G/C Alan Frederick Avant

AVANT, F/L Alan Frederick (J10503)

[DFC Ribbon] Distinguished Flying Cross - Mention in Despatches - No.115 Squadron - Award effective 20 April 1943 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2198/43 dated 29 October 1943. Born at Hughton; Saskatchewan, 20 September 1922; enlisted Saskatoon, 11 March 1941. Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 11 September 1941), No.15 EFTS (graduated 5 November 1941) and No.11 SFTS (graduated 27 February 1942). Commissioned 1942. Arrived in UK, 29 March 1942. To No.3 (P) AFU, 20 May 1942; to No.20 OTU, 30 June 1942; to No.115 Squadron, 13 September 1942; to No.1679 Flight (later No.1659 Conversion Unit, East Moor), 1 June 1943 as chief ground instructor; to No.62 Base, 19 October 1943; to No.426 Squadron, 11 January 1944; to No.429 Squadron, 1 May 1944; to No.62 Base, 15 July 1944; to No.429 Squadron, 28 July 1944; to No.61 Base, 11 October 1944; to RCAF Overseas Headquarters, 6 April 1945; repatriated 21 April 1945. Released in July 1945; enroled in RCAF Reserve, May 1947, transferring to Regular Force in January 1948. To No.412 Squadron, September 1949 as flight commander; to AFHQ, March 1951 on staff of Air Member for Technical Services; attended RAF College, Bracknell, June 1952 to January 1953; to AFHQ as staff officer, January 1953 to August 1957. To RCAF Staff College as member of directing staff, August 1957; to Royal Roads Military College as Commandant, July 1960 (attained rank of Colonel at this time); to No.1 (F) Wing, July 1963, commanding it until August 1966 when he was posted to Mobile Command, St.Hubert, as Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations and Training); to NATO Headquarters, Brussels, July 1969 as Military Advisor to Canadian Delation to NATO Council; to 24 NORAD Region, Malmstrom AFB, Montana as Director of Exercise and Analysis as well as CO of Canadian Personnel; retired 28 December 1976. DFC presented 27 July 1943. The Canadian Forces Photo Centre has many photographs of him of which the following is a selection: PL-26023 (Flight Commander, No.426 Squadron); PL-26034 (ditto); PL-30499 (A/C JG Bryans, W/C RS Turnbull, W/C Avent, Leeming, 14 June 1944); PL-35517 (portrait); PL-36162 (G/C Avent and G/C EL Wurtele); PL-128658 (portrait, 1960).

One night in March 1943, this officer captained an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin. Whilst over the city his aircraft was held in searchlights and subjected to intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire. The bomber was repeatedly hit and one of its engines was damaged. Undeterred, Flight Lieutenant Avant executed his bombing run exactly as planned, releasing his bombs with precision. By skilful evading tactics he then succeeded in piloting the bomber out of a perilous situation although, in so doing, it sustained further damage and lost some height. Almost as course was set for the homeward flight, the damaged engine burst into flames. Efforts to extinguish the fire were successful and displaying fine airmanship, this captain flew the damaged bomber to an airfield in this country. Whilst over the airfield, one of the port engines became defective but Flight Lieutenant Avant effected a masterly landing with two engines unserviceable. This officer has at all times displayed high courage and outstanding determination in the face of the enemy.

AVANT, W/C Alan Frederick, DFC (J10503)

[DSO Ribbon] Distinguished Service Order - No.427 Squadron - Award effective 28 November 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 239/45 dated 9 February 1945. Award presented 13 February 1945.

This officer has completed numerous sorties on his second tour of operational duty. He is a highly skilled and fearless squadron commander, whose gallant leadership has been well reflected in the fighting qualities of the squadron. His devotion to duty over a long period has been unfailing.

NOTE: This appears to have begun as a recommendation for an American Silver Star, proposed on 4 August 1944 by G/C WFM Newsom when Avant had flown 44 sorties (257 hours 45 minutes). The document is in DHH file 181.009 D.2611 (RG.24 Volume 20627). Text as follows:

Wing Commander Avant is nearing the completion of two tours of bomber operations against the most heavily defended targets in Germany and occupied territory during which he has displayed outstanding offensive spirit, gallantry and devotion to duty. By his skilful work and personal example he has contributed greatly to the high standard of operational efficiency of his squadron. In recognition of this officer's outstanding operational record, his qualities of leadership and fine efforts to further the Allied cause I recommend that he be awarded the Silver Star (United States of America).

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Updated: May 21, 2003