Chadburn, Lloyd Vernon “Chad”, born 21-08-1919 in Montreal, Quebec . He later moving with his parents to Oshawa, Ontario as an infant. He grew up there and in Aurora. He worked as a bank clerk at the Bank of Toronto and as a salesman for the Red Rose Tea Company.
Chadburn applied to enlist in both the Army and Navy in 1939, but was turned down both times. After a spell working for General Motors and with the Bank of Toronto, he was accepted by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as an Air Gunner in April 1940, but re-mastered as a Pilot. He graduated from the Number 2 Flight Training School in Ottawa on 09-10-1940 as a Pilot Officer.
In December 1940 Chadburn was posted to Number 112 (Army Cooperation) Squadron flying Hawker Hurricanes and made his first operational flight in March 1941. He was posted to the United Kingdom in 1941, and joined 412 Squadron (RCAF) in June 1941, moving to 19 Squadron (RAF) in September.
In February 1942 Chadburn was posted to Number 416 (RCAF) Squadron in Peterhead, Scotland as a Flight Lieutenant. Days later he took over command of the squadron, becoming the first graduate of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to lead a Fighter Command squadron. He was also the youngest Squadron Leader in the RCAF at the age of 21.
Promoted to squadron leader, Chadburn and 416 Squadron flew defensive missions over Dieppe on 19-08-1942, covering the Canadian and Allied raid and claiming his first air victories. He was then awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After a period of leave in Canada, he was posted to No. 402 Squadron and then No. 403 Squadron, prior to his promotion to Wing Commander for the RAF Digby Wing in June 1943. In May 1945 control of the station was handed back by the Canadians and it again became RAF Digby, although the new station crest showed the autumn gold maple leaf to permanently acknowledge its history as a Canadian facility for three years. By the time the war in Europe ended on 08-05-1945, RAF Digby had been the wartime home to 30 RAF squadrons, 13 Canadian squadrons, 4 Polish squadrons, 2 Belgian squadrons and 1 Czech squadron. Those airmen had flown Hurricane, Spitfire, Defiant, Blenheim, Beaufighter, Mosquito, Mustang, Wellington, Oxford and Anson aircraft. The station had also hosted the full range of visiting RAF heavy bombers and their crews, as well as no fewer than 30 USAAF B-17Gs on a foggy night in November 1944. An early war-time photo of Chad – no “Gongs” This is an unusual shot of Chadburn – he’s not smiling He led the Wing in flying escort to American bombers and the RAF medium bombers of No. 2 Group. He was supposedly dubbed The Angel for his escort would assure the bomber crews a safe passage to and from the target. On 03-11-1943 the Wing claimed seven Bf 109’s of II./JG 3 (five were actually lost), with Chadburn claiming two personally.
By the time Chadburn left the Digby Wing in December he had received the Distinguished Service Order twice,
the first RCAF officer to be so decorated and was one of only four in history. In early 1944, he was appointed Wing Commander, Fighter Operations at RCAF Group Headquarters Overseas. He was sent back to Canada for a War Bond drive in the spring and upon his return was made wing commander of Number 127 Wing RCAF , comprising 403, 421 and 416 Squadrons.
Death and burial ground of Chadburn, Lloyd Vernon “Chad”
On 13-06-1944, Chadburn, was killed in a mid-air collision with another Spitfire pilot while taking off from a landing strip in Normandy. He was 24 years of age.
Chadburn’s record includes five enemy airplanes destroyed (three shared), five aircraft probably destroyed (one shared), seven aircraft damaged (two shared), two E-boats destroyed, and another two damaged, as well as a destroyer damaged.
Chadburn was made a Chevalier (knight) in the French Légion d’honneur and awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. Only three RCAF officers received the Légion d’honneur, and Chadburn was the only one to receive the Croix de Guerre. His name is listed on the memorial in Northern Secondary school in Toronto Ontario which he attended.
“Chad” Lloyd Vernon Chadburn, is buried on the Ranville War Cemetery, Ranville, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France. Plot, V. F. 2.