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- A black and white photograph, of a young Stanley Balkwill, of Burford. Balkwill wears a jacket with pockets and a lapel pin on his right, trousers, with a light-coloured shirt and tie underneath. He stands outside in a field, with trees and people in the background. The date and location of the photograph is unknown.
- Only son of Laura D. and Herbert Charles Balkwill, Stanley Herbert was born on May 23, 1921. His family lived at 17 King Street, Burford for the first eight years of Stanley’s life and then moved to Toronto, where Balkwill enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on December 9, 1940 with service number R83899 and later J17111. He completed the Initial Training School program at No. 3 Sacred Heart College on May 16, 1941, followed by graduation from the No. 17 Elementary Flying Training School at Stanley, Nova Scotia on July 2, 1941, and earned his pilot wings on September 13, 1941 at No. 8 Moncton, New Brunswick Service Flying Training School. Afterwards he completed an advanced navigation course at the No. 31 General Reconnaissance School in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, followed by a torpedo bomber course held at Patricia Bay, British Columbia No. 32 Operational Unit.
On October 17, 1942, he joined the Royal Air Force No. 39 Squadron, and took part in the North African campaign in the Mediterranean. Within his year tour, Balkwill completed twenty four sorties with 125 hours of operational flying, of which twenty sorties including three torpedo strikes and 95 hours of operational flying were conducted from Malta. At 4:45 a.m on February 21, 1943, Balkwill successfully attacked an enemy merchant vessel near Marettimo, Sicily. Under intense flak, his aircraft received serious damage to the tail and fuselage. Despite this, “with great skill and courage” he returned to base. Three days later he was promoted to Pilot Office, and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Medal effective May 19, 1943. He flew again near Marettimo on April 23, 1943, and highly damaged the merchant vessel Aquino. A Legion Magazine article (see External Links) suggests Balkwill was the last pilot to fire Bristol Beaufort torpedoes.
Following his year overseas, Balkwill was posted to Rockcliffe, Ontario then Debert, Nova Scotia, where he was killed during a flying operation accident on April 18, 1945 at the age of 23. The Flight Lieutenant was returned home and buried in the Toronto (Prospect) Cemetery, section 26, grave 642. Balkwill received the following decorations for his service in the RCAF: the 1939-1945 Star; Africa Star; Defense Medal; General Service Medal; and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.
See External Links for references.
- Stanley Balkwell
- Personal Name(s):
- Local identifier:
- Mel Robertson Collection
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- Copyright Statement:
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Recommended Citation:
- Stanley Balkwell photo. Burford Township Historical Society and Museum, Photograph No. 2002.061.041.
- The information and images provided are for personal research only and are not to be used for commercial purposes. Use of this information should include the credit "Burford Township Historical Society and Museum."
Burford Township Historical Society
Agency street/mail address
141 Harley Road, Harley, ON N0E 1E0