Ronald George "Ron" Lake

RCAF   F/L   -   DFC

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Austin, Lake & Upton
"The Three Musketeers" - B flight 286 sqn.
F/Ls "Bunny" Austin, Ron Lake & Deryk Upton


A Letter From Ron

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 "The man on my right (photo above) is F/L (Cecil) Austin, an Irish chap (we all flew to Belfast one weekend and visited his home) with a great sense of humor. He planned on going into medicine in Belfast after being demobbed. The chap on my left is F/L Deryk Upton a Brit who was wounded in the rear when on ops and didn't do any flying during my stay at Weston Zoyland in the period of time I spent there.
After my tour I was posted to 57 OTU in Scotland but was only there about six days when a request come in for an instructor to report to an RAF 286 squadron at Weston Zoyland in Somerset. This was an antiaircraft support squadron and I had no idea what they required an instructor for. The squadron had a C/O S/L (E.P.) Joyce nick-named 'Dimmy', who had lost a leg in a plane accident. He was about six foot four, dark haired and had a bushy moustache. The squadron consisted of the three airmen mentioned above and myself and enough ground crew to service 2 Harvards, 5 Miles Magisters, a Spitfire 5, one US Mustang with an Allison engine and an Avro Anson. I had great misgivings about what I'd been sent to do, however, since none of the above officers flew, I was assigned to teach new graduates from a twin engine course to fly singles, namely the Miles Magister.
The Maggie was trickier to fly than the Harvard that I'd instructed in Canada [Dunnville Ont.] with, and I had my hands full trying to convince the students to be light handed on the control stick. At every landing I would keep my hands just behind the stick and one day, one of the students coming in for a touch down while we were still at flying speed yanked the stick so hard I couldn't stop him and the plane flicked to the right and slammed into the ground. I immediately took control by slamming the throttle wide open and getting airborne. The ailerons wouldn’t work but I was able to control flight with the rudder. I flew past the control tower and they told me my right wing was badly bent and the right oleo leg was hanging loose. I landed by holding the plane on the left wheel as long as I could and as the plane settled it went into a slow ground loop – thankfully, there were no casualties.
I ended up training about thirty pilots and in the meantime, our squadron was renumbered to 587. During my stay at Weston Zoyland I was assigned to fly to a nearby anti-aircraft station and 'BEAT' it up for gunnery practice! I did this about twice weekly while there.
I'm reluctant to talk about my operational tour but on one of my flights over the Falaise area after strafing anything that moved. I lost touch with my squadron and decided I'd better return to base. On the way back I spotted a German tank. I dove on it twice and could see cannon strikes all over it but it just kept going. At that moment, a Typhoon pulled up beside me and the pilot waved and dove at the tank. He shot one rocket that blew the turret off the tank and then took off. I was so surprised I never got his squadron numbers !"


Born 21 November 1919 in Timmins, Ontario.
Home in Langstaff, Ontario.
Enlisted in Toronto 9 July 1941.
Trained at
No.3 ITS Victoriaville (graduated 7 November 1941)
No.20 EFTS Oshawa (graduated 2 January 1942) &
No.16 SFTS (graduated 24 April 1942).
Commissioned 24 April 1942.
Promoted to Flying Officer, 24 October 1942.
To Flight Lieutenant, 24 April 1944.
At Station Trenton, 24 May to 15 July 1942.
Instructed at
No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, 16 July 1942 to 3 June 1943.
Further trained at
No.1 OTU, Bagotville, 4 June to 17 Aug. 1943.
No.125 Sqn., Halifax, 28 Aug. 1943 to 12 Jan. 1944.
Posted overseas in January 1944.
Arriving in Britain on 31 January 1944.
No.441 Sq. 13 February to 10 Dec. 1944.
No.57 OTU, 10 to 27 December 1944.
No.286 Squadron, 27 Dec. 1944 to 30 April 1945.
No.587 Squadron, 30 April to July 1945.
Repatriated to Canada, 23 July 1945.
Released 8 September 1945.

Sadly Ron departed on his final flight, 30 May 2010
from his home in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Much of Their Success Attributed to Foremost Allied Ace in Europe

London, July 3, 1944 — (CP Cable) — Canadian fighter pilots are the hottest things in the air of France these invasion days with a score of 58 "kills" chalked up since June 28, and airmen today attributed much of their current success to a modest, 28-year-old Englishman, W/C James E. (Johnny) Johnson, leading Allied ace in the European theatre.

Nearly 100 Per Cent
Of 21 enemy planes shot down over France Sunday — at a cost of three Allied aircraft — R.C.A.F. Spitfire pilots accounted for 19. They shot down 26 Germans June 28 and on Friday got 13 of the 17 enemy aircraft destroyed. It was on the Friday operations that Johnson, leader of a Canadian wing, got his 33rd enemy aircraft to top the long-standing record of 32 held by G/C A.G. (Sailor) Malan who is not now on active operations.
F/L J. D. Lindsay, of Arnprior, Ont., led the R.C.A.F scoring yesterday, destroying three planes in one sortie when his squadron took on 20 enemy aircraft east of Caen. Other leaders, each with two "kills," were F/L Paul Johnson, of Bethel, Conn., F/O R. J. Lake, Langstaff, Ont., and F/L L. Moore, Philadelphia. Paul Johnson and Moore also shared one "kill."
To W/C Johnson, back on active operations at his own request after a spell of ground duty is freely given much of the credit for the Canadians' fine showing since R.C.A.F. fighter airstrips were moved to Normandy. For Johnson, holder of the D.S.O. & Bar and D.F.C. & Bar, is known as a maker of aerial aces as well as being a top ace himself.
A civil engineer in Nottingham before the war, Johnson a year ago turned the Canadian Spitfire wing he then commanded into one of the “hottest” in Britain. Taken off active flying to aid in the planning of the invasion's aerial coverage, he recently returned to active operations and again was given a Canadian fighter wing to lead against the best the Germans could offer in the air.
Johnson's 31st and 32nd aerial victories were scored last Wednesday to equal the mark set by Malan when he was the leading R.A.F. pilot in the Battle of Britain and to top the 31 set by F/L George Beurling, of Verdun, Que., leading Canadian ace now in Canada. Johnson's record breaking came when he caught a German heading for the safety of the clouds, nailed him and followed him down until the foe crashed.

