“For Freedom”

No. 408 “Goose” Squadron was a Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron, based in Britain and under Royal Air Force operational command. The squadron operated as part of Bomber Command’s main force from 24 Jun 1941 until the end of the war. From Jan 1943 it was part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group. The squadrons motto was “For Freedom”

408 Squadron

The squadron began operations with the Handley Page Hampden, before switching to the Merlin powered Halifax in September 1942.


A wintry scene at Balderton in Nottinghamshire on 20 January 1942 as aircrew return from a flight in a Hampden of No 408 (Goose) Squadron, RCAF.

From 20 Sep 1942 until 12 Aug 1943 the squadron was based at Leeming. And in Dec 1942 they started flying the Handley Page Halifax B. Mk II.


Handley Page Hampdens of No. 408 Squadron RCAF being loaded with mines, 1942.

William Andrew Black, my 4th cousin 1x removed, lived at 5510 Blenheim Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His father, William Black was the manager of “The Logger’s Agency Ltd.” and his mother was Dorothy Ellen Castle born in Folkestone, Kent. During school, at St. George’s, William had been a Corporal in the Cadet Corps and spoke both English and French. On 20 Feb 1941 William enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force Special Reserve at the No. 2 Manning Depot, in Brandon, Manitoba. Assigned No. R92198, his trade was standard – “Pilot or Observer”. He had been born 5 Jan 1920 and was now 21 years old.

Two years later he was a Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), no. J/7980, flying with 408 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. He died on 3 Feb 1943 and is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, Germany. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery contains 1,466 Second World War burials, mostly of servicemen who died with the occupying forces, or airmen lost in bombing raids over Germany.




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