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Bomber Command Aircrew Chronicles

Born in Kamloops, BC, John Fulton spent much of his early years hunting and fishing where he acquired the nickname "Moose." He became enamoured with flight and in 1932 qualified for his commercial license at the Aero Club of BC. In 1934, Moose travelled to England where he joined the RAF initially spending two years in Egypt with a bomber squadron.

With the outbreak of war, Moose completed a tour of operations with 99 Squadron and was awarded the DFC, the citation referring to his "persistent determination, outstanding skill, and devotion to duty in the face of heavy opposition and many set-backs." He was then posted to the Armament Defence Flight Experimental Section where he was involved in experiments related to night flying. Moose was then awarded the AFC.

The third RCAF bomber squadron, 419 was formed in December 1941. Moose was appointed its commanding officer. He was described as, "highly capable and charismatic, freckled, ginger-haired, soft-spoken, and slow-gaited." When the young Canadian airmen arrived at the squadron from their BCATP training, Moose was already a veteran of war with seven years of service. He was very popular both with both upper-level officers and the NCO's.

On 11 January, Moose led his squadron on its first raid. He flew 20 operations as C/O including a raid on Keil when his Wellington was attacked by a fighter. His rear-gunner recalled, "When the fighter closed into 20 yards, the Wing Commander flung the kite over, stuck the nose down, and turned back into the dark away from the moon." Fulton flew the badly damaged aircraft back to base at low level. For these actions, Fulton was awarded the DSO.

Moose was a tireless, fearless, and popular commander who led from the front and fully shared the risks with his men, inspite of orders at the time to C/O's to, "minimize their operational flying." The others on the squadron referred to themselves as "Moosemen."

On 28/29 July 1942, Moose went on a raid to Hamburg. On the way home enemy fighters attacked and just after 4:00 am his Wellington sent a final message from Moose, "Wounded . . . Fighters . . . 500 feet." Knowing that Moose was down in the sea, the exhausted airmen who had made it back requested permission to go right back out and commence a search. But that job belonged to Air-Sea Rescue and they were ordered to bed. Moose and his crew were never found.

Moose's dedication and concern for his men led the squadron into taking his nickname for its own.

No. 419 "Moose" Squadron is the only Canadian squadron to be named after a person.

Wing Commander Fulton with the Queen.

Presentation of 'Moosehead Herman' to Wing Commander Fulton on 24 July 1942.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada