Thomas Edward CARLON (1917-1950)



CARLON, Thomas Edward, DFM, POW




Royal Canadian Air Force



Service No.:


Unit Text:

No.405 Squadron

Date of Birth:

9 September 1917 - Montreal, PQ

Date of Death:

16 August 1950 -

CARLON, Sergeant Thomas Edward (R79113) - Distinguished Flying Medal - No.405 Squadron - Award effective 29 October 1942 as per London Gazette dated 10 November 1942 and AFRO 1870/42 dated 20 November 1942. Born in Montreal, 9 September 1917 (birthdate from obituary); home there (sale clerk); enlisted there 7 February 1941 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.1 ITS, 27 May 1941; graduated and promoted LAC on 3 July 1941; posted that date to No.10 EFTS. Ceased training and posted elsewhere, 17 July 1941; to No.9 AOS, 14 September 1941; to No.4 BGS, 20 December 1941. Promoted Sergeant, 31 January 1942. Posted that date to No.2 ANS. To "Y" Depot, 3 March 1942. To RAF overseas, 19 March 1942. Commissioned 21 September 1942 (J16815). Reported missing, 12 March 1943. Reported safe in UK, 9 May 1945. Repatriated 8 July 1945. Released 2 September 1945. Died 16 August 1950. Award sent by registered mail 1 March 1946. Cited with Sergeant George Theodore Chretien.

One night in October 1942, Sergeants Chretien and Carlon were pilot and navigator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Kiel. Whilst over the target area anti-aircraft fire was encountered and Sergeant Chretien was wounded in the neck. Although bleeding profusely, he bravely remained at his post, ordered his bombs to be released, and skillfully piloted his aircraft from the fire zone. On the return flight, Sergeant Carlon, with great forethought attended and assisted his wounded captain whilst skillfully navigating his aircraft on its course. Whilst nearing the base Sergeant Chretien, who had been resting, resumed the controls and, despite his injuries, succeeded in landing the aircraft safely. Both these airmen displayed high courage and devotion to duty.

NOTE: DHist file 181.009 D.2902 (RG.24 Volume 20633) has recommendations for both men, dated 15 October 1942, which are far more detailed and dramatic. Carlon had completed four sorties (27 hours 13 minutes) and the text read:

Sergeant Carlon was navigator on the night of 13th October 1942 over Kiel when his pilot, Sergeant Chretien, was badly wounded in the neck by flak. This Non-Commissioned Officer at once realized the seriousness of the situation and assumed directional control. He watched and tended the pilot very carefully and at the same time made sure that all other members of the crew were kept busy with various tasks. Once over the enemy coast he induced the pilot to sit back and rest while the aircraft was flown back to within five miles of base on the automatic pilot. The navigation he carried out between times was by a northerly route in order to minimize the risk of fighter interception. This he did with such skill that the crew as a whole became confident of a successful conclusion to their trip.

With nicely judged psychology he kept his pilot on oxygen and free from physical effort throughout the return and finally in the approach and landing arranged for physical assistance on the control column by the flight engineer and himself helped with the throttles.

Sergeant Carlon has already displayed such coolness and resolution as a member of his crew that they esteem it a great privilege to have him with them. This episode amply shows that he possesses very considerable powers of leadership. For such courage and initiative he is strongly recommended for the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Further Note: Halifax BB212 of No.405 Squadron (LQ-U) was airborne from Topcliffe, 1903 hours, 11 March 1943. Shot down by an Me.110 from 17,000 feet, prior to reaching the target. Sergeant R. Moore killed (buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery); Flight Sergeant G.T. Chretien, DFM, RCAF and Flight Sergeant T.E. Carlon, DFM, RCAF, both prisoners of war; Sergeant A.C.Collin, RCAF, POW; P/O J.S.Probert, RCAF, POW; Sergeant H.G.Reynolds, RCAF, POW, Sergeant A.E. Danes, RCAF, POW.

Directorate of History and Heritage file 181.001.D.24 has his "Loss Bomber Aircraft" questionnaire compiled from interrogation of 11 May 1945. He stated he had flown 15 sorties. Although the account suggests a "Jazz Music" attack from below, that particular weapon was not used at this date. For a comparative account see entry for Sergeant George T. Chretien, DFM.

March 11th, 1943 - 10.00 p.m. - Clear night, full moon. Target Stuttgart. Thirty minutes from target passed over lights, probably aerodrome. Shortly after tail gunner saw one Me.110. Pilot turned into the Me.110. Me.110 circled aircraft, gunners unable to get in a shot. Messerschmitt directly below aircraft, out of range for tail and nose gunners. First burst came through floor - second, third and fourth from same position. Navigator wounded - hydraulics unserviceable. One intercom unserviceable. Unable to release bombs. Nose and tail gunners firing at Me.110. Mid-Upper gunner - no turret, no guns, giving directions to pilot, observed the Me.110 through blister on floor. Me.110 one engine on fire, still attacking. We are out of control, pilot orders to bale out. Myself first. Landed near Heidleberg - baled out at 6-7,000 feet. Heard that Me.110 also crashed in same vicinity. Out of port hatch, thrown clear of aircraft.

SOURCE: Air Force Association of Canada website & Hugh Halliday (July 30, 2010).

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