Saviour of Ceylon
Royal Canadian Air Force
Leonard Joseph Birchall, was born 6th July 1915, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada, the only son of Joseph and Emma Elise Birchall. He had two sisters, Elizabeth and Ina. As a boy he was fascinated with aeroplanes and after he graduating from school, where he obtained the nickname of ‘Birch’, he worked at a number of jobs to fulfil his dream of being a pilot, by taking flying lesson at the local club.
Birch joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, but quickly realised his dream of flying was not with them, so in 1933 he became ‘Gentleman Cadet No. 2364’ at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario. After four years he was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Air Force and his dream of flying became reality. After pilot training at Borden and Trenton, he was posted to 5 Squadron in Nova Scotia, which was a Bombing and Reconnaissance Squadron.
When Canada entered the war against Germany in 1939 he was flying in antisubmarine patrols.
Existence as a PoW
Appendix - The Crew
My thanks to Arthena Trevitt for pointing me towards the ‘Saviour of Ceylon’ and his crew.