Preparation
  Flying Officer James O'Neil- 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit  
 

Flying Officer James Franklin O'Neil - RCAF

 

 

Flying Officer Jim O’Neil RCAF was born on July the 28th 1921 in London, Ontario.

After enlistment and basic training Jim attended No. 5 Air Observer School from August 22nd 1943 to January 14th 1944 based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Jim graduated at the rank of Sergeant as a qualified Air Navigator having flown nearly 100 hours in Avro Anson Mark I and II aircraft.

 

On posting overseas he attended No 7(O) Advanced Flying Unit Course No. 95 (RAF Bishops Court) from August the 9th 1944 to September the 3rd 1944 also on Ansons. Receiving commission as a Flying Officer, Jim joined the Sumner crew in September 1944 at No. 20 OTU as their Navigator. The crew always had great confidence in Jim’s abilities as their Navigator knowing that he kept them plotted on course and on track about the skies.  At the time of Jim’s service Gee and H2S were available as plotting tools and Jim was proficient in the use of these navigational electronic aids and airborne radar.  Jim’s wit and sense of humour was exceeded only by his skill and ability in the art of aerial navigation and he was a valued member of the Sumner crew.

The crew consisted of:

 

Name Service Trade Hometown 
F/O “Bill” Sumner  RCAF Pilot London, Ontario
Sgt Jim “Jock” Oliver  RAFVR Flight Engineer Edinburgh, Scotland
F/O Jim O’Neil  RCAF Navigator London, Ontario
F/Sgt William Lloyd Fulford  RCAF Bomb Aimer Clinton, Ontario
F/Sgt T. "Yogi" Merchant  RCAF W/Op/AG Toronto, Ontario
W/O Harry Armstrong RAAF M/U  Gunner Allendale, Australia
F/O Bill Gordon RCAF Rear  Gunner Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

 

Jim was married to Audrey (MacDonald).  Predeceased by his wife, Jim passed away on June the 30th 2003 in Goderich, Ontario. 

 

 

 

 Photo courtesy of Bob Fulford, special thanks to Rob Milroy, research by Linda Ibrom.