Harvey Alexander Crawford

RCAF   F/L   -   DFC

use switches
Fighter Pilots
Air Gunners
Navigators/Radar Operators
Other Aircrew
Gallery Gallery
Misc. Miscellaneous

Harvey Crawford

use switches
Site Map Sitemap
Sources Slang
Acknowledgements Thanks/
About Us About
Links Links


Canadian Pilots Nightly Drink Toast to Kin Folk
'God Bless Those at Home and May We Soon Return Safely to Them' Wish From Africa

Somewhere in North Africa, Feb. 16, 1943 — There is an officers' mess in North Africa where the Canadian pilots join each night in a ceremony initiated by an RAF officer and drink a toast to those at home.
The custom was originated by the signals officer in the R.A.F. Hurricane squadron in which several R.C.A.F. pilots fly. The procedure is to rise at 9 o'clock each night while the sponsor of the toast says the following words: "God bless those at home and may we soon return safely to them." Visitors to the squadron are asked to join in the simple rite which has become a tradition with the unit in the short time it has been in the North

African campaign
Among the Canadian officers in the squadron are F/L Ted Bishop, Ottawa, who played football for the Ottawa St. Pats, Queen's, the Ottawa Roughriders and the Regina team of the same name. Other officers are P/O John Hogg, Perth, Ont.; P/O Harvey Crawford, Edmonton; F/O John Bull, Toronto, and F/O Jock Brodie, Saint John. Other Canadians in the unit are F/Ss Dimmie Sherman, Lethbridge, and Bob Dunn, Sutton, Ont.

Louis Armstrong
When lights out and reveille are blown at an R.A.F. station behind the lines there is the faintest suggestion of Louis Armstrong in the brassy notes of the bugle. The bugler, a tall, husky Sengalese trooper, has been taking instruction from Canadian pilots waiting to go forward with their squadron.
The building was the first French garrison in North Africa and was occupied by colored troops. Some of them are still at the garrison, and services of the colored bugler were enlisted to send airmen to bed and parade. The walls of the massive stone building's mess rooms are covered with amusing murals done by one of the colored soldiers.

Wine Called "Screech"
Squadron pride, always a force to be reckoned with, is expressing itself in a new way in this campaign. Most fighter units take a great and deep pride in the wine of the district which appears on their table. Since the water supply is dubious in some areas the light table wines of North Africa are substituted.
Arguments develop over the excellence of each variety, and one squadron, which contains many Canadians and is jocularly known as the Dreaded Black Squadron, makes a strong case for their particular wine which they have nicknamed "screech."
The wine comes from a nearby monastery run by the White Fathers. In the monastery are two brothers from Quebec and two Scotsmen. The squadron's emissaries are well known at the white monastery where they go regularly to get their supply of wine.
So far they have not quite dared to tell the mild fathers that their product has been renamed "screech."

Three Spitfire Pilots
Three Canadian Spitfire pilots who flew with RCAF units in Great Britain have come to an R.A.F. unit flying from a forward airfield in this campaign.
They are Sergeants Bill Hawkey, Kentville, N.S.; Sherman Hannah, Woodstock, N.B., and Jack Liggett, 91 Kingswood Road, Toronto. The first two pilots flew with the squadron commanded by Squadron Leader L. S. Ford, D.F.C. and Bar, and Liggett was with the squadron led by Squadron Leader Keith Hodson, D.F.C., of London, Ontario.


