Charles Wither McLeod BurnsFlight SergeantR/65339229 RAF Squadron, RCAFNovember 9, 1919Regina, SaskatchewanAugust 21, 1940Halifax, NSTruro, Colchester Co., NS205 feet, 8 inchesMediumBrownAuburn Single at enlistmentAccounting / ClericalProtestantGladys Burns (Wife) Truro, NSDecember 31, 194122Alamein Memorial, EgyptColumn 246Commemorated on Page 25 of the Second World War Book of RemembranceDisplayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on January 24Commemorated on the Truro Cenotaph in Truro, NSCharles Withers McLeod Burns was the son of Sidney Ebenezer (1892-1970) and Lulu Belle (Withers) Burns (1891-1981). His mother was born in Granville Centre, Annapolis County, NS. His father was born in Amherst, Cumberland Co. and was a veteran of the First World War (Service No. 222845) with the 85th Battalion. Charles had two sisters, Ruth Ann who died in a car accident on April 26, 1931 and a second sister, Margaret Louise, who served in the RCAF WD (Women’s Division) at the No. 7 Manning Depot in Rockcliffe, Ontario and in England during WWII.The family moved to Nova Scotia in 1931, and by August of 1940, was living at 15 Victoria Street in Truro, NS, with his parents. Prior to enlistment Charles was employed as an accountant at Goodmans, a wholesale dry goods store. He enjoyed hockey, basketball, and badminton.Charles married Gladys Helena Blois (1917-1946) at the Anglican Church in Truro on April 30, 1941. Two weeks after the wedding ceremony, he departed for overseas.Charles died New Year’s Eve of 1941 in air operations over Libya in North Africa. He was piloting a Hawker Hurricane with other Hurricane aircraft of 229 Squadron. The Squadron was flying bomber escort somewhere over eastern Agedabia (Ajdābiyā). Accounts from squadron members note there were enemy aircraft in the area, but it is unclear what occurred. Two Hurricanes were shot down in the operation, and bomber crews and other Squadron members reported two parachutes, but only the other Pilot, Second Lieutenant S.V. Jones (South African Air Force, Service No. 102292), survived. Squadron members wrote Charles’ mother, noting that they referred to him fondly as ‘Tubby’ or ‘Muscles’. Charles Withers McLeod Burns has no known grave and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt, and is also listed on the Cenotaph in Truro, NS. After the war, Charles’ parents lived in the Lancaster neighborhood of Saint John, New Brunswick.
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