Wing Commander Montague Francis Baldwin READ

read - Copy

Wing Commander Read.
This fine officers short tenure as
squadron commander is all too
often forgotten from the history books.


Montague Francis Baldwin Read 33076
Born: 29th April 1912, Est Wellington, Vancouver, Canada
Educated: Glebe Collegiate Public School Ottawa, Canada
Son of Major G.B Read
Died: October 1/2nd 1942

Awards : None found.
15.01.1933: Commissioned with rank of pilot officer
15.01.1935: Flying Officer
15.01.1937: Flight Lieutenant
01.04.1939: Squadron Leader
01.06.1941: Wing Commander 

Postings (Known)

Biggin Hill (Unknown)
27.09.1933 No.99 (Bomber) Squadron RAF Catfoss.
03.02.1936 No.10 Flying Training School RAF Ternhill, Shropshire.
23.09.1936 No.83 (Bomber) Squadron  RAF Turnhouse, Scotland
Electrical & Wireless School, Turnhouse, Scotland. 1937
HQ RAF Station Aldergrove, Northern Ireland. 1938
HQ British Forces Aden, 28.10.1938.
HQ RAF Cairo. Served Steamer Point, Asmarea and British Somaliland.
Served in a Desert Squadron (Unknown) June 1941
Seconded to the American Legation (Admin) Cairo, Egypt.
Posted back to England June 1942.
No.1651 Conversion Unit August 1942
01.09.1942 Command of No.218 Squadron

Former sergeant in the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. Granted a Governor General nomination to the RAF College (Lord Willington was the Governor at the time). Entered RAF College, Cranwell Lincolnshire September 3rd 1933. Received his Blue Badge from RAF College, Cranwell for being an outstanding athlete, this entitled him to wear a special badge and scarf. Fenced at the royal Tournament. Also played cricket , hockey and tennis.  Married Nodja Read. Brother was Captain Michael Read M.C. 


02.09.1942 Stirling W7475 HA-H Karlsruhr Duty Carried Out
2nd Pilot S/Ldr Raymond
04.09.1942 Stirling W7475 HA-H Bremen Duty Carried Out
2nd Pilot S/Ldr Raymond
01.10.1942 Stirling  W7613 HA-N Hearnwyk F.T.R
2nd Pilot F/Lt Du Toit 

Grave AIII9.21
Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery

Short Stirling W7613 HA-N departed from RAF Downham Market at 19:48hrs, at the controls was 26-year-old South African Flight  Lieutenant Johannes Christiaan Frederick Du Toit RAFVR.  John Du Toit was an experienced bomber pilot having started his operational career in early July. He had completed six operations as a second pilot during July including attacks on Hamburg, Vegesack and Lubeck before took command of his own crew. By the time of his death he had completed a further 10 operations.  The crew were shot down at 01:04hrs by Maj Gunther Radusch of Stab II./NJG3 north of Tonder, it was Radusch 13th victory. There were no survivors from the crew and only the bodies of the pilot, W/Cdr Read and the crews wireless operator Sergeant Parkinson were recovered. The bodies of Du Toit and Read were found on the beach at Hviding on October 20th while Parkinson’s was discovered on the beach at Vejers on October 30th. Sadly until only recently Wing Commander Reads brief command went unrecognised in the vast majority of Bomber Command related books. This is understandable as No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Operational Records Book is at best poor in recording the movements and postings of individual crew members. There is no mention of Wing Commander Reads arrival in August / September 1942 within the ORB. In 2003 while at the then Public Records Office I chanced upon a single line entry in the No.1651 Conversional Unit ORB (Air29/612) dated September 1st 1942 ” W/Cdr F B M Read, posted to RAF Downham Market to command 218 Squadron”   This single entry was proof that this brave young Canadian officer did in fact command No.218 Squadron, tragically for just one month.   


Günther Radusch