Private James Franklin Karl Crowe – C 426243 — NON-PERMANENT ACTIVE MILITIA
James Franklin Karl was 21 years, 1 month and 2 weeks old when, as a single man, he enlisted August 12, 1940 with the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada at Peterborough Ontario. He lived at 349 Reid Street, Peterborough, he was born in Ringwood Ontario, gave his birth-date as June 25, 1919 and indicate that he had no previous military experience. His previous employment was listed a mechanic. At the time he was 5′ 11¾” tall (probably with shoes on), weighed 161 pounds, blue eyes and brown hair. His next-of-kin was his father, Mr. Richard Crowe of RR #2, Lakefield Ontario. He entered the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada as a Private with service number C 426243 as a member of the Prince of Wales Rangers (Machine Gun), at Peterborough Ontario. Private Crowe attended a course at the Non-Permanent Active Militia Training Centre, No 32 at Peterborough Ontario. The course was from October 15 and ended November 7, 1940. Shortly after completing the course he was released from the Militia to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Flight Sergeant James Franklin Karl Crowe – R 85550 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
James Franklin Karl was 21 years, 5 months and 2 weeks old when, as a single man, he enlisted December 12, 1940, for the duration, at the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Recruitment Centre, Toronto Ontario as an Aircraftman, 2nd Class (AC 2), with Service Number R 85550, under General Duties. He lived at 151 Park Street, Toronto Ontario, stated that he was born at Whitchurch*, York County and gave his birth-date as June 25, 1919. James indicate that he had 2 months previous military experience with the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada, Prince of Wales Rangers (Machine Gun), at Peterborough Ontario. His previous employment was listed a motor mechanic. On his Attestation Paper James gave William Grey of Lakefield, Ontario, a labourer and Perce Edwards of Peterborough, Ontario, a service station lessee as character references. At the time he was 5′ 10¼” tall, weighed 146 pounds, chest 39½”, blue eyes and brown hair. His next-of-kin was his father, Mr. Richard Crowe of RR #2, Lakefield Ontario and also Mr. W. H. Gray of Lakefield, Ontario. *Ringwood is within Whitchurch-Stouffville, hence the same place of birth as given in the Militia.
December 14, 1940 AC 2 Crowe was taken on strength to the No 1 Military Depot (MD), Toronto Ontario for 30 days compulsory military training which consisted of countless orders, foot drill, exercise, study, meals and bedtime; all in unison. There were the endless series of inoculations, the medicals and ironing their clothing which made the recruits more mature, physically fit and disciplined. Also on December 14, 1940 AC 2 Crowe was occupying public quarters. January 3, 1941 he was transferred from No 1 MD and was then taken on strength with the RCAF Headquarters (HQ) in Ottawa Ontario on January 4, 1941. Also, on January 4, 1941 AC 2 Crowe was granted subsistence allowance. On March 12, 1941 AC 2 Crowe was promoted to Aircraftman, 1st Class (AC 1). On June 12, 1941 AC 1 Crowe was promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC). On June 30, 1941 he was granted 14 days leave to July 14, 1941. On December 19, 1941 LAC Crowe was granted Special Leave with a Travel Warrant.
On April 1, 1942 LAC Crowe was promoted to the paid rank of Acting Corporal (A/Cpl) and the same day he was promoted to the paid rank of Corporal (Cpl). Although Cpl Crowe was employed as Ground Crew, general duties, on June 19, 1942 he was interviewed for the purpose of being re-mustered to Aircrew. He displayed a good ability to learn, particularly the good test results for the Air Gunnery category. He was a solid, dependable person very anxious to enter Aircrew. Cpl Crowe was recommended for Air Gunner training. On June 26, 1942 LAC Crowe was granted Special Leave with a Travel Warrant. Then on June 29, 1942 he was granted 14 days annual leave to July 13, 1942 On July 18, 1942 Cpl Crowe was transferred from the RCAF HQ and subsistence allowance ceased. Then July 19, 1942 Cpl Crowe was taken on strength with No 6 Bombing and Gunnery School (BGS), Mountain View Ontario for Air Gunner training. The air gunners fired at target drogues towed by other aircraft such as the Fairey Battle and the Westland Lysander; outdated light-bombers. After almost 3 months of training, on October 9, 1942 Cpl Crowe was presented with his Air Gunner Badge. October 10, 1942, having successfully completed the Air Gunner Course, Cpl Crowe was transferred from No 6 BGS and promoted to the rank of Sergeant (Sgt). Also on October 10, 1942 he was granted 14 days embarkation leave to October 24, 1942.
