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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Veteran Clyde George Redden

Clyde George Redden was born on November 7th, 1922, in New Ross, Nova Scotia. He grew up in Black Point with five other brothers and sisters. He was the eldest child of George Alexander and Annie Theresa Redden.

In his day and age, obtaining a grade twelve education was not a necessity—you worked as soon as you could, especially on the coasts of Nova Scotia. But a certain skill set was required in the Royal Canadian Air Force, so he went to the College Sainte-Anne of Church Point, Nova Scotia, through the years 1936 to 1939. Bomb aimers required a deeper education, especially in math, as they dealt with angles and physics.

He initiated his air training in 1942 and enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in October of the same year. He was ranked Flying Officer Bomb Aimer on August 6th, 1943.

He was part of the #155 Squadron RAF, Despite the Elements, and he flew in     the Lancaster aircraft with five other crewmembers: Flying Officer D.M. Price; Flying Officer J.D. Johnston; Pilot Officer D.S. Haggis; Pilot Officer D.M. Hamilton; and Pilot Officer J.C. Brunning. In the early training sessions and missions, various pilots flew the Lancaster with him. But later, when Clyde was more experienced in his practice, F/O Price tended to be pilot. F/O Price was the pilot for practically every mission, up until the end of their service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, according to Clyde’s logbook. These six men, as was any other crew in the Air Force, were best friends. Once they were assigned as a team, they were together to the end.

They flew out of Witchford, England in Lancaster aircraft #ND805 for the last time, October 14th, 1944. They failed to return from daylight operations at Duisburg, Germany.

F/O. D.M. Price
Missing In Action
F/O. C.G. Redden
Missing In Action
P/O. D.S. Haggis
Missing In Action
P/O. D.M. Hamilton
Missing In Action
P/O. J.C. Brunning
Missing In Action
F/O. J.D. Johnston
Prisoner Of War

Clyde George Redden, 21 years old, and four of his five crewmates were considered “Missing In Action” on October 14th, 1944. They were never found, and have no known graves. Their names are inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial in Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England. They are amid the names of 20,450 men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth. 3,050 among them are Canadian airmen.

“Per ardua ad astra”
Through adversity to the stars

This is the RCAF’s motto; it could also be translated to “Through struggle to the stars”.

This is a Lancaster aircraft, identical to what Clyde and his crewmates flew in. Clyde would be located in the bottom near the front of the plane, where he would aim and drop bombs.

These six men lived together, flew day and night together, and completed their honorable service together. They were together to the end, and through adversity and struggle, made their own way to the stars. Clyde is in the bottom right corner of the photograph

Clyde is my mother’s, mother’s brother. Each generation until myself grew up in tiny fishing villages/communities. I was born into one and later moved to PEI, but my roots are still there, along with his and the Redden family’s. I did not get to meet much of his generation. My uncle Ted, with the help of his daughter, dug up most of this information on Clyde, a relative I’d barely known until now. Despite his age, he hasn’t changed his looks—the Redden boys look a lot alike, and so I got a taste of what my uncle might have been, had he survived the war. It was surprisingly emotional, seeing pictures of my uncle Clyde and meeting uncle Ted, who thought he was eighteen years old and my great-uncle at the same time. This trip will start to connect the dots between that generation of relatives.

-Michaella Donovan

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