VEIRA – Basil Vernon Lancelot

[Images courtesy Carl Ryan; click on images to enlarge]

VEIRA, F/O Basil Vernon Lancelot (J10677) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.12 Squadron – KIA 28 april 1943.

Award effective 27 April 1943 as per London Gazette dated 20 June 1944 and AFRO 1660/44 dated 4 August 1944.  Born 4 April 1914 in Basseterre, St.Kitts, British West Indies; home in Montreal; enlisted there 25 June 1941.
Attended No.3 Initial Training School (graduated 6th in a class of 18 observer candidates, 13 September 1941), No.9 Air Observer School (graduated 7th in a class of 22, air and ground subjects, 3 January 1942), No.6 Bombing and Gunnery School (graduated 9th in a class of 27 on 14 February 1942, received Air Observer Badge that date), and No.2 Air Navigation School (graduated 16 March 1942 in a class of 89, having stood 3rd in ground subjects and first in air subjects).  Further trained at No.31 General Reconnaissance School, Charlottetown, 10 April to 14 June 1942 (graduated 14th in a class of 26; his performance described as “disappointing”).
Embarked for overseas, 16 June 1942; taken on strength of No.3 Personnel Reception Centre, Britain, 25 June 1942.  Posted to No.20 Operational Training Unit, 13 July 1942; posted to No.12 Squadron, 21 October 1942.
Ranks: Aircraftman, Second Class on enlistment, 25 June 1941; promoted to Leading Aircraftman, 28 September 1941; promoted to Sergeant, 14 February 1942; commissioned as Pilot Officer, 16 March 1942; promoted to Flying Officer, 1 October 1942.

[Images courtesy Carl Ryan; click on images to enlarge]

Killed in action 28/29 April 1943 on Lancaster GB408.  Particulars of Death Aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter, 29 April 1943 in vicinity of Leba (near Lauenburg, Germany).  Body washed ashore and buried in Leba.  Lancaster ED408; Crew were 1315743 Sergeant G. Elsworthy (pilot), J10677 F/O B.V.L. Veira (navigator), 1311073 FS W.E. Freeman (WAG), 143857 P/O J.J.L. Haddow (bomb aimer), 621910 Sergeant E.A. Pye (flight engineer), 989136 Sergeant C.W.S. Downes (mid-upper gunner) and 930059 Sergeant R.C. Grant (rear gunner).  No.12 Squadron.
Aircraft carrying four 1,500 pound sea mines when it took off.  On 12 December 1944 his widow attended an investiture at Government House, Ottawa, to receive her husband’s Distinguished Flying Cross.  The Department of National Defence provided her with a rail ticket and $ 10.00 expenses.  It is interesting to note that this investiture was attended by 28 other next-of-kin receiving awards on behalf of deceased family; the list of those attending includes not only Mrs. B.V.L. Veira but also Mrs. D.E. Hornell (picking up her husband’s posthumous Victoria Cross).  This information is not on his personal file but is found in RCAF file 305-4-3 “Honours and Awards – Fifth Investiture at Government House”, National Archives of Canada, RG.24 E.1, Volume 3350.Award presented to next of kin, 12 December 1944.

“This officer has participated in numerous operational sorties which have included missions to Hamburg, Berlin, the Ruhr, Stettin and Spezia. His navigation has always been of a very high standard and he has a fine record of achievement.  His determination and confidence while on operations has always been an inspiration to the squadron while his gallantry and devotion to duty has done much to create a high morale among his fellow navigators.”
[Source: Air Force Association of Canada; courtesy Jerome Lee]

Below: copies from Basil Veira’s log book

Below: Yearly reunion at what was RAF Base Wickenby where #12 Squadron was stationed.

[Images courtesy Carl Ryan; click on images to enlarge]

10 additions to “VEIRA – Basil Vernon Lancelot”

  1. Patrick Ryan adds:

    Verira – Basil Vernon Lancelot
    Dear All,
    I am Patrick Ryan a former Liat Pilot and acting Operations Manager. It is great to see tribute to Caribbean Pilots and to Basil Verira who would be a cousin of mine.
    I have photo copies of his Log book where it is recorded on his last mission missing in action.
    I just had a brief look at the site and will spend lots of my lesuire time on it.
    Great Job

  2. Lorraine Conklin adds:

    Hello, My name is Lorraine Conklin, My grandmother was Carmen Veira who was Basil’s sister, my great grandparents was Bridget Veira and Kenneth Veira, Basil’s parents. I have been researching our family tree for years, what a great tribute to my great Uncle Basil, my mom use to tell me stories about him..
    Thank you so much

  3. Lorraine Conklin adds:

    Please contact me, also I am on Facebook.

  4. Lorraine Conklin adds:

    Hello Patrick,
    Would you be related to my Great Great Grandparents Patick and Virginia Ryan ? Who were my Great grandmother Bridgets parents?

  5. Hazel Brookes adds:

    Thought that you all would like to know that at present (June 2011) I am mounting an exhibition part of which was initially conceived by Campbell Evelyn and Helen Skerritt, his sister years ago. It highlights contributions anyone made for the defence of St. Kitts/Nevis from 1623 (Kalinago) to present 2011; part includes those persons who participated in WWI and WWII, and of course Veiras and Ryans. Please visit the National Park when you are next in St. Kitts or our website

  6. Elise adds:

    Hazel dear, it’s Elise, we met when I was in St-Kitts. I just returned from Cherilyn’s funeral and I was looking for you. Carl Ryan contacted me telling me Brimstone Hill was looking for pictures before i knew it I was back in St-Kitts went to Brimstone Hill and they said that they didn’t know anything about it.
    Please contact me, I found your card the other day as I was cleaning up so I was going to e-mail you anyway. Here is my e-mail. Hope that your keeping well Hazel.

    Love Elise.

  7. Stephen Haddow adds:

    Hi Patrick
    I am the son of James Love Haddow the bomb aimer on your cousins crew. Just to clarify my Father was from Bailleston Lanarkshire and was a Pilot Officer. I have also been in contact with the brother of George Elsworthy who was the pilot. My wife and I will be visiting Marlbork commonwealth cemetery where the three of them rest in the spring.
    Kind regards, Steen Haddow.

  8. Anna uddenberg trotman adds:

    My uncle Edwin Rodrigues was in that war also and was a prison in Japan for 3years.. I have pictures also and infor.

  9. Joe Walsh adds:

    My mother in law now 94 lived in st kitts 1950-55
    – her hubby Frank Gaw worked in Barclays Bank
    Best friends were Patrick & Sybyl Ryan who lived
    beside them & regularly got pissed & sang ‘I belong
    to Glasgow’ – they left – ryan was a ww2 pilot
    – would love more details to fill in the gaps !

    Arvard Johnson (younger than Ryan) was her(Hilda Gaw
    nee Milner from Ireland) bestman ; also Chris Walwyn
    Johnson later went missing ferrying lobsters over
    Bermuda Triangle – never found !

    Joe Walsh

  10. Patrick A Ryan adds:

    Hi Joe/Steve et al,

    Dear All thanks for all the comments made above as I can remember most of the players.
    If you want you can contact me direct

    Best regards

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