Forty-Eight Operations with 405 Squadron – Doug Renton’s Story

by Doug Renton DFC

Born in Scotland, Doug moved with his family to Victoria BC when he was a child. He initially enlisted as a radio mechanic, but ‘re-mustered’ to aircrew and trained as a navigator at No. 9 AOS (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec).

Doug completed forty-eight operations as a navigator with No. 405 PFF Squadron RCAF, flying with F/Lt. Lawrence L. ‘Mac’ MacKinnon DSO DFC. His operational flying began on 15 September 1943 and his last operation was on 28 June 1944. Doug and his crew flew during what was the most dangerous period of Bomber Command’s war, when what became known as the Battle of Berlin was on -in fact, Doug logged eleven trips to the ‘Big City’. He also participated in the infamous Nuremburg Raid when Bomber Command suffered its worst losses of the war -96 bombers shot down and a further 10 written-off after landing, making a total of 106 aircraft lost. 545 airmen were lost that night, more than were lost in the entire Battle of Britain. Doug was extremely fortunate to have survived forty-eight operations during these most-dangerous months.

405 Squadron commander Johnny Fauquier (left) with Doug Renton.

Doug Renton’s Operations Diary

Following his twenty-ninth operation, Doug was awarded the DFC. The recommendation letter written by 405 Squadron commander, W/C Reg Lane, reads, “This officer is a highly efficient navigator who has completed 29 operational sorties against such heavily defended enemy targets as Berlin, Leipzig, and Frankfurt. The courage, skill and devotion to duty displayed by this officer in the performance of his duties has set a fine example to his crew and the squadron generally. Strongly recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross.”

Doug Renton not only wrote a detailed diary entry following each of his forty-eight operations, he supplemented it with related newspaper clippings of the day. It is one of the museum’s archives’ most prized documents.

‘G-George’ Lancaster ND709 or PB451; F/Lt. L.L. MacKinnon aircrew and ground crew.Front Row (l-r):Bob Nicholson (fitter); F/Lt. Doug Renton DFC (Navigator);G..Connell DFM (Wireless Op.); F/S John Rennie DFM (Mid-upper Gunner);S/L L.L. MacKinnon DSO DFM (Pilot); F/S T. Waters DFM (Rear Gunner); F/Lt. Ross Baroni DFC (Visual Bomb Aimer);F/O Ed Chappell DFM (Flight Engineer); F/Lt Vic Bowden DFC (Set Operator); Sgt. McKiney (Ground Crew Chief -‘G-George’)