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.
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.