Then on October 11, 1942 Sgt Crowe was taken on strength to No 1 “Y” Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia. October 27, 1942 Sgt Crowe was transferred from No 1 “Y” Depot and taken on strength with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Training Pool. October 28, 1942 Sgt Crowe embarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia and disembarked in the United Kingdom (UK) November 6, 1942. He was taken on strength with the 3 Personnel Reception Centre (3 PRC) November 6, 1942. On December 13, 1942 Sgt Crowe was transferred from the 3 PRC and taken on strength to the 24 Operational Training Unit (24 OTU) at RAF Honeybourne as part of No. 7 Group RAF Bomber Command to train night bomber crews. On December 24, 1942 Sgt Crowe was granted 7 days Privileged Leave to 30 December 1942.
On March 17, 1943 Sgt Crowe was granted 12 days Privileged Leave to 28 March 1943. March 29, 1943 saw Sgt Crowe transferred to the RAF Station Driffield from 24 OTU. On April 9, 1943 Sgt Crowe was promoted to the rank of Flight Sergeant (F/Sgt). Then April 17, 1943 he was moved to No 1658 Conversion Unit (CU) from RAF Station Driffield. On April 30, 1943 F/Sgt Crowe joined 10 Squadron (RAF), as an Air Gunner on a Halifax Bomber, from the No 1658 CU. On June 23, 1943 it was reported by 10 Squadron (RAF) that F/Sgt Crowe and his crew were missing and believed dead, in the Mülhein area, a city in North-Westphalia, Germany. The same day he was taken on strength to No 1 Depot – Non-Effective (N/E) and it was stated he was presumed dead.
From the “Thou Shall Grow Not Old” — A Book Of Remembrance – Thanks to F/Sgt Arnold Graham
CROWE, JAMES FRANKLIN KARL Flight Sergeant, Air Gunner R 85550. From Lakefield, Ontario. Killed in Action June 23, 1943 age 20. # 10 Squadron (Rem Acu Tangere). Target – Mülheim, Germany. Halifax aircraft # BB 324 was shot down off the Dutch Coast during a night trip to Mülheim, Germany. Flight Sergeant Timothy Leo MacAskill, Air Gunner R 104425 and five of the crew, not Canadians, were missing and believed killed. Flight Sergeant Air Gunner Crowe is interred in the Noordwijk General Cemetery, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.
Flight Sergeant Crowe was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
Air Crew Europe Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for the General Service Badge. In 2013 Canada started to issue a Bomber Command Bar for qualified Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew members. This Bar may be received by a qualified family member of deceased Air Crew qualifiers by contacting Veteran’s Affairs Canada.
James Franklin Karl Crowe served for 1 year, 10 months; 2 weeks in Canada and 8 months in the United Kingdom for a total of 2 year 6 months and 2 weeks.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
From a Peterborough Examiner newspaper clipping:
Richard Crowe of McCracken’s Landing has been notified that his son, Sergeant James Franklin Carl Crowe is to be considered missing, believed killed, as indicated by Red Cross information that his body was recovered from the sea on July 8, (1943).
The text of the official message from Ottawa was as follows: Regret to advise that International Red Cross quoting German information, states the body of your son, Sergeant James Franklin Carl Crowe was recovered from the sea, but does not give additional particulars. Pending further information, your son is to be considered missing, believed killed.
Sergeant Crowe went overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force last November.
He had been called up for military service, took thirty days basic training in Peterborough and immediately enlisted in the R.C.A.F.
Lived In Lakefield.
