Ronald Oldham

RCAF   F/L   -   DFC,  Croix de Guerre with Palm (Fr)

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OLDHAM, F/L Ronald (J6141) - Distinguished Flying Cross - Fighter Experimental Flight, Fighter Command
Award effective 9 October 1945 as per London Gazette dated 19 October 1945 &
AFRO 1822/45 dated 7 December 1945

This officer commenced operational flying in December 1941. On one occasion he was wounded in the foot by anti-aircraft fire. He has destroyed five enemy aircraft and damaged a further six, also four trains and numerous mechanical transport vehicles. Flight Lieutenant Oldham has successfully attacked many enemy airfields, frequently despite accurate anti-aircraft fire. At all times this officer has proved to be a navigator of outstanding ability.


Born 11 June 1914 in Calgary
Home in Vancouver
Educated at University of British Columbia (BA, 1938)
General officer worker, 1934-1935
school teacher, 1939-1940
Joined the Canadian Army
(2nd Bat. Can. Scottish Rgmt. Victoria), 16 July 1940
Took his discharge to joined RCAF.
Enlisted in RCAF, Vancouver, 10 October 1940.
First went to
No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto (14 - 31 October 1940) &
Technical Training School, St.Thomas
(31 October to 22 December 1940)
Trained at
No.1 ITS (graduated 27 January 1941)
No.1 AOS (graduated 27 April 1941)
No.1 BGS (graduated 7 June 1941)
(Commissioned 8 July 1941) &
No.1 ANS (graduated 28 July 1941
Emplaned for the UK, 1 August 1941
Further trained at
No.17 OTU, 16 August to 26 November 1941
With No.226 Squadron, 26 November 1941 to 9 May 1942
Hospitalized 30 April 1942 with wound in right foot
On strength of
RAF Station Swanton Morley, 9 May to 8 September 1942
(Flying Officer 8 July 1942)
No.226 Squadron, 8 - 21 September 1942
No.17 OTU, 21 September to 27 November 1942
Station Swanton Morley, 27 November 1942 to 23 May 1943
No.342 Squadron, 23 May to 11 November 1943
(Flight Lieutenant 8 July 1943)
No.13 OTU, 11 Nov. 1943 to 24 Feb. 1945 (OC Navigation)
To Fighter Experimental Flight (Ford)
(24 February to 17 July 1945)
Where he flew with Bob Kipp
Repatriated to Canada, 8 August 1945
Released 5 October 1945
Medal presented 29 January 1947
Died in Victoria, 18 June 1983
(as per Legion Magazine of September 1983)


The following is from an email :

"Looking through military sites on the Internet yesterday, I found the one about my late friend and mentor, Ronald Oldham, and noted that you don’t have a photo of him.
I don’t have one from the War days, but I’ve attached a photo of Ron (seen above) as I knew him back in the 1960s and 1970s. I hope you can use it.

Ronald Oldham joined the faculty of Royal Roads Military College as Assistant Professor of French. He rose through the ranks to become Professor, Head of the French Department, and eventually Dean of Arts, the rank that he held on retirement.
I had the distinct pleasure and honour of serving as a member of his French Department at RRMC from 1964-1968. He was a modest and humble gentleman, and one could never have wished for a finer boss.

Although it had not been confirmed at the time of his leaving the RCAF, I can attest to the fact that he was granted the Croix de Guerre with Palm, and he wore it on ceremonial occasions.
I provided a “brick” in his honour several years ago at the Juno Beach memorial.
-- LCdr (retired) Fred Perry, RCN
former Associate Prof. of French, RRMC"


NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8764 has recommendation for a Croix de Guerre. This does not appear to have cleared authorities, although he apparently believed it had been approved, as he mentions on his repatriation form that he had been awarded a Croix de Guerre with Palm.


A gallant observer. When wounded during a bombing mission, he regained his place in the combat as soon as possible and held it. Volunteered for service in "Lorraine" bomber group as observer to commander and, by his bravery and skill, was held in high esteem by all the group personnel. Has participated in many difficult missions.

He was a Navigator with S/L R.A. Kipp. While copies of most of Kipp’s Combat Reports are filed with the Directorate of History and Heritage, CFHQ, Ottawa, the following two, submitted during service at the Fighter Experimental Flight (Ford), were not. The navigator was, of course, F/L R. Oldham. All material found in Public Record Office, AIR 50/466.


