Ripples in the water – Stanley Ernest Messum and George Aitken

Remembrance Day 2020 continues with what George Aitken’s daughter has shared.

Her father had written this about his friend Stanley.


Stanley Ernest Messum, son of Mr. Mrs. H.C. Messum of Lloydminster. Stan attended Camrose Normal School and after teaching first at North Home School, located near Dewberry and at Trimble Ville School, north of Isley, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Edmonton in 1940.

I first. met Stan at Dauphin, Manitoba, where we took our Service Flying Training. We graduated on the same day, 8th August, 1941 and found ourselves on the same “Overseas” posting. Our friendship did not flourish until the time that we were both destined to be posted to the Middle East. At the last moment, we were both taken off this posting and instead transferred from #416 RCAF Squadron then located at Peterhead in Scotland to #403 RCAP Squadron, stationed at North Weald. We usually got time off together, and he would invite me to visit, with him, some relatives who lived in London.

Whilst I was away from the Squadron, on leave, Stan was on an Operational trip and “shot down”. Fortunately, he was rescued and by the time I returned from “leave” he was of course flying again.

Stan was then posted to the Middle East. He was in Malta, at the time that George “Buzz” Beurling, a Canadian in the RAF and who had also flown with #403 RCAF Fighter Squadron at North Weald. Stan saw service in the Middle East and for a time flew with an Air Delivery Unit between Lagos and Cairo.

Stan had an exceptional sense of humor and his cheerfulness always made friends for him easily.

Stan returned to Canada in 1944 for a short rest period and we met in Edmonton to renew our acquaintance as I too had returned to Canada and was at the time stationed at Shepard, just south of Calgary, Alberta. We discussed the War and we both agreed that it would soon be at an end. He had requested to be returned “Overseas” to Operations and he told me that he had found a young lady in England, who he intended to marry as soon as he got back. His wish was granted and he did return Overseas and was married.

It seemed only a short time later when we read in our papers that he was reported “missing” in air operations. At this time he was flying with the Hornet Squadron out of Eindhoven. The date, April 9, 1945. By this time Stan was but 28 and he had served in the ranks of Sgt/Pilot, F/Sgt/Pilot, then commissioned as Pilot Officer and at the time of him being reported as “missing held the rank of Flying Officer.

It was later confirmed that he was “killed in action”.


****Stan is mentioned in the book “RCAF Overseas Fifth Year”

Photos shared by George Aitken’s daughter

“They Shall Grow Not Old”

Messum Stanley Ernest F/0 (P) J19447/R76772 Lloydminster, Sask. KIA April 6, 1945 age 29

443 Squadron

Spitfire MS670 hit by flak N/W Solingen, Germany.

Messum reported by R/T that he was going to get out. Not seen to do so. Spitfire was seen to crash by the roadside south of Mendersum.

F/O Messum was buried in a field adjacent to the crash. Exhumed and reburied Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany.

Ripples in the water – Stanley Ernest Messum

Remembrance Day 2020 will start this week with this photo shared in 2014 by Jim O’Toole whose father was J. W. O’Toole.

 Jim had shared this information…

Stan Messum is pictured on top of plane was killed in later April.

Stanley Ernest Messum is seen sitting on the propeller of a Spitfire. Most of these young men have long been forgotten. In 1945 they were posing for posterity so one day we might remember them on Remembrance Day.

I wish I could remember them all…

In fact Maureen did help in 2014…

Hi there…

Yes dad and I have been looking at that photo off and on and he has a few names for the folks in the photo… He also is unsure on some of them…

The picture was likely taken in later March or early April 1945 as Stan Messum pictured on top of plane was killed in later April.

So from top to bottom and left to right: Stan Messum on top

Standing Left to right: Terry Watt, Art Sager, Unsure, Unsure, Possible Lloyd Hunt (maybe Monty Clow), Possibly Peewee Dalton, Charles Stephens, Cecil Grant, Percy Gomez, Charles Charlesworth

Kneeling bottom row: Gerry (Gouty) Gould, T (Ted or Terry) Green, Unsure (fellow in middle between front row and those standing), Possibly Dodds, James O’Toole (my dad), Olar Dodson.

Other names that may be here include: Dobson, RA Hodgins, D Walz, WG Conway, RD Marsh, J Collins, GA McDonald, CJ Grant, JC Turcott, W Kroeker, Gordon Ockenden

Hope that helps…