Squadron Leader “Hank” Tilson, DSO, DFC, MID of 622 Squadron RAF passed away
April 25, 2001 at Langley Memorial Hospital, B.C., in his 80th Year.
Hank Tilson reported for intial flying training to #18 EFTS on May 6th, 1941 where he received training on Tiger Moth aircraft. He reported to #15 SFTS Claresholm, Alberta for training on Anson aircraft. His “A” Flight
Commander was Hughy Alcorn, whom he later met up with on Trans Canada Air Lines.
Hank’s next station was overseas at #3 FTS, South Cerney, Gloucester on Oxfords, Nov. 5, /41 and then on March 23,’42 he was posted to #23 OTU onto Wellingtons at Pershore and Defford in Worcestershire.
This was followed by a posting to 1651 Heavy Con Unit at Waterbeach, Cambridge, for crew training on Stirlings. This was the largest heavy bomber flown by any service during the war. Following his training he was posted
to #15 Squadron at Wyton on July 5th, 1942.
This heavy unit was into the thick of the bombing campaign, and by the month end Hank had bombed Lubeck
Vegesack, Duisberg, Quasberg, Hamburg and Saarbruckon. He was first tour expired on November 29, 1942.
Following a well deserved leave he was posted to 1657 Heavy Con Unit as an instructor. He instructed at Stradishall for most of the following year, principally on Sterling aircraft.
Hank’s log book contains an assessment given at the completion of his instructional tour at Stradishall -
“Heavy Bomber Instructor - Exceptional”. Extremely few such assessments were granted by the RAF, and particularly to Canadians.
On February 6th, 1944 he made the first trip of his second tour with #622 Squadron RAF, on Lancasters based at Midenhall. This tour was completed August 12, 1944 and Hank returned to Canada to Transport Command at Rockcliffe, Ontario. He returned as a Squadron Leader, DSO, DFC, MID., a magnificent accomplishment.