Victories Include :

23 March 1945

12 April 1945
two Ju88s
one FW190
five  u/i e/a
one Ju88
one Me110
one Me110
destroyed &
destroyed &



5 / 0 / 6 - 5

All On The Ground & all with Bob Kipp as pilot

[1] 23 March 1945: Time of attack was 2114 hours, vicinity of Muhldorf. Weather described as "Excellent visibility, bright moonlight, no cloud". Claim was two Ju.88s destroyed, one FW.190 destroyed, three unidentified enemy aircraft damaged, one Ju.290 damaged. (This slightly conflicts with DFC recommendation & Shores)


One Mosquito VI, F.E.F., Pilot: S/L Kipp, R.A., DSO, DFC. Navigator: F/L R. Oldham were airborne from Ford at 1710 hours, on the 23rd March 1945 for a Night Ranger to Muhldorf. They flew to an advance base at St. Dizier and left there at 1945 hours for the trip. They flew at zero feet, arriving south of Muhldorf at 2112 hours. S/L Kipp pulled the nose up to 4,500 feet and dropped three flares over the centre of the airdrome at 2114 hours.

S/L Kipp continues:

"I then turned sharp port losing height down to about 100 feet making an attack on the South Dispersal where many aircraft were seen (25 approximately) and gave a three-second burst of cannon and machine gun, and saw a Ju.88 commence to burn. I also saw strikes on a Ju.290 parked in front of a hangar. I then pulled away to the North of aerodrome and made a run from North-South attacking first the North dispersal where I saw strikes on two unidentified single engine enemy aircraft. I also hit a FW.190 which immediately started burning (2116 hours). I pulled the nose up slightly and then down again as I revisited the South dispersal where a further Ju.88 was attacked and left smoking and also further strikes on the Ju.290. I made a final attack from North-South and fired my remaining rounds of cannon into the second Ju.88 which became a mass of flames. I also saw strikes on an unidentified twin-engine enemy aircraft along side. On the third run from North-South moderate inaccurate flak opened up. The airdrome was not illuminated and as we left at 2118 hours, my Navigator saw the three enemy aircraft burning on the ground."

On the way home near Kaufbeuren at 2144 hours a goods train was observed going West. S/L Kipp released three flares and made three attacks from very close range with .303 only. Many strikes seen on the engine and the first two wagons and the train was left stationary emitting clouds of stream and smoke. 10 miles further West a solitary M/T proceeding East was strafed and strikes were seen (2149 hours). Base (Ford) reached at 2359 hours.

Camera gun automatically exposed.

Ammunition used:

340 rounds H.E.I. 20 mm
340 rounds S.A.P.I. 20 mm
120 rounds incendiary .303
120 rounds A.P. .303


[2] 12 April 1945: Time of attack was 2327-2334 hours, vicinity of Kircham. Weather described as "Clear but very dark". Claim was one Me.410 destroyed, one Ju.88 destroyed, one Ju.88 damaged.


One Mosquito VI, F.E.F., Pilot: S/L Kipp, R.A., DSO, DFC. Navigator: F/L R. Oldham were airborne from Ford at 1640 hours on the 11th April 1945 for Night Ranger to Kircham. They landed at Toul-Ochey at 1810 hours where they refueled and set course for target at 2205 hours.

S/L Kipp continues:

"The trip to the target was uneventful and on approaching target area from South I saw the airdrome lit (2320 hours). We were flying at 2,500 feet and I pulled to starboard and orbited to South-East of airdrome for five minutes to see if there was any activity in the air. I saw nothing so climbed to 4,500 feet on a North-West heading and dropped three flares (2327 hours) on the South-East corner of airdrome. I made two runs searching for aircraft and spotted a 410 in South-West corner of airdrome. I turned in on a heading of about 045? and attacked head-on with cannon and machine gun. The aircraft immediately burst into flames and burned furiously. I turned hard to port and made a fresh attack on a heading of 150? on a Ju.88 which was about 300-400 yards from the 410. This enemy aircraft also exploded and burned furiously. I made a 180? turn to port and coming in again saw strikes from an attack I made on a Ju.88 parked in front of a hangar on South-West edge of airdrome (I claim this damaged). During these attacks there was no flak reaction. We left the airdrome at 2336 hours and on way back to Juvincourt to refuel I attacked two M.T. proceeding West in the Memingen area and saw strikes on them. I claim these damaged. We landed and refueled at Juvincourt and set course for Ford landing there at 0420 hours.

Camera gun automatically exposed.

100 m.p.h. gun-sight.

Ammunition Used:

300 rounds 20 mm S.A.P.I and H.E.I.
600 rounds .303


FURTHER NOTE:  On repatriation he filled out a document (31 July 1945) which described his flying as consisting of 62 hours on operations (31 sorties) and 375 non-operational hours and his last operational sortie was 22 April 1945.