Born at McCracken’s Landing, he had grown up through boyhood at Lakefield. His mother died when he was eighteen months old, and his aunt, Mrs. W. Gray* of Lakefield, took his as a baby and brought him up in the village. After school days he returned to the home of his father, came to Peterboro eventually and was employed at the service station of Percy Edwards at Burnham and Hunter Streets at the time of his enlistment.
He graduated In the R.C.A.F. as an air gunner. Sergeant Crowe would have been twenty four on June 25, (1943).
He is survived by his father and four brothers:— Glenn of the Peterborough Bus Company, Taylor Crowe with Johnson Motors; Chester of Toronto and Hilliard of’ Lakefield; and three sisters, Alice of Toronto, Mrs. Amy Harris, Toronto and Mrs. Cora Newell of Hamilton.
*aunt Lona and William (Billy) Gray
From a Peterborough Examiner newspaper clipping:
FLIGHT SERGEANT J. CROWE BURIED IN HOLLAND
Mr. Richard Crowe, RR No. 2, Lakefield, has been advised by the Royal Canadian Air Force Casualties Officer, Overseas, that his son Flight Sergeant James Franklin Karl Crowe has been buried in a cemetery in Nordwijk, Holland.
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant at the time he was reported missing, and it was not until some time later that he was reported killed in action.
JAMES FRANKLIN KARL CROWE
James Franklin Karl was born June 25, 1919 in Whitchurch, York County, Ontario to Richard Crowe, born in Dummer Township Ontario, and Mary Elizabeth Lewis, born in Norwood, Ontario. James was born the youngest of 8 children; his mother Mary died April 7, 1921 when he was 1 year, 10 months old. James was raised, as a son, by his Uncle William (Billy) and Aunt Lona Gray, who lived in Lakefield. James went by the nickname “Jimmy”.
Jimmy completed 1½ years of High School at Lakefield, Ontario. After his school days, he returned to the home of his father. He played hockey and rugby. Jimmy was a motor mechanic, he worked 1 year for the Imperial Oil Company and 3 years for the Shell Oil Company. He eventually moved to Peterborough and was employed at the service station of Percy Edwards located at the corner of Burnham and Hunter Streets at the time of his enlistment.
THE JAMES FRANKLIN KARL CROWE FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
James Franklin Karl’s paternal grandparents are William Francis “Hatch” Crowe and Martha “Mattie” Mathews. His maternal grandparents are Thomas Lewis and Mary J. Sloane.
James Franklin Karl’s parents; Richard Crowe was born in Dummer Township on July 4, 1871 and his wife Mary Elizabeth Lewis was born in October 1879. They were married on September 5, 1898 in Bancroft, Ontario. Richard and Mary had 8 children: Amy Luella; Chester Allen; Richard “Glen”; Hilliard Ernest; Agnes Adeline; Albert “Taylor”; Alice and James Franklin Karl Crowe.
James Franklin Karl Crowe’s mother Mary died in 1921 when James was three years old. He was adopted by his Aunt Lona Luella Crowe, sister of James’ father, Richard Crowe and Uncle William Henry Gray. Richard Crowe died in 1955 and is buried with his wife in the Norwood-Asphodel Cemetery.
73 77 Orford St. London. W. 1.
8th July, 1943
Dear Mr. Crowe:
It is with deep regret that I must confirm the information which you have already received from Air Force Headquarter, Ottawa, which stated that your son Sergeant James Franklin Karl Crowe was reported missing as the result of air operations on the night of the 22nd/23rd June 1943.
Your son was Air Gunner of a Halifax aircraft, which took off at 11.17 p.m. on the night of June 22nd for operations against the enemy, and failed to return. No information has since been received concerning him however, enquiries are continuing through the International Red Cross Committee, and all other available sources, and any news which may be forthcoming, will be communicated to you at once by Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa.
Please accepting deepest sympathy with you in your great anxiety.
Stamped signature – MILTON A. FOSS
(Milton A. Foss) Flight Lieutenant,
for Air Officer Commanding in Chief,
Royal Canadian Air Force, Overseas.
Mr. R. Crowe,
C A N A D A