 Squadrons (together with their service echelons, nos. 9420 and 9425 Service Echelon) were moved to Tholthorpe airfield from Dalton and Dishforthrespectively. These squadrons had returned from service with Wellingtons in North Africa, and it took them several weeks to work up on the newly acquired Halifax bombers, they were therefore unable to fly their first raids from Tholthorpe until mid-February 1944. No. 420 Squadron flew 160 operations from Tholthorpe airfield and lost 25 Halifaxes. No. 425 squadron flew 162 operations from Tholthorpe airfield and lost 28 Halifaxes. In all, 119 Halifax bombers were lost from Tholthorpe. In April and May 1945 nos. 420 and 425 Squadron converted to Avro Lancasters, which they took with them when they left for RCAF Debert, Nova Scotia, Canada in June 1945.
The station closed in June 1945.
Post-war Tholthorpe: In the 1980s the airfield was used for a short time for private flying. Within a decade, most of the buildings were abandoned and the runways became farm roads; the control tower has been turned into a family residence.
A monument of Canadian granite, and the avenue of oaks and maples between this village and the airfield, honor the fallen airmen who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force Squadrons and the citizens of the community who supported them.
Mentions in dispatches
The Last To “Go”
WILLIAM (BILL) JOHN BARTLETT Passed away peacefully surrounded by family at his home on September 11, 2013. Bill was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 24, 1924. When he was three, his parents (the late Sydney Bartlett and Pearl Bartlett) moved to Toronto to the Beach. Bill attended Williamson Road Public School and Danforth Technical School. After high school he joined the RCAF and completed a full tour serving with Number 6 Bomber Group, 420 Snowy Owl Squadron in a Halifax Bomber where he served as the Flight Engineer. He was the last surviving member of the 7-man crew. Bill worked for the Canadian National Railway and the former Metro Toronto Government. He had a love for music and upon retiring, over the next 25 years, produced over twenty benefit concerts, along with his first wife, Muriel Bartlett and his second wife Pat Bartlett, for various causes including Doctors Without Borders and Spina Bifida. Bill married the late Muriel Frances Bartlett (nee Robson) with whom he had three sons and is survived by his present wife Patricia Bartlett (nee Murray) and two of his three sons, Mark W. D. Bartlett and Paul A. S. Bartlett. His first son, John C. Bartlett predeceased in 1983. Bill always took a keen interest in family – whether it was introducing his sons to fishing, coaching baseball, attending paddling regattas, encouraging the pursuit of music or looking at the stars above. Bill’s love of family, music and dogs was forever present in the Beach area home since 1927. Family, friends and neighbors will sorely miss his wonderful smile and willingness to help anyone who needed it. The family would like to thank the area neighbors, for their kindness and support during a difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Doctors Without Borders. Condolences may be left at www.aftercare.org A celebration of life will be held at a date to be announced.