Warrant Officer Ronald Dunbar
The 13th March 1943, turned out to be unlucky for Kenley’s 403 squadron, RCAF. They were detailed to escort sixty Flying Fortresses on a bombing raid to the marshalling yards at Amiens..
Disastrously, the bombers were twenty minutes late for their rendezvous with their fighter escort and didn’t fly directly to their target. By the time they reached the French coast, the Spitfires were short of fuel. Two pilots were lost and at least two more crash landed. Only three of the twelve Spitfires made it back to Kenley.
WARRANT OFFICER RONALD DUNBAR was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan on 20th April, 1923. His parents, Alexander and Janet Dunbar (nee Dean) were both born in Scotland.
At High School, Ronald was above average academically and outstanding in track and field athletics. He left school aged 17 and worked as a postal clerk for a few months before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force in February 1941. He was put on Special Reserve until his 18th Birthday and finally took his oath on 8th May 1941.
During training Dunbar’s lack of discipline seems to have held him back a bit, but this was put down to his youth. One report noted that he, “had ability beyond what was applied,” but lacked ambition.
Ronald passed his training and was awarded his pilot’s flying badge on 16th January, 1942. He was posted overseas and arrived in Britain in March of that year and spent a couple of weeks at No.5(P) Advanced Flying Unit, before being sent to No. 61 Operational Training Unit at RAF Rednal on 2nd June, 1942.
Dunbar joined 403 squadron on 25th August, 1942, at RAF Catterick and was still with them when they moved south to Kenley at the end of January, 1943.
Ronald lost his life on 13th March, during ‘Ramrod’ 43. His Spitfire (BS196) was last seen descending in flames in the area of Grandvilliers.
He was only 19 years old when he died
Ronald Dunbar was posthumously promoted to Warrant Officer Class II.
Rest in peace Sir, and thank you for your service.