Warren Alvin "Duff" Duffy

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DUFFY, F/O Warren Alvin (J7073) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.617 Sq. (deceased)
Award effective 22 August 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2274/44 dated 20 October 1944.

Recently this officer piloted an aircraft detailed to attack an enemy target in Northern France. The operation called for a high degree of resolution and to ensure success, accuracy was essential. In the face of considerable anti-aircraft opposition, Flying Officer Duffy made three runs over the target before releasing his bomb which exploded within a foot of the centre of the objective. He displayed great courage and devotion to duty, setting a very fine example. Flying Officer Duffy has completed a large number of sorties and has achieved much success.


Born 1922 in Pulinico, Nova Scotia.
Son of Leon Levett Duffy & Gertrude Lois M. Duffy.
Home in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia.
Enlisted in Moncton, 16 November 1940.
Trained at
No.1 ITS (graduated 4 May 1941),
No.3 EFTS (graduated 21 June 1941) and
No.5 SFTS (graduated 1 September 1941).
Commissioned 1941.
Arrived in UK, 14 October 1941.
to No.20 OTU, 4 November 1941.
to No.214 Squadron, 29 April 1942.
to No.57 Squadron, 3 May 1942.
Remained with that unit until 19 September 1942.
Flew 33 sorties -
(26 to Germany, one to France & six minelaying)
To No.22 OTU (non-operational tour).
Remained there until 4 January 1944.
To No.617 Squadron,
Completing his tour on 6 July 1944.
Remustered and converted to Mosquito Bombers.
One special sortie,
Ten night sorties to France,
Four day sorties to France,
One sortie to Germany &
Four recalls
(two Ju.88s destroyed on one of these recalls).

KiFA 7 August 1944 with F/O P. Ingleby in
Mosquito NT202 while practice bombing at
Wainfleet Bombing Range. The starboard wing
broke off on their 4th run and they crashed into
the water near the beach.

Medal presented to his father,
Reverend L.L. Duffy, Wolfeville, 1 December 1944.


The Gang
Caption reads - "The Gang" - Duffy is 2nd from the left


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Aug. 24, 1944 — The Department of National Defense for Air today issued Casualty List No. 970 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, showing next of kin of those named from Ontario as follows:

Killed on Active Service
DUFFY, Warren Alvin, FO., Wolfville, N.S.
PEACOCK, John Williamson Frederick. F/L, Westmount. Que.


See DHist file 181.009 d.1354 (RG.24 Vol.20597)
which contains correspondence regarding his death.

At his own request he carried out four additional missions, two on Lancasters (17 and 20 July) and two on Mosquitos (31 July and 4 August 1944). On the morning of 7 August 1944 he was killed on Mosquito NT202 at Wainfleet during bombing exercise; wing failed as aircraft recovered from dive. Correspondence arose when his mother, Mrs.L.L. Duffy, wrote RCAF Headquarters -
"We feel it was very unwise as well as unkind for the RAF to allow our son to go on with air operations after he had finished a second tour. After so much nerve strain I would not expect him to be at his best. His receiving the DFC on July 18th as an immediate award has not been explained so it looks to us a sort of bait to encourage him to continue. In a letter to us written on July 24th he wrote that the RCAF were after him to finish. One would think he had done quite enough when he had lived through two tours and a year of instructing which he did not like."


Bell, Mason & Duffy
"F/O Don Bell, S/L Jock Mason, & "Duff" - August 7, 1944. Taken in front of Flight Offices"


The following article is about Duff's Navigator Don Bell, who - lucky for him - did not come along for the crash. He mentions Duffy only at the end of the article, but obviously, most of what's mentioned here would apply to Duff as well.

Don Bell, 'Dam-Buster' Flier, Home; Blasted Nazis in Wars Hottest Spots

13 November 1944 - It isn't unusual for an airman to praise his aircraft or his crew when he returns to Canada but it is rare indeed when a man's heart and soul is wrapped up in his squadron.
That's the way it is with F/O Don Bell DFC, though, a Toronto observer who spent three years attached to the RAF's famous Dam-buster Squadron. Because of the things the Dam-busters have done, Bell's pride seems justifiable.
Item: It was the Dam-buster Squadron, led by Wing Cmdr. Guy Gibson, VC, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar, which blasted the Mohne and Eder Dams in Germany's productive industrial area, the Ruhr Valley.
Item: The Dam-buster Squadron was the first to fly daylight bombing missions; long before the Americans reached the European theatre.
Item: The Dam-buster was the first (and still the only) squadron to carry 12,000-pound earthquake penetration bombs and 12,000-pound saturation bombs or "cookies."

Don Bell and his mother
F/O Don Bell, DFC, is home in Toronto after three years of overseas operations which took him to the Middle East, Europe and Russia. He is shown here with his mother, Mrs. Mary Bell.
Called World's Best
Item: It was the Dam-buster Squadron which the United States Generals Doolittle and Spaatz, in an informal visit, congratulated as being "the best precision-bombing team in the world." Since Americans operate as precision bombers in the daytime and the RAF as saturation bombers at night, this was singularly high praise. The Dam-busters are one of the few non-United States precision bombing squadrons overseas.
Item: It was the Dam-buster Squadron which, operating from the desolate wastes of northern-most Russia, attacked and disabled the German pocket battleship Tirpitz.
Item: It was to the Dam-buster Squadron that Air Marshal Harris, the RAF'S bomber boss, addressed these remarks after D-Day: "You are responsible for the tactical surprise which Gen. Eisenhower said had been achieved on D-Day."
F/O Bell, who lives at 64 Campbell Ave., spent three years with the Dam-busters and, notwithstanding the events itemized here, he is a reticent fellow. It was only after some two hours of interesting conversation that these things came to light.

