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Bazalgette, Ian Willoughby

Date of birth:
October 19th, 1918 (Calgary/Alberta, Canada)
Date of death:
August 4th, 1944 (Senantes, France)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Grave Senantes
Nationality:
Canadian (1931-present, Constitutional Monarchy)

Biography

Squadron Leader Bazalgette is buried at the Senantes Churchyard in Beauvais, France.

Promotions:
September 7th, 1940: 2nd Lieutenant;
January 24th, 1942: Pilot Officer on probation (emergency);
October 1st, 1942: Flying Officer on probation (war subs);
September 12th, 1943: Flight Lieutenant (war subs.);
?: Acting Squadron Leader.

Career:
January 24th, 1942: Transfer Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Flight Lieutenant
Unit:
No. 115 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
July 9th, 1943
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has at all times displayed the greatest keenness for operational flying. He has taken part in many sorties and attacked heavily defended targets such as Duisburg, Berlin, Essen and Turin. His gallantry and devotion to duty have at all times been exceptional and his record commands the respect of all of his squadron."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 635 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
August 17th, 1945
Victoria Cross (VC)
Action:
Citation:
"On 4th August, 1944, Squadron Leader Bazalgette was "master bomber" of a Pathfinder squadron detailed to mark an important target at Trossy St. Maximin for the main bomber force. When nearing the target his Lancaster came under heavy anti-aircraft fire. Both starboard engines were put out of action and serious fires broke out in the fuselage and the starboard main-plane. The bomb aimer was badly wounded. As the deputy "master bomber" had already been shot down, the success of the attack depended on Squadron Leader Bazalgette and this he knew. Despite the appalling conditions in his burning aircraft, he pressed on gallantly to the target, marking and bombing it accurately. That the attack was successful was due to his magnificent effort.
After the bombs had been dropped the Lancaster dived, practically out of control. By expert airmanship and great exertion Squadron Leader Bazalgette regained control. But the port inner engine then failed and the whole of the starboard main-plane became a mass of flames.
Squadron Leader Bazalgette fought bravely to bring his aircraft and crew to safety. The mid-upper gunner was overcome by fumes. Squadron Leader Bazalgette then ordered those of his crew who were able to leave by parachute to do so. He remained at the controls and attempted the almost hopeless task of landing the crippled and blazing aircraft in a last effort to save the wounded bomb aimer and helpless air gunner. With superb skill, and taking great care to avoid a small French village nearby, he brought the aircraft down safely. Unfortunately, it then exploded and this gallant officer and his two comrades perished.
His heroic sacrifice marked the-climax of a long career of operations against the enemy. He always chose the more dangerous and exacting roles. His courage and devotion to duty were beyond praise."
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Squadron Leader Bazalgette’s Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, Great Britain.

Sources

  • Photo 1: Tom MacNeill/Peter Bennett
  • Photo: Tom MacNeill
    - Peter Bennett (grave)
  • - Supplement to The London Gazette of 20th September 1940, Issue 34950, dated 23rd September 1940
    - Third Supplement to The London Gazette of 24th February 1942, Issue 35470, dated 27th February 1942
    - The London Gazette of 7th April 1942, Issue 35515
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 17th November 1942, Issue 35791, dated 20th November 1942
    - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 6th July 1943, Issue 36084, dated 9th July 1943
    - Third Supplement to The London Gazette of 9th November 1943, Issue 36245, dated 12th November 1943
    - Sixth Supplement to The london Gazette of 14th August 1945, Issue 37228, dated 17th August 1945
    - Victoria Cross Reference
    - The Register of the Victoria Cross - uitgegeven door This Engeland 1997 - ISBN 0906324270
    - CWGC