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]

WOOD – Thomas Reader Russel

67642 – Thomas Reader Russel Wood – F/O – Pilot – 115 sqn – Welington – KIA 3.6.1942

WOOD Initials: T R Nationality: British Guiana Rank: Pilot Officer Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force

Sunday Guardian 14 June 1942:- PO T R Wood, son of the Hon’ble B R Wood of British Guiana, reported missing after Bremen raid on night June 4/5 1942. Sometime during Oct/Nov last year (1941), he injured his shoulder when forced to bail out after petrol supply ran out.

Possibly this Officer: WOOD, THOMAS READER RUSSELL Initials: T R R Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Flying Officer (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 115 Sqdn.Date of Death: 03/06/1942 Service No: 67642 Additional information: Wellington X3635 Airborne 2300 3 Jun 42 from Marham. Cause of loss and crash-site are not established. Four of those killed are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, but F/O Wood is buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. F/O T.R.R.Wood KIA Sgt J.W.Chapman RNZAF KIA Sgt L.J.Howe KIA Sgt M.J.M.Davies KIA P/O H.B.Pearce PoW Sgt B.F.Wischusen KIA P/O H.B.Pearce was interned in Camp L3, PoW No.556.Notice of award of DFC Gazetted London Gazeette 36108_3383/4 on 23 Jul 1943. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 26. G. 12.Cemetery: BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY

WELCH – Geoffrey A.

1386903 – Geoffrey A. Welch – F/S – Pilot – 38 sqn – Wellington – KIA 12.01.1943

WELCH, GEOFFREY A. Initials: G A Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 38 Sqdn.Date of Death: 12/01/1943 Service No: 1386903 Additional information: Reported as Died on Active Service West India Circular issue May 1943 – from Bermuda. RAFCommands: Coastal Command, Wellington Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 7. E. 28.Cemetery: BENGHAZI WAR CEMETERY,LIBYA.

WAY – Kenneth Andrew

1389078 – Kenneth Andrew Way – F/S -Pilot – 149 Sqn – Stirling III – KIA 4.4.1943

WAY, KENNETH ANDREW Initials: K A  Rank: Sergeant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 149 Sqdn. Date of Death: 04/04/1943 Service No: 1389078 Additional information: Of British Guiana. Stirling III R9327 OJ-M Op. Kiel Airborne 2039 4 Apr 43 from Lakenheath. Cause of loss not established. Crashed 2257 at Obbekaer, 7 km ENE of Ribe, Denmark. All are buried in Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery.Sgt K.A.Way KIA Sgt N.MacLeod KIA Sgt J.Palmer KIA Sgt R.G.Woodfield KIA Sgt R.P.Bilham KIA Sgt E.G.King KIA Sgt W.E.Norman KIA Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: AIII. 7. 8. Cemetery: ESBJERG (FOURFELT) CEMETERY,DENMARK

ABBOTT – Randolph T.

1382581 – Randolph T.  ABBOTT – St. Vincent
F/S – 429 Sq RAF Halifax LK995  AL-C

From St Vincent, but parents & 2 sisters live in Trinidad(Mr & Mrs C Abbott of Eastern Main Road, Barataria, Trinidad). He worked in Aruba but left on his own to England to join the RAF. Enlisted at Euston on or after Aug 1940.
429 Sqn Halifax LK995  AL-C , RAF Leeming Airborne 2327hrs 25 Nov 43 from Leeming. Shot down by a night-fighter from 17,500 feet S of Namur, Belgium. A fire broke out in the bomb bay and the order to abandon was given. It is believed that F/S Davis had been killed in the original attack. He is buried in Hotton War Cemetery, possibly being brought here from Florennes.
WO2 Smith’s DFM was Gazetted 27Jul43. WO2 D.McM.Smith DFM RCAF PoW Sgt J.A.Renton PoW F/O J.J.Thurmeier RCAF Evd WO2 D.R.Nelson RCAF PoW F/S R.T.Abbott PoW F/O M.Rabinovich RCAF PoW F/S R.H.Davis RCAF KIA F/S Abbott was interned in Camps L6/L4, PoW No.2981 with WO2 D.R.Nelson, PoW No.2977 and WO2 D.M.Smith, PoW No.2982. DFM Gazetted 27Jul43. F/O M.Rabinovitch initially evaded untilcaptured in Brussels 10Feb44. Spent time in St.Gilles Prison before internment in Camp L3, PoW No.3614. Sgt J.A.Renton in Camps L6/357, PoW No.43185.

