Flying Officer Ira William Sumner - 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit  

Flying Officer Ira William "Bill" Sumner - RCAF



Bill Sumner was born on August the 12th 1924 in London, Ontario and  enlisted in the RCAF on September the 3rd 1942.

His postings included:

He attended the Wartime Emergency Training Program in Hamilton, Ontario.

No.1 Manning Depot, Ontario

No.3 Initial Training School, Victoriaville, Quebec

No.11 Elementary Flying Training School, Cap-de-La-Madelaine, Quebec, learning to fly on the Fleet Finch (June-July 1943).

No.5 Service Flying Training School, Brantford, Ontario (Flying Avro Anson’s Aug-Nov.1943)

Posted overseas to No 20(P) Advanced Flying Unit, RAF Kidlington and the satellite aerodrome at Weston-on-the-Green on Airspeed Oxfords.


 In the fall of 1944, Bill was assigned to No 20 OTU at Lossiemouth, Scotland where he selected his crew. Bill flew Vickers Armstrong Wellington Mk.X aircraft at the OTU followed by the Handley Page Halifax Mk.III at 1663 HCU, RAF Rufforth and the Avro Lancaster BI/III at No 1668 HCU at RAF Bottesford.


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


The entire crew was proud to have a Skipper as competent and capable as Bill and more than once they attributed their safe take-offs and landings to Bill’s flying abilities.

Bill at 20 OTU

Bill was discharged from the RCAF on October the 18th 1945. He was married to his wife, Kay, for over sixty years. He passed away in December of 2010 and is greatly missed.

 Photo courtesy of the Bill Sumner and Bob Fulford, research by Linda Ibrom.