Sgt. Robert Craig
A profile of a Mosquito Mechanic

My father, Robert Craig (R52959) was born in Paisley Scotland on the 3RD of October 1905. He left school at 14 and although he was awarded a scholarship to attend art school, he took up an apprentice as a carpenter to assist his family. After completing his apprentice, he and his older brother travelled to Canada and worked to eventually bring over the family. Besides working as a carpenter he became a scout leader. From the back of his watch (a family gift before going overseas) it appears he joined the RCAF before 1941. At some stage he was posted to 418 City of Edmonton Squadron. He moved to Ford airbase in England and assisted in the repair of Mosquitoes after their return, often from intruder raids. From his stories, he was there during raids in Normandy after D Day. He was bombed whilst repairing work in a hanger at Ford, where he hid under a bench. The bomb bounced off the bench and out of the hanger.

During his time off, he borrowed a bicycle and rode around the countryside where he got himself lost. He approached a woman, Dorothy, a nurse, who was also out riding and after convincing her he wasn’t a spy, she directed him back to the base. This was the beginning of their romance. Dad was a bit of a character and didn’t suffer fools gladly. While he achieved the rank of sergeant, he didn’t get any further promotions and missed the opportunity to go across the channel with the squadron after D Day.

Eventually he married Dorothy and then he travelled back to Canada on an aircraft carrier to get demobbed. On returning to England they set up home in Folkestone Kent. Their first child was still-born due to Dorothy’s work as a TB nurse and suffering from radiation poisoning from x-rays. Their second child was born in 1950. In 1953 they moved to Australia as ‘£10 tourists’ (a migrant scheme). They landed in Sydney but couldn’t find work so used the last of their money to travel west to Perth where they eventually set up home (Dunroamin’) in Belmont. Dad died from cancer (probably mesothelioma from building the house from asbestos) on June the sixth 1969.

Over a rather long period, the top of Canwick Hill has been developed into the International Bomber Command Centre. Although the area available is quite small the centre is extremely well organised. ( ). After visiting inner displays, we went on a guided tour of the area leading to the spire. They have set up a garden with native plants from all the Nations from which the bomber crews and their auxiliaries came. Along the path to the spire which is the length of one wing of a Lancaster bomber, they have a memorial Ribbon of Stones with the names of any war veterans. They have planted lime trees on the site which are geo located to represent the 27 bomber bases in Lincolnshire! As is usual near Lincoln, they unearthed some Roman remains and had to wait until the archaeologists had cleared it out! Around the spire are walls of the names of all (ground, air crew and support staff) those who fought and died in Bomber Command, over 55,000 names! It was a moving experience.

I have been able to purchase a memorial stone for my father to add to the IBCC Ribbon of Stones. These are for any one who served in any airforce during the Second World War.

[ Date: Tue Aug 28 10:13:02 MST 2018 Author: gc IP: ]