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Remembering World War II
Name: David Albert Alton Romans Rank: Flying Officer Service Number: 42265 Service: 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross Date of Birth: November 27, 1919 Place of Birth: Glace Bay, Cape Breton County, NS Date of Enlistment: March 1939 Age at Enlistment: 20 Date of Death: September 8, 1941 Age: 21 Cemetery: Bygland Churchyard, Norway Grave: Collective grave Commemorated on Page 609 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on December 26 and 27 David Albert Alton Romans was the son of David James Romans (1865-1952) and Rachel Louisa (Ley) Romans (1882-1962), of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born in Glace Bay, David Romans grew up in Melville Cove, Halifax, NS. Prior to his enlisting in the RAF in March 1939, he played first clarinet in the Halifax Rifles (Militia) Band and was well known in baseball and hockey circles. Having completed high school in Halifax, David worked his way to England, by ship, where he enlisted in the Royal Air Force, qualifying as a pilot. He was appointed Acting Pilot Officer on June 10, 1939 in the UK, prior to England entering the war on September 1, 1939. On one of his earlier RAF operations, the young Haligonian performed an act of bravery that earned him the respect of his immediate superiors: 44 Squadron’s Hampden aircraft I P1324 was badly damaged by flak, which knocked the pilot, Pilot Officer W. Walker, unconscious. The observer, Pilot Officer D. A. Romans RAF (Canadian), realized the aircraft was flying oddly, and made his way to the cockpit. Finding the pilot knocked out he accessed the controls by sitting on him. The pilot was later extracted with difficulty from the cockpit while P/O Romans kept the aircraft flying, and he managed to fly the aircraft back to a safe landing in England, where he was awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Cross. David Romans was already, so early in the war, a seasoned airman when he died; on two previous occasions he crash-landed in the English Channel, only to be rescued to fly another day (and night). Romans survived countless Bomber Command raids over Germany and other occupied countries. He also flew the short-lived Manchester bomber, the forerunner to the Lancaster. 90 Squadron's Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress I aircraft #AN525, with an aircrew of seven, took off from RAF Polebrook for a night-time air operation. AN525 was flying off Norway's coast when it was attacked by German night-fighters, causing it to crash in a mountainous region and taking the lives of the entire crew. They were shot down By BF109’s during a raid on the German Navy cruiser the Admiral Scheer in Oslo Harbour, Norway. The other airmen who perished in the attack and resulting crash were: RAF Sergeant Robert Henry Beattie RAFVR Sergeant John Brown RAFVR Sergeant Peter Barnard Corbett RAF Pilot officer Frank Gordon Hart RAFVR Sergeant Walter George Honey RCAF Sergeant Henry Merrill At the end of the row of graves where David is buried at the Bygland Churchyard is a memorial, made from the propeller of the Flying Fortress, to the lost crew. Installed in 2002, it reads, "Propeller from British B-17 C (Flying Fortress) shot down at Bygland on 8th of September 1941 after an air battle with German fighters." A Halifax street, 'Romans Avenue', was named to honour the memory of Flying Officer David Albert Alton Romans, DFC. David Romans also appeared on the Mainland South Heritage Society's Memorial Banners on Herring Cove Road in Spryfield, Halifax Co., NS. They were first on display beginning in 2017 from October to December, with plans to continue annually.
David Albert Alton Romans
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