[Courtesy Jerome Lee, CMHA]



[Source: Caribbean Roll of Honour]


COOK – Francis Stewart Crichton

COOK, FRANCIS STEWART CRICHTON Initials: F S C Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 103 Sqdn. Date of Death: 26/02/1943 Service No: 1382496 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Coll. grave 4. C. 2-20. Cemetery: RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY.

Reported as F S G Cook from Jamaica, MIA in one-liner carried in Trinidad Guardian 2 July 1943, info from West India Circular of May 1943

SAWYER – John Patrick Anthony

PO    Sawyers    J

Reported as KIA but no entry found on CWGC. Trinidad Guardian 12 Mar 1942 quoting 22nd List of West India Committee Circular, listed as KIA, RAF, Bahamas. Possibly POW?


207 Squadron (Sawyer, not Sawyers)

[Source: Safarikovi]

LOTHIAN – Thomas James

Aircrew  PO  Thomas James,  LOTHIAN
Service No: J92380  Service: RCAF
Trade/Branch:   Air Gnr Squadron(s): 622 Sqn
Station/Unit/Ship: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Group: 3     Command:   Bomber
Nationality: Bahamas   Disposal:   KIA   Age  26  yrs   Date Died:    12 Feb 1945
Aircraft 3: Lancaster  GI-?
Bob Baxter’s Bomber Command has no Lancaster Raids for 10-12 Feb 1945
Buried At: Brookwood Military Cemetery
Grave/Memorial : 56.H.3
Next of Kin: Son of Albert J. Lothian and Mary H. Lothian, of Fort Charlotte Heights, Nassau, Bahamas.

[Source(s): CWGC – courtesy Jerome Lee]

UPGRADE to Thomas James Lothian J 92380, he died when he accidently fell from a window of 6th floor of Nell Gwynne House in London whilst on leave awaiting repatriation after completing a tour of operations

[Source: accessed 05/04/2021]

Thomas James Lothian RCAF (2)


TJ Lothian







[Pictures from]



LIGHTBOURN – Warren Maurice

Aircrew  Flt Lt  Warren Maurice,  LIGHTBOURN
Service No: 119573  Service: RAFVR
Trade/Branch:   Pilot Squadron(s): 610 Sqn
Station/Unit/Ship: B.78 Eindhoven
Group: 127 Wing     Command:   2TAF
Nationality: Bahamas Disposal:   KIA   Age  25  yrs   Date Died:    14 Feb 1945
Aircraft 1: Spitfire XIV DW-?
was at Bolt Head in July 1943. He was killed on 14th February 1945 aged 25. Destroyed V2 Flying Bomb. Flew as No 2 to Freddie Crewe. Lightbourn and Freddie Crewe were Squadron representatives at wedding of Sousse Venesoen in Anglesey. Flew from Bolt Head in Tiger Moth on 1st August returning to Bolt Head on 2nd. Winds so strong that trains were overtaking the Tiger on return journey. On 14 Feb 1945, a 610 Sqn pilot downed a Me 262.

Buried At: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery
Grave/Memorial : 1.A.15
Next of Kin: Son of Maurice S. and Ida L. Lightbourn, of Nassau, Bahamas.

