Pilot Officer George Deering  - 617 Squadron  

Pilot Officer George Deering (DFC) - RCAF

 Pilot Officer George Deering was serving as a Front Gunner on board Lancaster Mk.III EE-144 coded AJ-S during an operation to breach the Dortmund Ems Canal on September 15/16, 1943. The aircraft departed Scampton at 2356 hours and encountered difficulty when attempting to clear a church steeple in the town of Nordhoorn. After gaining altitude to clear the obstacle a flak gun opened up on the aircraft, the rear gunner fired back and disabled the gun but the Lancaster was mortally wounded as its starboard fuel tank caught fire. The aircraft rolled uncontrollably and crashed near the edge of town, the entire crew was lost.

 The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown Age
S/L George Holden (DFC, DSO & MiD) RAFVR Pilot Twickenham, Middlesex 30
Sgt Dennis Powell RAFVR Flight Engineer Sidcup, Kent 21
F/L Torger Harlo Taerum (DFC) RCAF Navigator Calgary, Alberta -
F/L Robert Hutchison (DFC & Bar) RAFVR W/Op/AG Liverpool 25
F/O Frederick Spafford (DFC & DFM) RAAF Bomb Aimer - 25
P/O George Deering (DFC) RCAF Front Gunner Toronto, Ontario 24
F/O Henry Pringle (DFC) RAFVR M/U Gunner - -
P/O T. Meikle (DFM) RAFVR Rear Gunner - -


 George Deering, along with F/L Taerum, F/L Hutchison and F/O Spafford flew as part of Wing Commander Guy Gibson's crew during the famous Dams raid in the spring of 1943. He manned the front turret of the Lancaster during the attack on the Mohne dam during which he fired on enemy defences and afterwards as W/C Gibson flew cover for another attacking Lancaster. For his actions he and and the nine other airmen flying with various 617 squadron crews that night were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, their collective citation reads:


"On the night of the 16th May, 1943, a force of Lancaster bombers was detailed to attack the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany.  The operation was one of great difficulty and hazard, demanding a high degree of skill and courage and close co-operation between the crews of the aircraft engaged.  Nevertheless, a telling blow was struck at the enemy by the successful breaching of the Mohne and Eder dams.  This outstanding success reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of the above mentioned personnel who participated in the operation, in various capacities as members of aircraft crew"

 Following the Dams raid George and most of his crew were assigned to fly as Squadron Leader Holden's crew. George Andrew Deering was the son of Samuel Deering and of Martha Deering of Toronto, Ontario, he enlisted in the RCAF in July of 1941. He is buried with his crew in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

  Photos courtesy of the RCAF Museum.