He listed victories as follows:
Three Ju.88s,
One FW.190 &
One Me.410.

He listed aircraft experience as follows:
Anson (37 hours),
Blenheim (61 hours five minutes),
Boston (236 hours 30 minutes),
Mosquito (82 hours 30 minutes),
Mitchell (seven hours 15 minutes) and
dual time (Tudor) as 12 hours 45 minutes.

The modest flying figures he supplied on this occasion are difficult to reconcile with other documents.
On 30 September 1942 (when being posted from No.226 Squadron to No.17 OTU) he was described by W/C W.E. Surplice as "A keen officer who was doing very well up to the time he was wounded. With more operational experience he should turn out to be an excellent observer."
On 16 December 1943, when being posted from No.342 Squadron to No.13 OTU, W/C H.M.G. de Rancourt reported he had flown 468 hours (71 in previous six months) and that he was "an exceptionally good navigator and bomb aimer".
On the other hand, G/C W.M.L. MacDonald wrote, "Although I consider that the assessment at paragraph 11 is higher than is justified, I agree that F/L Oldham has done excellent work in his squadron and is a very good officer".
On 28 February 1945, on posting from No.13 OTU, he was reported as having flown 525 hours (29 in previous six months) and W/C J.R. Cree wrote, "Has performed his duties with zeal and his ability has been an example to both Instructors and pupils."
On 23 July 1945, W/C F. Gonsalves wrote that his total flying was now 589 hours (81 hours 30 minutes in previous six months) and was "a good average officer and keen on the job." His training record may illustrate how an "Air Observer" progressed under the BCATP.

At No.1 ITS (23 December 1940 to 27 January 1941) he attained

91 percent in Mathematics,
90 percent in Armament (P and O),
89 percent in Drill, &
89 percent in Law and Discipline.

He was described as "Conscientious, hard-working airman with ability. Good air observer material. Has worked full out while at this unit".

At No.1 AOS (3 February to 27 April 1941) he spent 65 hours ten minutes in Ansons in four categories:

1st navigator, day (29 hours 30 minutes),
2nd navigator, day (28 hours 45 minutes),
1st navigator, night (two hours 20 minutes) &
2nd navigator, night (four hours 35 minutes).

In air work he received 369 marks out of a possible 500 and was described as "Average; writes a good leg; stood 27th in a class of 44." 

In Ground Training he took the following courses:

D.R. Plotting (115 out of 150),
D.R. Written plus DF/WT (173 out of 200),
Compasses and Instruments (105 out of 150),
Signals (100 out of 150),
Maps and Charts (52 out of 100),
Meteorology (85 out of 100),
Photography (83 out of 100) &
Reconnaissance (82 out of 100).

He stood 15th in a class of 40 and was described as "Good all round student...Quiet type. Painstaking, hard worker. Neat and efficient. Decidedly officer material".
At No.1 BGS (28 April to 9 June 1941) he logged 16 hours ten minutes by day in bombing and six hours 40 minutes by day in gunner plus seven hours 35 minutes as a passenger (all in Battle aircraft).
His average error in bombing exercises was 163 yards (116 yards in his best exercise)

In gunnery he was graded in:

Beam Test (15 percent),
Beam Relative Speed (5.6 percent) &
Under Tail (seven percent).
Marks were allotted to
Bombing (Written) in which he scored 118 out of 150,
Bombing (Plotting) in which he scored 116 out of 150,
Gunnery (Written) in which he scored 84 out of 100 &
Gunnery (Written), being marked 80 out of 100.

He was graded as "Above average" and graduated 4th in a class of 37 and descried as "Unusually intelligent. Took the course very seriously. A quiet disposition. Spent much time on his studies. Recommended for Commission."

At No.1 ANS (9 June to 7 July 1941) he again was engaged in flying as follows:

1st Navigator, Day (eight hours 40 minutes),
2nd Navigator, Day (six hours 25 minutes),
1st Navigator, Night (nine hours 50 minutes) &
2nd Navigator, Night (nine hours 15 minutes).

He was graded 198 out of 250 as an Air navigator and described as "Conscientious, keen and capable navigator, with a good sense of responsibility".

In Ground Training he took

Astro Navigation (Plotting) - graded 116 out of 150 &
Astro Navigation (Written) - graded 92 out of 100.

He graduated 13th in a class of 111




Thanks to Ron's friend Fred Perry for the photos & infos !

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