[Source(s): CWGC;, rafcommands – courtesy Jerome Lee]

Correction: Probably not a V2 destroyed, but a V1 (June 12th, 1944)

[Source: Safarikovi]


Pictures below taken from

[Lads going to WWII. Front L-R: Hartis Thompson and Philip Farrington.
Back: L-R Garth Johnson, George Moseley, and Warren Lightbourn. Source: Bahamas Handbook]


Five recruits from the Bahamaswarren-lightbourne

warren-lightbourn (cropped)

WAIGHT – Cassian Henry

1396398 – C.H. Waight – British Honduras – attested 16.9.41 – Ach/W/Op.Air
172841 – P/O – commissioned 3.2.44

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

F/S – Henry Cassian Waight – British Honduras (Belize), born 1912

Bomb Aimer on Lancaster DV 267, 101 Squadron, SR-K
KIA 19/20-2-44 on raid to Leipzig

This aircraft was one of 109 from an order for 200 from Metropolitan Vickers built as Lancaster BIII with Merlin 28 engines and delivered between May and November 1943

Pilot: W/O LAURENS John  171908 DFM
Buried in Leek (Tolbert) Protestant Cemetery, Row K Grave 2

Pilot2: Sgt KIBBLE W A G
POW – Prisoner No 3848 at Stalag Kopernikus

Engineer: F/Sgt BURTON  L
POW – Prisoner No 3843 at Stalag Kopernikus

Navigator: Sgt AITKEN R N
POW – Prisoner No 609 at Stalag Luft Bankau – Kreulberg

B/Aim: Sgt WAIGHT Cassian Henry – 172841
Buried in Noordijk Protestant Cemetery. Row 27 Grave 10

POW – Prisoner No 698 at Stalag Luft Bankau – Kreulberg

POW – Prisoner 1902 at Stalag Kopernikus

AG: Sgt BOLT William Frederick Donald 1587851
Buried in Leek (Tolbert) Protestant Cemetery, Row K Grave 1

Took off from Ludford Magna at 23:38. Crashed near Tolbert, 17 km WSW of Groningen, Holland. A report claims that Sgt Waight died from a broken neck, his body was discovered at Noordijk.

W/O Laurens immediate DFM was gazetted on 25/01/44

[Source: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Volume 5 1944 by W R Chorley]

In other source Listed as P/O, Wop/AG


















[Source: Unknown publication, courtesy Nadia Cattouse via Audrey Dewjee]

Cassian Henry Waight: Remembrance Day in Noordwijk (the Netherlands)

A moving report of the Dutch Rememberance Day (May 4th) in the town of Noordwijk. The yearly commemoration includes a memorial service which honours Cassian Henry Waight and all the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. The local people lay flowers at the grave of Mr. Waight and stand in silence as The Last Post is played.

[Movie by Idse van der Donk aka soopy movie on YouTube]


The Raid on Leipzig, 19/20 February 1944

Leipzig: 700.000 inhabitants, 5th biggest city of Germany, 12 aircraft factories, 8 machine and weapons factories, other war-related industries, including production of textiles and synthetic oil. Also one of the most important railway hubs of Central Germany.

Cassian Waight route to Leipzig - bare2









[Route to/from Leipzig and diversionary attack on Berlin, 19/20 February 1944]


Among the attack force were 21 Lancasters of 101 Squadron. This unit was one of Britain’s special assets in the so-called ‘war of the airwaves’. It flew special Lancasters with a crew of eight, the extra man speaking German fluently. These ‘specials’ operated a receiver and a powerful transmitter. After picking up a German radio-communication between a ground-station and fighters in the air, the ‘special operator’ interfered and created confusion by broadcasting false information about the route of the attackers. These Lancasters also performed regular bombing missions. But since they were breaking radio-silence all the time, the were more exposed and likely to draw German attack-fighters. This squadron needed very good gunners.

One of the Lancasters of 101 Squadron did not return to their base Ludford Magna that night and came down in the northern part of the Netherlands. This aircraft, Lancaster DV267 ‘K for King’ had taken off at 23:38 with the usual crew of eight. At the base they were known as the ‘League of Nations Crew’, because they represented multiple nations.

