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b. 18/03/1907 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. d. 27/09/1981 Kingston, Ontario, Canada


DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 28/06/1944 RAF Tholthorpe, Yorks.


Arthur Dwight Ross (1907-1981) was born on 18th March 1907 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and was the only child of Donald Ainsley and Maude Elizabeth Ross (nee Dwight). His grandfather was the Honourable Arthur Wellington Ross, a Member of Parliament who was heavily involved in the construction of Canadian Railways. His uncle, Hugo Prentiss Ross, sadly died aboard the Titanic in 1912, when Dwight (as he was more commonly known) was just 5.


Dwight attended public school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Upper Canada College in Toronto, Ontario and then the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. On graduation from the RMC in 1928, he was appointed to a Permanent Commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force and on completion of flying training at Camp Borden, he was awarded his pilot’s wings. He then undertook training at Jericho Beach Station, Vancouver in Flying Boats and Seaplanes.


In April 1929, he transferred to Winnipeg Air Station and subsequently to Cormorant Lake, Manitoba for employment on Northern bush operations (transport, photo survey, forestry) in Northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North West Territories. For four months in 1929-30 he was employed in the construction of emergency fields and beacons from Regina to Winnipeg on the first Prairie Air Mail route. He returned to bush flying until moving to Camp Borden in the spring of 1931.


From 1931 to 1936 he was a flying instructor at Camp Borden and with the City of Toronto Auxiliary Squadron with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. This was followed by three years as a Personnel Staff Officer at Air Force HQ in Ottawa. In June 1935 he married Marguerite Wynn, and they had two daughters, Susan and Nancy. In June 1939 he transferred to RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and now a Wing Commander, was appointed Officer Commanding 5 General Reconnaissance Squadron. In October 1940 he was promoted to Group Captain and moved to Calgary to open and command 3 Service Flying Training School. He stayed until 1942, when a return to operational duties came at RCAF Station Sydney, Nova Scotia, where the Battle of Atlantic resumed.


In November 1942, he moved overseas to RAF Middleton St George in Yorkshire and Bomber Command. Three Canadian heavy bomber squadrons were based there, and formed the Canadian Bomber Group in January 1943. On 1st March 1944 he was appointed Air Commodore as Commander 62 Base Tholthorpe, consisting of three Stations and five Bomber Squadrons.


On 28th June 1944, at RAF Tholthorpe, a Halifax bomber crash-landed into another bomber that was in the dispersal area and fully loaded with bombs, bursting into flames. Ross, assisted by Corporal Maurice Marquet, extracted the pilot, who had suffered severe injuries. Then ten 500lb bombs about 30yds away exploded, throwing them to the ground. When the hail of debris had subsided, cries were heard from the rear turret of the crashed bomber. Despite the risk of further explosions, they returned to the blazing wreckage and looked in vain to swing the turret to release the gunner. Ross hacked at the glass with an axe and then handed it through a hole to the gunner who made the opening bigger. Taking the axe again, Ross managed to break in and extricate the gunner. Another 500lb bomb exploded, which threw the three men to the ground; St Germain quickly threw himself upon the gunner in order to shield him from flying debris. Ross' arm was practically severed between the wrist and the elbow by the blast. He calmly went to the ambulance and an emergency amputation took place.


On 24th October 1944, the announcement was made of a George Cross to Dwight Ross, while Maurice Marquet and Joseph St Germain were awarded the George Medal. Following the recovery from his wounds, Dwight was moved to RCAF Overseas HQ in London. In March 1945 he returned to Canada and became Chief Staff Officer, No 1 Air Command in Trenton, Ontario. Later that year, he became Commandant of the RCAF Staff College in Toronto.


