The Airmen's Stories - P/O W C Connell
William Charles Connell was born in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada on 6th November 1917. He joined the RCAF on 1st October 1939 and began his training at Vancouver Aero Club in November, continued at Trenton from February 1940 and at Camp Borden from March.
He arrived in England and joined 112 (RCAF) Squadron, a holding unit, on 8th September 1940. He went to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on the 21st to convert to Hurricanes. Connell joined 32 Squadron at Acklington on 6th October and was posted on to No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron on 1st December 1940.
In February 1942 he was posted to Malta, flying there in a Sunderland on the 21st. He joined 126 Squadron at Ta Kali as a Flight Commander.
When the first Spitfires arrived on 8th March, Connell joined 249 Squadron, also at Ta Kali. On the 11th he damaged a Me109, on the 15th he probably destroyed a Ju88 and on the 26th he destroyed a Ju88 and damaged another.
On 21st April 1942 Connell and six other pilots were flown to El Ballah, Egypt in a Wellington to ferry back new Hurricanes for 229 Squadron. They arrived back in Malta on 5th May.
Connell damaged a Ju88 on 7th May but on the 8th he was wounded by a Ju87 gunner and was evacuated and repatriated to Canada.
After serving with 135 (RCAF) and 133 (RCAF) Squadrons he was posted back to the UK in May 1944.
After a refresher course at 61 OTU Rednal and further training at No. 1 Tactical Exercise Unit, Connell joined 401 (RCAF) Squadron in 83 Group, 2nd TAF. On 21st November 1944 he shared a Fw190, on 25th December he shared a Me109 and on 23rd January 1945 he shared in destroying an Ar234.
Connell was posted away from 401 on 9th April 1945 and returned to Canada in May.
He was released from the RCAF on 16th June 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in 1994.