Alexander, James Richard

Personal Information

Rank F/O
Forename(s) James Richard
Surname Alexander
Gender M
Age 27
Date of Death 13-06-1944
Next of Kin Son of Raleigh Wilson Alexander and Edith Mae Alexander (née Kirkpatrick), of Nanaimo, British Columbia. Husband of Phyllis Mary Alexander (née Lovelace) . Marriage in Putney, London, on 1 June 1943.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Handley Page Halifax III
Serial Number LW173
Markings WL-K

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country France
Burial/Memorial Place Calais Canadian War Cemetery, Leubringhen
Grave Reference 4. G. 10.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 122

Enlistment Information

Service Number J/17186
Service Royal Canadian Air Force
Group 6
Squadron 434 (Bluenose)
Trade Air Bomber
Country of Origin Canada

Other Memorials

Location Race Control Building, Croft Auto Circuit, North Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Metal Plaque
Memorial Text In memory of those who served at RAF Croft, 1941-1945 including 419 Sqn RCAF
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Location Roadside Location, A167, Dalton on Tees, North Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Stone Memorial topped with metal statue
Memorial Text In memory of those who served at RAF Croft, 1941-1945 including 419 Sqn RCAF
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Location Village Green, Tholthorpe, North Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Memorial Stone with inscribed Metal Plaque and Maple Tree
Memorial Text A memorial to those Canadians who served at RCAF Tholthorpe during WW2, including 434 Sqn RCAF
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Location Former Control Tower, old Tholthorpe airfield site, North Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Metal Plaque
Memorial Text A memorial to those Canadians who served at RCAF Tholthorpe during WW2, including 434 Sqn RCAF
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Miscellaneous Information

James was born on 25 December 1916 in Cabri Saskatchewan. His father was an Operating Engineer and electrician, born in Indiana, USA and his mother was born in Goderick, Ontario. They lived in Nanaimo. He had a sister Anna and brothers Laurence and Robert. James went to Mountain School 1923-1931; Brechen Superior, Nanaimo 1931-1933 and Harewood High 1933-1934. He also took a Theory Course in radio, at night school. The sports Alexander was interested in were football, baseball and softball but he had given up most of them as he was away at a logging camp. James worked for four years in Nanaimo for the Duncan Light and Power Company in Stockroom and Line Construction, 1934-1939 and as a Pitman on gas shovel for Mayo Brothers, 1939-1940.
Enlisting on 25 January 1941 and after initial training, James embarked from Canada on 23 October 1941. He arrived at 3 PRC 4 November 1941, 22 OTU 24 March 1942; 1652 CU 22 June 1942; 405 Sqn 10 July 1942, 419 Sqn 8 May 1943 and 434 Squadron 15 June 1943.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 12-06-1944
End Date 13-06-1944
Takeoff Station Croft
Day/Night Raid Night (58% moon)
Operation Arras- to attack lines of communication. Part of a 671 aircraft force to further hamper lines of communications leading to the Normandy area. Cambrai and Caen attacks were scattered but Amiens, Arras and Poitiers were accurate. 23 aircraft were Lost (3.4%) including that of Charles Mynarski VC, the subject of the Canadian Lancaster 'Vera'.
Reason for Loss Shot down by a night-fighter and crashed Givenchy-en-Gohelle in the Pas-de-Calais, France

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.