George Edwin Moore

F/S George Edwin Moore,
RCAF, Service Number R/197236

Born 28 Apr, 1920 in Shedden, Ontario, Canada.
Died on the night of 28/29 June, 1944, near Rheims, France.

(Pictured, from left to right are: Bill Croft, Clarence (Dinty)
Moore, Florence Wride (their cousin, and my mother-in-law),
William (Billy or Bill) Moore, and George Moore
William Frederick and Ida Bell (Wride)
Moore, George's parents.

George was born on his parents farm, just on the outskirts of Shedden, Ontario, in 1920. His father was William F. Moore (farmer), and his mother was Ida Bell Wride, daughter of John Wride (farmer) and Laura Dell. The Moore and Wride families were neighbours in the Shedden area. George had two older brothers, Clarence and William, who also served with the RCAF. Clarence, aka "Dinty", was a Leading Aircraftsman and William, aka "Billy", was a Pilot Officer said to have flown Lancasters although details of both are yet to be discovered. After leaving school George worked on the family farm for eight years.

Then on September 28, 1942 - George was medically examined and deemed fit for recruitment as aircrew in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
On October 26, 1942 - He enlisted at the RCAF Recruiting Centre in London, Ontario and on
February 2, 1943 - George reported for duty at the #2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba.
On March 28, 1943 he was transferred to No. 5 ITS in Belleville, Ontario.
Then on May 14, 1943 he was transferred to Montreal to earn his RCAF Certificate of Education at McGill University.
June 26, 1943 he then went to #9 B & G School in Quebec City for Air Gunner Training.
Finally on August 20, 1943 George was sent from Mont Joli, Quebec to Halifax, Nova Scotia for deployment overseas.
Somewhere before the end of August he arrived at Linton on Ouse in England where he was assigned to 408 Sqn. RCAF
and by November 15, 1943 George had been reassigned to the elite 405 Pathfinder Squadron at Gransden Lodge.

According to family sources "George enlisted in the air force on February 21, 1943. He was sent overseas in August 1943". Not completely accurate but close.

Gransden Lodge then and now.

April 1944 is the earliest operational reference that I have for George with 405 Squadron, RCAF (Path Finder Force), based at Gransden Lodge, Bedfordshire, approximately 10 miles west of Cambridge. 405 Squadron formed at Driffield, Yorkshire in April 1941, as the RCAF’s first bomber squadron, the unit was equipped with the Vickers Wellington and Handley Page Halifax. 405 flew the RCAF’s first bombing mission in June 1941, only 10 weeks after formation. For a short period, the unit was attached to Coastal Command flying anti-submarine missions over the Bay of Biscay and protecting convoys enroute to North Africa. Recognizing the effectiveness of this proud unit, orders were received moving 405 into 8 Group, to become a Pathfinder unit, leading and marking for bomber forces. This distinction is remembered through the fact that the unit crest shows the eagle facing to the sinister suggesting leadership. Motto: Ducimus - We Lead.

George was a Flight Sergeant and the mid-upper gunner on board Avro Lancaster Mk.III LQ-E, PA980.

Avro Lancaster Mk.III , LQ-E, s/n PA980, of 405 Sqn. (PFF), RCAF based at Gransden Lodge, Bedfordshire, England

A computer generated image of Avro Lancaster Mk.III , LQ-E.

On the night of 28/29 June, 1944 LQ-E did not return from its operation to attack the rail yards at Metz, France. PA980 departed Gransden Lodge at 2302 and while at 12,000 feet, in the vicinity of Rheims, it was attacked from behind by a night fighter. The surviving crew reported that the centre section of the bomber was ablaze as it dived earthward. Records show that communication was maintained with the tail gunner after the attack but that there was none with George who would have been closest to the damaged section of the airframe. The aircraft was abandoned by the five crew who survived, four of whom escaped and one of whom was captured. Witnesses saw the aircraft crash into a slough three kilometres south east of Rheims near the village of Cormontreuil. It is thought to have exploded on or near to the ground and was then consumed by fire. George and the tail gunner did not survive nor were their bodies ever found. Whatever remained of the aircraft was never recovered and is probably still buried in the marsh. According to his cousin, Florence Wride, this was to be George's last trip before returning to Canada.