Born in Revelstoke, B.C., 11 December 1920
Home in Edmonton
Enlisted there 13 September 1940
Trained at
No.2 ITS (graduated 23 December 1940)
No.16 EFTS (graduated 21 February 1941)
No.10 SFTS (graduated 28 May 1941)
Awarded wings as a Sergeant
Posted to UK, 17 July 1941
Further trained at No.61 OTU
To No.412 Squadron, 16 September 1941
Flight Sergeant, 1 October 1941
To No.403 Squadron, 29 September 1941
To No.55 OTU, 21 February 1942
WO2, 1 June 1942
Pilot Officer, 10 June 1942
To No.32 Squadron, 7 September 1942
To Gibraltar, 22 November 1942
Flying Officer, 10 December 1942
To No.14 Squadron, 16 April 1943
To No.32 Squadron, 12 June to 1 August 1943
To Canada, 7 September 1943
Instructed at
No.1 OTU, Bagotville, 8 Oct. 1943 to 30 April 1944
Flight Lieutenant, 1 July 1944
Embarked for UK, 16 June 1944
Arrived in the UK, 24 June 1944
No.411 Squadron, 28 July to 31 December 1944
Aircraft holed by flak on 3 successive sorties with 411 Sq
To Canada, 1 February 1945
At No.5 OTU, 19 March to 23 September 1945
Released, 28 September 1945
He claimed to have flown
151 sorties (252 hours) on first tour
125 sorties (150 hours) on second tour
Recalled to duty, 16 January to 30 May 1946
Award presented by Governor General, 18 May 1954
Died in Edmonton, 23 February 1965
(as per The Legionary of April 1965)



Ottawa, Jan. 22, 1945 - (CP) - Air Force Headquarters announced tonight the award of one Distinguished Service Order and 15 Distinguished Flying Crosses to members of the RCAF serving overseas. The recipients include :
D.S.O. - Sqdn. Ldr. O. C. Kallio, DFC, of Ironwood, Mich.
D.F.C. - Wing Cmdr. L. H. Randall, Bristol, N.B.; Flt. Lt. D. W. Banting, Fort San, Sask.; Flt. Lt. R. E. Coffey, Greenview, Ill.; Flt. Lt. H. A. Crawford of Edmonton; Flt. Lt. H. A. Dean, Vero Beach, Fla,; Flt. Lt. J. E. Hogg of Dartmouth, N.S.; Flt. Lt. H. R. Hunter of Strathcona, P.E.I.; Flt. Lt. G. F. Mercer of 77 Church St., St. Marys; Flt. Lt. L. W. Metcalfe of 50 Scott St., St. Thomas; Flt. Lt. J. M. Portz, Weyburn, Sask.; FO. G. P. A. Bodard, Lethbridge, Alta.; FO. C. L. Burgess of Fredericton; FO. A. R. Lehman of 307 Niagara St., Welland; PO. A. D. Fraser of Winnipeg; FO. J. P. Jessee of Vancouver.


CRAWFORD, F/L Harvey Alexander (J15545) - Distinguished Flying Cross - 411 Sq.
Award effective 13 January 1945 as per London Gazette dated 23 January 1945 and
AFRO 471/45 dated 16 March 1945.

Flight Lieutenant Crawford has completed a large number of operational sorties and has displayed outstanding courage, keenness and initiative in leading his flight. Since commencing his second tour of operations he has destroyed over fifty enemy vehicles and three trains and throughout his flying career has shot down at least three enemy aircraft. His courage and determination have always been most commendable.

NOTE: Public Records Office Air 2/9043 has original recommendation (which is only slightly more detailed) dated 4 November 1944 when he had flown 212 sorties (326 operational hours).

Flight Lieutenant H.A. Crawford has completed a great number of operational sorties throughout which he has shown outstanding keenness and initiative in leading his flight and often the squadron on dive-bombing and armed reconnaissance sorties against heavily defended targets. Since starting his second tour of operations he has over 50 enemy vehicles and three trains to his credit. During his operational flying he has destroyed three enemy aircraft, probably destroyed another and damaged two more.


Victories Include :

30 May 1943
12 Aug 1944
21 Nov 1944
1/2 Ju52
one Me109
one FW190
E of Alencon
Spit 9
Spit 9

2.5 / 0 / 0

Citation says 3 / 1 / 2 but the 3 probably includes the shared claim so, I'm thinking

2.5 / 1 / 2

He claimed 5 / 0 / 2  (who has his logbook I wonder??)

If we suppose that 'probable' is one of 'his' 5, then we're only missing 1 claim




top     home

All content should be considered the property of the contributers and/or The Canadian Fighter Pilot & Air Gunner Museum - unless otherwise noted