How Tirpitz Was Hit
He was in on the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Normandy, but considers the bombing of the Tirpitz the one event in his life that he is least likely to forget.
Tall, mustached, friendly, he sat in his home yesterday and told about it.
The squadron, after training for two weeks in England, set off on the longest bombing flight of the war — a 3,000-mile, non-stop flight into Russia's wastelands. Engineers doubted the planes would get off the ground, since each carried an overall weight of 69,000 pounds, some 4,000 more than manufacturing engineers considered the maximum lift.
Every plane became airborne safely, smiled Bell. For 13 hours they droned northward, then reached their Russian base in "the worst weather I ever saw," Bell said. At zero ceiling he set his pilot a new course, followed the shoreline of the White Sea and set her down at an emergency field.
After eight days the great attack of the fjord-based Tirpitz was begun, the reason for this roundabout attack being that the Germans presumably would not expect an attack from that direction.

Foe Caught Off Guard
The planes thundered scant feet above the ground, then roared high for bombing altitude at the last possible moment. The Jerries, caught unaware, had only five minutes to throw up a smoke screen over the Tirpitz, man the ack-ack. It wasn't enough.
The flight commander scored a direct hit, Bell reported. Succeeding attacks scored hits and near-hits and left the Tirpitz a floundering chunk of junk. Not a plane was lost in the attack, although the soupy weather in the flight to Russia took a certain toll.
Bell said the Dam-buster Squadron trained five weeks for D-Day, knew the date of the invasion at that time. "Any man who revealed the date would have been shot for high treason," he said earnestly. "It was a nerve-racking five weeks. It got so bad that we were afraid to talk to each other. I was always afraid I'd talk in my sleep. When that error by a telegraphist a couple of days before D-Day announced the invasion had already begun, it sent a cold chill down my spine. I never experienced a feeling quite like it."

Suffered No Injury
Bell completed three tours of operations, and never was hurt. His first was on twin-motored Wellingtons in the Middle East, the second and third tour in England on Lancaster's and Mosquitoes. Last April his squadron was blasting V-2 installations deep in Nazi-occupied Europe.
"We'd blast these strange-looking installations one day and then reconnaissance photos would show the Jerries working like fury to repair them. The pictures revealed bull-dozers and tractors and men busy with supplies and we always noted how eager the Germans appeared to be to repair the things. We'd have to go back every five or six days and blast them some more."
After a Lanc dropped a 12,000-pounder, the ship would leap straight up 150 feet “like an elevator," said Bell. "Then she'd jump another 150 feet; that was the bomb exploding. Then she'd jump again and we'd figure we'd been hit. But it was just the concussion of other cookies breaking."

Bell went through his second tour and most of his third with a pilot whom he described as a natural “because of the green ink endorsements in his log book. Such endorsements are used to mark very shaky do's. He was F/O W. A. (Duff) Duffy, DFC, from Wolfville, N.S. He was a wonderful guy and a marvelous pilot.
"One day he took a new navigator for a practice flip and one of the Mosquito engines blew up. They crashed straight into the deck at 500 miles an hour. It was the first time in months that I wasn't with him; that's why I'm back. I wish you'd mention him if you're writing anything."
Friendly Don Bell is on a 30-day furlough and doesn't know what's in the wind after that.


Victories Include :

?? June 1944 two Ju88s destroyed

2 / 0 / 0

?? After a recalled mission.
One of the following missions could have been the night of the claims. Hugh Halliday notes :

20th June 1944 - Nineteen Lancasters and three Mosquito's left Britain to attack the V2 rocket base, but due to a low cloud base the raid was aborted. All aircraft returned home.
22nd June 1944 - Sixteen Lancasters and three Mosquito's flew out towards Wizernes but once again, low cloud cover called for the attack to be aborted. All aircraft returned home.


* Duffy and Ruth Eleanor Walker (nee Dobbin, sister of the two Dobbins below) were together before the war and, it seems, very much in love. He sent her many letters in which he included pictures and that's where these come from. It is Ruth's granddaughter Jen's thought (as well as my own) that there may be relatives of his (he was an only child but may have had cousins etc.) who would be interested in seeing these pictures, as well as others.

Duffy, Murray, Donald & Ronal
"Duffy, Murray, Donald, Ronald" - Duffy, brothers Murray and Donald Dobbin & Ronald Ward. Four friends who enlisted at the same time. Duff and Don did not make it home. Don was KIA 24 May 1944, serving with the Carleton and York Regiment, R.C.I.C. *


Highlands of Scotland
"On the Highlands of Scotland"
Lossie Lighthouse
"By Lossie Lighthouse wish it was the good old Kennebecasis"
Remember me?
"Jan. 10, '42 One of the boys and myself (in battle dress). Remember me? Love Duff"




Thanks to Jennifer for the photos & infos !

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