Squadron Leader James Fielden Lambert
S/L JAMES FIELDEN LAMBERT (born 8th April, 1917) was the only son of Archie N. Lambert and Jessie Lambert, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He went to school in Winnipeg and worked for Sharpe, Woodley and Co. Chartered Accountants as an audit clerk, before enlisting in August 1939.
A year later he was called up and completed his training at Camp Borden, graduating as a Sergeant Pilot in April 1941. The following month he was posted overseas, to Britain, and joined 130 squadron at RAF Warmwell in July.
From April until September 1942, “Jim” served in Malta with 185 squadron, where he was shot down and wounded. During his time on the Island, Lambert was “a good fighter pilot,” according to Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, A.O.C. R.A.F. Mediterranean.
He was posted back to Britain as an instructor, before returning to operational flying with 416 squadron on 23rd June 1943, then 403 squadron on 16th October (as Flight Lieutenant) and finally to 421 squadron on 13th December, as Acting Squadron Leader.
Lambert was on his third tour of operations when he was killed in action on 20th December 1943, just over two weeks after his wedding to Miss Peggy Mabel Carpenter at St. Andrew’s Church, Limpsfield Chart. According to the squadron diary, Jimmy had appeared with his “hair combed and buttons shined,” – the squadron had been released for the day and, at the wedding reception, had “descended like a pack of vultures on the alcoholic part of the food.”
At 10am, on the 20th December, James Lambert took off from Kenley with his squadron on Ramrod 375, under the command of W/C Godefroy. When they reached Merville, they were attacked by 18 Me.109s and 20 FW.190s – a huge dogfight ensued.
F/O DeCourcy, Lambert’s No.2, was on his tail as they entered the fray:
“We attacked and I followed S/L Lambert (Black3) down. He fired on a 109 above cloud, went through, fired again and the aircraft disintegrated. This is destroyed. Black three then went up and down through cloud until I lost him. This Me.109 is claimed as destroyed for S/L Lambert.” (Intelligence report)
Towards the end of the dogfight, DeCourcy heard Lambert ask for a homing over the R/T. This was the last heard of him or his Spitfire, MH903.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.
403 squadron RCAF ORB and diary.
Canadian newspaper reports