Collection Allan Todd
Just a kid who wanted to be a pilot…
Allan was wartime member of 427 Lion Squadron based at Leeming and as a Navigator carried out 31 sorties on German targets between August and December1944. Since the first “Gathering of the Lions” at Petawawa in 1976, he has attended almost all of the Squadron anniversaries. He is a long term member of the 427 Squadron Association and is presently its representative for the Ottawa area.
Allan was born of Scottish stock in 1922, in the village of Merrickville in Eastern Ontario. After completing High School, he attended Ottawa Technical School. In May 1940 he was hired by Albright and Wilson in Buckingham, Quebec as a Laboratory Technician.
In 1942, he enlisted in the RCAF, going first to No. 1 Manning Depot at Toronto and then doing Tarmac Duty at Uplands. Following this he was posted to No. 5 I.T.S. at Belleville, selected to become a Navigator and sent to No. 1 A.O.S. at Brampton. In October, 1943, he received his Navigator’s Wing and his commission as a Pilot Officer.
In November 1943, he sailed for England aboard the MV Mauretania, going first to the holding Unit at Bournemouth, followed by a Commando Course at Sidmouth. Next he was posted to No. 10 AFU at Dumfries, Scotland, then No. 22 OTU at Wellsbourne, No. 1666 HCU at Wombleton and then 427 Squadron at Leeming.
Flying the Halifax Mk III, he and his crew carried out 31 sorties on German targets in France, Germany, Holland and Norway. Most of these were at night. Damage in combat was limited to numerous shrapnel holes to the fuselage. One stressful event occurred while returning from a mine laying sortie early Christmas morning, near Oslo. Due to weather the aircraft involved in this op were diverted to RAF Fighter Base at Peterhead in Northern Scotland. As F/L Earl Mayo made his approach from over the sea, with flaps and wheels down, the lights on the runway were abruptly turned off. Unable to see, Earl had to abandon the approach and circle until communications were restored and the lights switched on. After landing, Earl had a “hot discussion” with the tower person on duty.
In early December, 1944 while on a week leave in Edinburgh Allan met a very attractive girl, Irene Purves. With a tour completed and indefinite leave granted, an intense courtship evolved. Irene and Allan were married on January 20, 1945 at the Charles Wesleyan Church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In March, 1945 Allan received his discharge, and returned to work for Albright and Wilson. Over the years, he was Assistant Works Chemist, Works Chemist and Supervisor of Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the Professional Chemists of Quebec, the Chemical Institute of Canada and served several years as a member of the Environmental Committee of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association.
Source of the text 427 Squadron Association