ALEXANDER GAIR FLEMING

R.C.A.F. J/23722

 

Alex. was born on 1 July 1920 to parents, James Fleming and Jessie (Janet) Gair. Being born in 1920 made him the ideal age to participate in the Second World War. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. where he served with the # 6 Bomber Group (Tiger Squadron 424) flying bombing missions over Germany.

He was stationed at Skipton-on-Swales, Yorkshire, England. On the night of March 24/25 1944 he and his crew flew on a mission intended to bomb Berlin. (See end Notes) The crew of QB-R consisted of:

K.I.A. F/O William Ernest Krampe J24321 Quebec City, P.Q. Reichswald Cem. Germany 20 Years of age.
K.I.A. P/O William Gerard Tillman J88771 London Ont. Age 22 Reichswald Cem. Germany
F/O Alexander Gair Fleming J23722 P.O.W. #3989 LUFT 1
Sgt. L. G. Jewell J87080 P.O.W. #3999 LUFT 1
Sgt. E. Evans R187401 P.O.W. #3365 LUFT 6
Sgt. L. R. Wilson P.OW

With a target of Berlin, their plane was attacked and they were forced to bailout . Their plane, an R.C.A.F. Halifax 111 bomber LW 435. Coded QB-R, crashed. F/O Krampe and P/O W. Tillman were killed and the others were taken prisoners of war by the Germans.

A Halifax Bomber crew consisted of seven Members. Their respective jobs were: Pilot  / Engineer /  Bomb Aimer/Observer /  Navigator /  Wireless Operator / Mid Upper Gunner /  Tail Gunner

Alex told the story of parachuting from the plane (over Holland?) to land in a tree. As it was dark, he had to hang there until first light to see how far he was from the ground. At first light he discovered that he was only a few feet from the ground. Once down he made his way to a farm house. The persons had him hide in a trunk, while unknown to him, they went for the local authorities. He was thus captured. After interrogation he said that his worst time came when the Germans marched him and others through the streets of towns where some of the citizens who had received bombings showed their disapproval by throwing things at them and tried to get at them. He feared that the German guards would let the citizens attack them. Nothing further happened and they reached the relative safety of the train that took them to captivity.

Note 1: In researching, it was noted that MOST Air Crew were interrogated at Dulag Luft located in Oberursel before being sent to the various prison camps.

The camp was Stalag Luft 1 at Barth in the northern part of Germany on the Baltic coast. He was give the P.O.W. number of #3989. He was placed in the "South/West" Barracks #5 in room #21.

 

His fellow roommates were: L to R: Bob Elvin, Bill Hastie, "Doc" Gillespie, Fred Carter, Alex Fleming and Jim MacKintosh.

Alex. Fleming RCAF J23722 POW #3989 Toronto Ont. Canada 424 Sqdrn. Mar. 24/25 1944 Halifax 111 LW435 QB-R

Fred A. Carter RAF J62627 POW #4593 Barnstaple, Devon ,England
F/O R.C. Elvin RCAF J19636 POW #3909 Toronto, Ont. Canada 432 Sqdrn. Mar. 24/25 1944  Halifax 111 LW593 QO-O
W.E. Gillespie RCAF J23361 POW #4099 Brantford, Ont. Canada
P/O Jim MacIntosh R.C.A.F. Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada 432 Sqdrn. Mar. 24/25 1944 Halifax 111 LW593 QO-O
P/O Alec. Small RCAF J21192 POW #4157 Morris, Manitoba, Canada 432 Sqdrn. Mar/ 24/25 1944 Halifax 111 LW593 QO-O
Lou Trove Hempstead Long Island, NY,. U.S.A.
To the best of my knowledge, all remained P.O.W.s until the camp at Barth was liberated by the Russians in May 1945.
Note 2: This information comes from www.Luft1.com

Alexander Gair Fleming Died 19th. April 1973

3 Lancasterís from Squadrons 408 & 425 (I have not found the loss of any Lancaster crews on this date)

90 Halifax 111ís Squadron 420 PT-W LW373

424 QB-R LW435 (Manufactured by English Electric Co. Salmesbury, Preston, England)

425 KW-V LW425 KW-C LW428

427 ZL-V LK752 ZL-J LW574

429 AL-H LK805 AL-J LW688 AL-V LV914

432 QO-O LW593

  • 433 BM-B HX284 BM-H LV841

Note 3: This information is from www.6bombergroup.com

 

Compiled by: Alan Cairns Dec. 30th. 2005