Cassian Waight+crew

[The crew of Lancaster DV267 SR-K (K for King, 101 Squadron), known als ‘The League of Nations Crew’, ready to go on a mission. Cass Waight on the right. Picture taken at Ludford Magna]


The captain, Pilot Officer John Laurens DFM, 26 years old, tall, well-built and a native of Cape Town, South-Africa, was a peculiar mix of a practical joker and a serious human. After leaving school he went to sea. 18 Months later he went to England and joined the Grenadier Guards, where he served until he was wounded in Dunkirk in 1940. Then he applied for transfer to the RAF and was sent to Canada for his training. He received his ‘wings’ in 1943 and ended up at the helm of a heavy Lancaster on its way to Leipzig, his 20th mission.

Next to the skipper was the position of the 22 years old Flight Sergeant Leslie – ‘Crash’ to his friends – Burton, the navigator. A tall, quiet lad from Calverley in Yorkshire. He was one of the original crewmembers and also flew his 20th mission.

Sergeant Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Aitken, the blond bomb-aimer, came from Oldfield; he stood in for French-Canadian Sergeant Jacques Marchand, who had reported ill, and had flown only one mission with the crew of ‘K for King’.

Sergeant William Alexander George Kibble, the mechanic, was English as well. He came from Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The radio-operator, Pilot Officer Cassian Henry Waight, came from Belize, British-Honduras.

The mid-upper gunner was Sergeant William Frederick Donald Bolt and Sergeant Albert Edward Royston from Darfield was the tail-gunner.

The eighth crew-member was Sergeant James Arthur ‘Jim’ Davies, the ‘Special’. A tall, slim and gifted bloke with a boyish face from Wales. He was also new in the crew and made his second operational flight that night. Concentrated he sat bent over his most secret apparatus, known to the few as the A.B.C. or ‘Air Borne Cigar’ and soon found himself talking to a German fighter-guiding officer on the ground.

On their way to Leipzig they were attacked near Oldenburg. Suddenly they heard a drum-roll like sound and the sky lit up by flames. When they noticed that the fuel tank in the port wing was on fire, they realised they had to return to base. They dropped their bombs and headed west. Burning parts of the wing fell of and they obviously weren’t going to make it to England, so they hoped they could ditch the plane in sea and escape in their dinghy. Not an inviting prospect in the cold of a Winter’s night. The fire was spreading however and Captain Laurens ordered the men to bail by parachute. Royston and Bolt had to use an axe to open the rear escape door, keeping Davies waiting to jump. Bolt did not survive the jump. Up front Aitken and Kibble struggled to open the little forward escape hatch. Burton helped the pilot to put on his parachute before attaching his own. He noticed Waight was not wearing his harness and ordered him to put it on, but couldn’t tell if the radio-operator heard him.

At that moment the port wing broke off causing the plane to spin and Burton fell on top of the two men in the front. In Burton’s own words: “When the wing broke off I had no hope of survival. I must have fallen into the narrow passage to the nose of the bomber. The front must have broken off from the fuselage, because I fell free from the airplane. For a brief moment I saw Cass Waight in the light of the flames, probably a meter or so away from me but he did not wear his parachute gear. I have never forgotten. We had had a pretty good time together, as far as that was possible in those days.”

Burton survived his fall and was rejoined with his comrade Kibble in the home of a Dutch family. Three other crew-members survived as well. Jim Davies and Ronnie Aitken were hidden by Dutch people, but Albert Royston was handed over to the police and arrested. Burton was later arrested in The Hague and ended up in a POW camp. Three men died that night: Don Bolt, Cass Waight and Captain Jack Laurens who tried to keep the Lancaster under control till the end.

Extraordinarily and unexplicable when Waight’s body was found near Noordwijk (more that 100 km to the southwest of his crashed Lancaster) his opened parachute was there right next to him.

[Source: Gevleugeld Verleden, Ab A. Jansen (a documentary about ±200 shot-down RAF airplanes and their crews above Holland), ISBN 90 235 8099 0; Read the original pages here: Cassian Waight – Gevleugeld Verleden Ab Jansen (in Dutch)]










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