The Airmen's Stories - P/O E G Ford
Ernest George Ford was considered to be a Canadian citizen when the list of airmen's names was drawn up for inscribing on the London Monument and his name appears under Canada. However subsequent research indicates that his parents, William and Amanda Ford, arrived in Canada in 1908 from England and the 1911 census of Canada shows them to be residing in Saskatchewan running a hotel in the town of Scott. When they returned to England in 1915 their son Ernest was about 11 months old. Their onward destination was Holderness, Hull.
January 2020 -John Britten advises that the Canadian Virtual War Memorial shows that P/O Ernest Ford was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewen on 21st March 1914 and enlisted in the RAF on 1st November 1937 with number 81636.
So it is a moot point whether Ernest considered himself Canadian by birth or British by family and upbringing.
Pre-war Ernest, who worked for an engineering firm in Hull, joined the RAFVR in November 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot and learned to fly at the nearby Hedon airfield. He was called to full-time service on 1st September 1939 and completed his flying training.
He was commissioned in May 1940 and posted to 3 Squadron at Wick, Scotland. This squadron then moved to Kenley from where on 10th May 1940 it moved to Merville, France to help stem the German assault.
Records show that Ford made the following claims during this period:
12th May 1940 - Ju87 destroyed
14th May 1940 - 2 x Ju87 destroyed
19th May 1940 - Do17 destroyed
Returning to the UK he was one of the pilots that formed 232 Squadron when that unit was reformed from 'B' Flight of 3 Squadron at RAF Sumburgh on 17th July 1940 as a Hawker Hurricane unit. It remained in Scotland on defensive duties until April 1941, when it was earmarked for the Middle East.
Ford was not with 232 Squadron for long, being posted back to 3 Squadron on 10th September.
His subsequent movements are unclear but by 1942 he was a flying instructor in Canada. He was killed on 10th December 1942, the accident report stated:
On the 10th of December 1942 at 14:55 hours Harvard Mk. II s/n AJ759, belonging to No. 37 Service Flying Training School, crashed near R1 at Airdrie. It was a dual training flight. The instructor was Flight Lieutenant EG Ford. His pupil pilot was 1512542 LAC HN Hall.
The Harvard experienced an engine failure after take-off, stalled and spun in. The A.I.B. determined that the petrol cock had been turned off resulting in fuel starvation.
In the early days of the Spitfire many accidents occurred because there was enough residual fuel in the fuel system to permit start-up, taxi-out, engine test and take-off with the fuel master cock in the 'off' position. The engine would then stop from fuel starvation at a critical point. The answer had been to wire-lock the fuel cock in the 'on' position.
Perhaps it was possible to replicate this in the Harvard.
Ford and LAC Harry Nixon Hall are buried next to each other in Burnsland Cemetery, Calgary.
Photographs and the majority of the research courtesy of Ian Norris
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project