Russell Bannock DSO DFC* 1919-
Russell Bannock, born in Edmonton in 1919, had worked as a commercial pilot before the Second World War even got started.
After entering the Royal Canadian Air Force, he received his wings in 1940 and was appointed flight commander. Bannock was an instructor at Trenton, Ontario before he began flying for the Royal Air Force Ferry Command in June 1942.This posting ended in August.
In September, Bannock became a chief instructor at the Flying Instructor School at Arnprior, Ontario. Bannock then formally requested to go overseas and his request was granted in 1944 when he was transferred to Number 60 Operational Training Unit based in Ercall, Shropshire, England.
Once Bannock’s operational training was complete, he was transferred to 418 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flying intruder missions over Europe in the Mosquito. He quickly achieved his first victories and was promoted to the rank of flight commander. Soon he was promoted again to wing commander, and in October 1944, took full command of 418 Squadron.
Bannock was primarily responsible for shooting down German V-1 "flying bombs" that were causing havoc in London and southern England. On one mission alone he shot down four V-1s in one hour. Another of his talents was carrying out intruder missions against enemy airfields, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). A bar for his DFC was added for his effective missions against the V-1s.
Bannock was transferred to 406 Squadron in November 1944 as the commanding officer, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) as an outstanding leader.
By April 1945, Bannock was given the title, "The Saviour of London," for destroying 11 enemy aircraft and 19 and one-half V-1 "flying bombs." He was also acknowledged as the RCAF’s top night fighter during WWII.
Bannock later became the director of operations, RCAF Overseas Headquarters, in London in May 1945. He remained in this position until September 1945 when he attended the Royal Air Force Staff College.
Retiring from the air force in 1946, he accepted a position at de Havilland Aircraft Company as chief test pilot and operations manager. He was the first to fly prototypes of aircraft like the Beaver and other short take-off and landing aircraft. In 1950, Bannock took the position of director of military sales, and later became vice president. He remained with de Havilland until 1968 when he established his own consulting business, Bannock Aerospace Ltd.
In 1956, Bannock was appointed an associate fellow of the Canadian Aeronautical Institute. He was chairman of the Canadian Aerospace Industries Association’s Export Committee from 1964 to 1968, and was its director from 1976 to 1977.
Bannock also held the positions of president of the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association, the director of the Canadian Industrial Preparedness Association, and the Canadian Exporters Association. He was known as the second highest scoring Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War.