The following is an excerpt from the 1944 publication "THE RCAF OVERSEAS (The fifth year)"


"The last foray on which Canadians had a large contingent was on a successful raid on Metz on the 28th, when every track in the south-east junction was cut and other important damage done. Though successful the attack was costly."

"Another most experienced crew was lost in F/O L. R. Stein, P/Os F. A. Smitton (pilot) and E. W. Stringham, FSs J. W. Shurvell and G. E. Moore and Sgts. J. M. Shaw and E. E. Thorn. Stringham is known to be a prisoner, while Shurvell, Stein and Smitton are safe."

The crew of PA980:

Pilot - P/O Frank. A. Smitten, RCAF, evaded capture
Flight Engineer - Sgt. Edgar E. Thorn, RAF, evaded capture
Navigator - P/O E. W. Stringham, RCAF, became a POW interned in Camp L3 (POW #6634)
Bomb Aimer - F/O Leonard R. Stein, RCAF, evaded capture
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner - F/S J. W. Shurvell, RCAF, evaded capture
Mid-Upper Gunner - F/S George Edwin Moore, RCAF, KIA
Rear Gunner - Sgt. John McDonald Shaw, RAF, KIA

Lancaster Mk.lll, LQ-E, s/n PA980, was a new aircraft and had been delivered to 405 Squadron on 14 June, 1944 and apparently lost on its first operation having only accumulated 16 hours of flying time.

The following is an excerpt from the "Royal Air Force, Bomber Command, Campaign Diary, June 1944"

28/29 June 1944 202 Halifaxes of 4 and No 6 Groups with 28 Pathfinder Lancasters attacked railway yards at Blainville and Metz. Both targets were hit. 20 aircraft were lost, 11 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 1 Lancaster from the Blainville raid and 7 Halifaxes of No 6 Group and 1 Lancaster from Metz. The combined loss rate was 8.7 per cent.

A 405 Squadron Lancaster overflying German rail yards

Gransden Lodge, England to Metz, France

Pathfinder Force (PFF) Jargon:

Finders - were aircraft tasked with dropping illuminating flares at critical points along the route to aid navigation and then across the target area.
Illuminators - were aircraft flying ahead of the main bomber force to drop markers or target indicators (TIs) onto the designated aiming point (AP).
Markers - were aircraft that would drop incendiaries onto the TIs just prior to the main force arriving.
Supporters - were aircraft distributed at intervals amongst the main bomber stream to remark or reinforce the original TIs as required.
Master Bomber - or Master of Ceremonies (MC) was an aircraft that circled the target area and co-ordinated the attack by issuing instructions to the Pathfinders and the main bomber force.
Target indicators were given names such as "Red Spots" or "Green Spots" etc.
Scarecrows - were thought to be German anti-aircraft shells that, after exploding, would produce debris that would look like a falling aircraft. This was thought to be a German tactic to scare enemy aircrews.

Motto "Ducimus" - "We lead"

405 (PFF) Squadron "Operations Record Book" shows the following which appear
to be the last operations in which George Edwin Moore participated:

Operations Summaries from the 405 Squadron "Operations Record Book" for 1944,

Province of Ontario
Registration of Death

F/S George Edwin Moore, RCAF is remembered:

  1. On panel 255 of the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor, England;
  2. In the Book of Remembrance - Second World War, Canada ; and
  3. On Canada's Bomber Command Memorial at the Nanton Lancaster
    Society Air Museum, Nanton, Alberta, Canada.
  4. By the 405 Squadrion Association

"When you go home tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow we gave our today"

"Where have all the flowers gone?" by Pete Seeger

Where have all the young men gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the young men gone? They're all in uniform.
Oh, when will you ever learn? Oh, when will you ever learn?