Eagle Profile

Russell Bannock saved the lives of many Londoners during World War II by downing 19 of Hitler’s “secret weapons,” the V-1 “buzz bomb.” Bannock was born in November 1919 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. was Canada’s second-highest-scoring ace of World War II and is credited with saving hundreds of innocent civilian lives in London England by downing 19 German V1 Buzz Bombs before they could reach their targets. He also saved the lives of numerous Allied bomber crews by shooting down 11 Luftwaffe night fighters. Wing Commander Bannock was born on 01 November 1919 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. His flying career started in 1938 when he obtained his private pilot’s license.

Four months later he had completed his commercial license and in 1939 he joined the RCAF as a pilot officer. His flying training began at Vancouver on the de Havilland Gypsy Moth, an open cockpit biplane, complete with a leather helmet. He then proceeded to Camp Borden Ontario, to fly the North American Harvard and the Ferry Battle training aircraft. After winning his pilot wings Bannock was to join 112 Squadron with 1 Canadian Air Division in England but, after France unexpectedly fell to the Germans, he was reassigned for three years as an instructor pilot in Canada. He was then assigned to Greenwood Nova Scotia, to fly the de Havilland Mosquito fighter – a very fast, twin 1,230 Hp Rolls Royce powered plywood fighter bomber, equipped with four 20 Millimeter cannons and four 303 machine guns. He was quickly reassigned to 418 Squadron at Holmsley England in 1944 to fly the Mosquito Mark IV in the day and night intruder role. Three days after arriving in theater Bannock scored his first kill – an Me-110 on final approach for landing at Avord France. He eventually shot down eleven enemy aircraft.

On 19 June 1944, Squadron Leader Bannock scored his first V-1 “Dootle Bug” victory over the English Channel. Within three weeks he downed ten, and eventually killed nineteen of the terror weapons by the end of WW II. After completing 35 missions, Bannock convinced the RCAF to allow him to stay in Europe for a second tour of duty and was given command of 406 Squadron at Hunsdon England, who had the airborne radar equipped Mark 30 Mosquito . Wing Commander Bannock received his second Distinguished Flying Cross when he successfully brought his Mosquito home on one engine the night of 27 September 1944, after debris from two aircraft he had just destroyed caused one of his engines to catch fire. Gunfire from an Me-109 forced him to descend to treetop level where he limped back across the channel to home base. On 17 August 1945 Bannock won the Distinguished Service Order for his outstanding leadership and combat record. Following the war, Russel became a sales director, Test Pilot and eventually President & CEO of de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

Years Honored:


1998 Lithograph

Lithograph Setting(s):

Wing Commander Bannock is seen in his Mark 30 Mosquito shooting down a German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" over the English Channel in 1945.