G/C Bill Langstaff RCAF 103 Sqn - 1943
Bill ( pictured above left ) was born 25 January 1914, in Bangor, Ontario. He - attended school in Mountainview and later Belleville Collegiate Institute. On leaving school he worked as an electrician and for Ontario Tobacco.
He enlisted in the RCAF in Kingston in Feb 1940 and began his training at the “Horse Palace” in Toronto that same year. He completed ITS and No 3 AOS in Regina and then B and GS at Mossbank, Saskatewan on Fairey Battles and experienced his first crash landing.
Astro training for 6 weeks followed at Rivers Manitoba. As was common at the time, newly commissioned P/O Langstaff navigated a Ferry Command Liberator overseas from Montreal and then joined a Wellington OTU at Litchfíeld, England prior to his posting, as an Acting F/O, to 150 Squadron based at Snaith, Yorkshire on July 22, 1941.
He remained with 150 Squadron until 10 July, 1942 when he completed his first tour of ops of 30 missions. F/L Langstaff was then attached to the Air Ministry where he was involved in PR visits to war production factories and motivational meetings with the workers. There was then a short period with 460 Squadron flying Halifaxes.
F/L Langstaff was reduced in rank to F/O for declining a transfer to 6 Bomber Group. He went to 1656 HCU at RAF Lindholme training crews on GEE during conversion onto Lancasters.
Bill returned to ops with 103 Squadron for a second tour in 1943 and flew and a further twenty trips with Tom Prickett, Paddy Torrans and crew.
In September 43, Acting S/L Langstaff became the Base Navigation Leader at RAF Lindholme. In November, Bill transferred to the RCAF and was returned to Canada in charge of a group of airmen many of whom he later learned were designated Lack of Moral Fibre (LMF).
His Base Commander at Lindholme, A/C Banting, had given him a personal letter to deliver to A/M Breadner, then RCAF CAS, and Bill was invited to lunch with the A/M and the Air Staff at Chateau Laurier. Shortly after he was assigned to PR Bond Drive duties at the Robert Simpson store in Toronto where he gave talks on a display of strike photos.
He was then transferred to the Central Navigation School at Rivers, Manitoba for a period but was soon moved to the Trenton Navigation Visiting Flight checking the standards at all of the Air Observer Schools. Then, in October, 1944 as Acting W/C, Bill was posted to Directorate of Air Training in Air Force HQ where he remained until the war ended.
Staff College followed and then it was as CO of RCAF Station Summerside in 1947 as a S/L as 'Reversion Day' had taken place. S/L Walt Davy was CO of the Nav School and S/L Gil Gillespie of the Central Navigation School.
Bill remained here until 1949 when he was promoted to W/C and returned to AFHQ on the Navigation Training Staff. Bill then was assigned to personnel duties with Air Material Command and did a similar tour with Air Transport Command at Lachine.
In 1960 he was promoted to G/C and took up duties as the Air Attache in Cairo from which he retired in 1964. Following retirement Bill was employed for 5 years with AIC St Jean, Quebec but then retired back to the family farm just outside Belle-Jean. He was also busy with an insurance company and active with the Air Force Association.
Bill gave up active farming in 2000 at the age of 86 and, with his wife Edie, spent time visiting his family (his eldest son lived in the Bahamas) fishing and writing.
Obituary edited by David Fell