The new Spitfires the Canadians are flying, armed with twin Cannon and four Machine-guns in the wings, are hard to beat even by what pilots call the "long-nosed Focke-Wulf," termed the best fighter the Germans have today. Many seasoned pilots are among the Canadian pilots flying in Normandy, some of them with "ace" ratings. It takes ten "kills" (actually 5 -jf) to rate ace category in the R.A.F. and R.C.A.F., though there is nothing official about being rated an "ace."
One of the veterans of Johnson’s wing is S/L Wally McLeod, of Regina, highest-scoring Canadian pilot on active operations with 19 enemy planes destroyed, three if them since D-day. Johnson has shot down five planes since the invasion opened June 6, while next in line is W/C George Keefer, 22, Charlottetown, with four "kills" since D-day.
Among the Spitfire squadrons flying from Normandy bases are the noted City of Oshawa, Wolf and Red Indian, and a new one, the Grizzly Bear.


City Pilots Wreck Hun Planes in Sunday's Smashing Raids

An R.C.A.F. Airfield in France, July 3, 1944 - (CP) - R.CA.F. Spitfire pilots gave more details today of Sunday's successes in which 19 German planes were destroyed.
Most of the combats took place immediately ahead of the British Army fighting zone, where earlier in the day ground-strafing aircraft destroyed a large number of Nazi military vehicles.
Among Canadian fighters turning in claims Sunday were S/L Jack Sheppard of Dollarton, B.C., who destroyed one, and P/O D. R. Jamieson of 1407 Symington Ave. Toronto, who got a destroyed and a damaged. P/O Goldie Goldberg of 1133A Avenue Rd., Toronto, damaged one.

Fifth Victory
Sheppard, by the destruction of a FW-190, chalked up his fifth victory. He gave the Hun plane a short burst of cannon and machine-gun fire and it burst into flames and blew up. "I had to pull to starboard to avoid the aircraft and its pieces," he said.
F/O R. J. Lake of Langstaff, and F/L J. Moore, Philadelphia, each bagged two Germans and shared another, and F/L D. C. Laubman, Edmonton, destroyed two.

Quick Succession
Laubman's two victories came in quick succession when his squadron, on a dive-bombing sortie, met two dozen German planes. He followed one Focke Wulf into a cloud and gave it a two-second burst as it emerged on the other side.
"There was an explosion and the Focke WuIf was enveloped in flames” Laubman said. “The pilot bailed out."
Later, with two squadron mates, he sighted 15 enemy aircraft. He chased one and saw strikes on its engine and wing. "White smoke poured from him and his engines stopped," said Laubman. "I made a new attack and blew his port tail plane and rudder off with machine-gun fire. The aircraft blew up.”


The RCAF Overseas Volume 2 has this to say about 441 Sq. and the combat of July 2nd 1944 - "The squadron commanded by S/L T. A. Brannagan, Danny Browne's successor, was also credited with six victories in one engagement when a four-kite section intercepted ten enemy fighters flying along the deck near Lisieux and carried out a diving attack from high above. F/L L. A. Moore, a veteran pilot who already had a number of successful combats to his credit, crashed two Me. 109s and shared a third with F/L R. G. Lake who also destroyed another Me. and an FW. The sixth victory was scored by F/O A. J. McDonald who was posted missing from the sortie. Brought down by flak, McDonald landed safely behind the enemy lines and evaded capture for seven weeks until he was able to rejoin his squadron."


LAKE, F/L Ronald George (J11283) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.441 Squadron
Award effective 23 February 1945 as per London Gazette dated 2 March 1945 and
AFRO 802/45 dated 11 May 1945.

Flight Lieutenant Lake as second in command of his flight has always shown exceptional keenness to operate against the enemy and has pressed home his attacks with great determination and skill. He has destroyed at least four enemy aircraft and has inflicted much damage and destruction upon enemy road transport and gun positions. Flight Lieutenant Lake's courage and devotion to duty at all times have been worthy of high praise.


Lake & Cashman
Ron Lake & Leo Cashman in France


Victories Include :

28 Mar 1944

2 July 1944

18 Sept 1944
27 Sept 1944
30 Sept 1944
one T/E e/a
0.33 Me410
one FW190
1.5 Me109s
one Me109
one Me109
one Me262
(OTG, Dreux) &
(OTG (w/ Mott & Moore)
(1 w/ Moore, Liseux)

4.5 / 0 / 1

plus  0 / 0 / 1.33 On The Ground




Thanks to Ron Lake for providing me with the photos and additional info !

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