In August 1948, he moved to Ottawa and took the job of Air Officer Commanding Air Transport Command, and also acted as Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General of Canada, Viscount Alexander of Tunis. He retired from the RCAF after over 30 years’ service in 1961 and in the autumn of that year he took a qualifying course as a general insurance agent in Ontario and started work with W.A. Curtis & Co in Toronto until June 1962. In August 1962 he became Enrolment Director for the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation for South Eastern Ontario. He retired from this occupation in 1966.


In later years, he served as a member of the Ontario Committee of the Air Cadet League of Canada, executive on the Kingston branch of War Amputations, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Kingston Division, Corps of Commissionaires, and a member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. Dwight died on 27th September 1981, aged 74, in Kingston, Ontario and was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery. His medal group including GC, CBE (awarded 1946), Canadian Forces Decoration with Two Bars, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star with clasp “Air Crew Europe”, Defence Medal 1939-45, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, War Medal 1939-45 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, 1967 Canadian Centennial Medal and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal were donated to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.




























Arthur Dwight Ross


ross ross

Ross' grave courtesy of Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, Ontario.

st clements danes aldwych raf gc memorial

St Clements Danes Church, Aldwych, London

“The KING has been graciously to approve the following awards of the GEORGE CROSS, the George Medal and the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned :-



Air Commodore Arthur Dwight Ross, O.B.E., Royal Canadian Air Force.


Awarded the George Medal.

Can/R.96959 Flight Sergeant Joseph Rene Marcel St. Germain, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Can/R.87217 Corporal Maurice Marquet, Royal Canadian Air Force.


Awarded the British Empire Medal

(Military Division)

Can/R.273581 Leading Aircraftman Melvin Muir McKenzie

Can/R.188008 Leading Aircraftman Robert Rubin Wolfe, Royal Canadian Air Force.


One night in June, 1944, an aircraft, while attempting to land, crashed into another which was parked in the dispersal area and fully loaded with bombs. The former aircraft had broken into 3 parts and was burning furiously. Air Commo¬dore Ross was at the airfield to attend the return of aircraft from operations and the interrogation of aircrews. Flight Sergeant St. Germain a bomb aimer, had just returned from an operational sortie and Corporal Marquet was in charge of the night ground crew, whilst leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe were members of the crew of the crash tender. Air Commodore Ross with the assistance of Corporal Marquet, extricated the pilot who had sustained severe injuries. At that moment ten 500 lb. bombs in the second aircraft about 30 yards away, exploded, and this officer and airman were hurled to the ground. When the hail of debris had subsided, cries were heard from the rear turret of the crashed aircraft. Despite further explosions from bombs and petrol tanks which might have occurred, Air Commodore Ross and Corporal Marquet returned to the blazing wreckage and endeavoured in vain to swing the turret to release the rear gunner. Although the port tail plane was blazing furiously, Air Commodore Ross hacked at the perspex with an axe and then handed the axe through the turret to the rear gunner who enlarged the aperture. Taking the axe again the air commodore, assisted now by Flight Sergeant St. Germain as well as by Corporal Marquet, finally broke the perspex steel frame supports and extricated the rear gunner. Another 500 lb. bomb exploded which threw the 3 rescuers to the ground. Flight Sergeant St. Germain quickly rose and threw himself upon a victim in order to shield him from flying debris. Air Commodore Ross's arm was practically severed between the wrist and elbow by the second explosion. He calmly walked to the ambulance and an emergency amputation was performed on arrival at Station sick quarters. Meanwhile, Corporal Marquet had inspected the surroundings, and seeing petrol running down towards two nearby aircraft, directed their removal from the vicinity by tractor. Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe rendered valuable assistance in trying to bring the fire under control and they also helped to extricate the trapped rear gunner both being seriously injured by flying debris.


Air Commodore Ross showed fine leadership and great heroism in an action which resulted in the saving of the lives of the pilot and rear gunner. He was ably assisted by Flight Sergeant St. Germain and Corporal Marquet who both displayed courage of a high order. Valuable service was also rendered by Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe in circumstances of great danger.”

27th October 1944

transcribed by Terry Hissey


Richard Yielding