The Airmen's Stories - F/O C I R Arthur
Charles Ian Rose Arthur was born in Hendon, Middlesex on 4th June 1918. His father Major Charles L T Arthur was serving in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was on duty in England for the Canadian Red Cross at the time. The family returned to Canada where Arthur grew up, mostly in Fort Gary, Manitoba. He left for England to take up a short service commission in the RAF, sailing on 13th August 1938 in the Athenia.
He began his initial training at 13 E&RFTS White Waltham on 29th August and after a two week induction course at Uxbridge he went to 8 FTS Montrose on 12th November. The course completed, Arthur went to 3 AOS Aldergrove on 25th June 1939 as a staff pilot.
He joined 141 Squadron on 7th October, it was then being reformed at Turnhouse in the day fighter role. In April 1940 the squadron received its first Defiants and on 12th July it flew south to Biggin Hill. On the 19th, in a disastrous action off Dover, six aircraft and most of their crews were shot down.
141 was withdrawn and shortly afterwards returned to Scotland to begin training for night operations.
On 25th October 1940 Arthur went to Gatwick to join a squadron detachment which was operating from there at night. He was posted away to 242 Squadron at Coltishall on 12th December. Most of its pilots were Canadian and its CO was Douglas Bader. Arthur left 242 on 23rd May 1941 and joined 145 Squadron at Tangmere, as a Flight Commander. He destroyed a Me109 on 25th June and shared another on the 30th.
With his tour completed, Arthur went to CFS Upavon on 18th October 1941 for an instructor's course. He instructed at 5 (P) AFU Tern Hill from December 1941 to June 1942, when he moved to 7 (P)AFU Peterborough.
Arthur returned to operations on 2nd November 1942 with a posting to 411 (RCAF) Squadron at Digby as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant. He moved to 122 Squadron at Hornchurch on 6th January 1943 but the stay was a short one and he joined 81 Squadron at Tingley in North Africa on 1st March. Eight days later Arthur rejoined 242 Squadron, then at Souk-el-Khemis, as a Flight Commander.
On 1st June 1943 Arthur took command of 232 Squadron at Protville, Tunisia. Four days later it was posted to Ta Kali, Malta. On 29th June Arthur shared in the destruction of a Me109. On 17th July he damaged a Me109 off Sicily and on 12th August he damaged a Mc202. Arthur commanded 232 until 25th December 1943.
After a rest, on attachment to RAF Aleppo, Syria, Arthur was given command of 72 Squadron at Lago, Italy on 12th April 1944. He destroyed a Me109 on 7th May and shared another on the 16th.
Arthur was awarded the DFC (gazetted 9th June 1944).
He took the squadron to Sisteron, France on 25th August 1944 to cover the landings in Southern France. 72 returned to Italy on 2nd October and Arthur shared in the destruction of a Me410 on the 14th.
He was promoted to Acting Wing Commander on 21st November and posted to command 5 Refresher Flying Unit at Perugia.
He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 29th December 1944).
On 9th July 1945 Arthur was appointed Wing Leader 239 Mustang Wing at Lavariano. He returned to the UK and took command of 19 Squadron at Molesworth on 26th April 1946, holding the command until 5th August 1948.
Arthur left the RAF on 3rd November 1954 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander. He returned to live in Canada and ran a successful Water Taxi service for many years from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
Arthur died in Vancouver on 13th October 1998.
Above image and additional research courtesy of W Peter Allies.