Canadian Virtual War Memorial

George Ernest Giff

In memory of:

Warrant Officer Class I George Ernest Giff

January 18, 1944

Military Service


Service Number:

R/111125

Age:

26

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Additional Information


Son of John S. Giff and Annie Vera Giff, of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Commemorated on Page 315 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

HARROGATE (STONEFALL) CEMETERY
Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Grave Reference:

Sec. C. Row J. Grave 10.

Location:

The town cemetery is on the south east side of Harrogate, Yorkshire. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's plot is in the southern part of the cemetery. To reach the cemetery from Harrogate, go along the Harrogate/Wetherby road (A661) to the junction with the A59. The cemetery is signposted at this junction. This cemetery contains war graves of both world wars. The large majority of the war burials occurred during the 1939-45 War. Nearly all are airmen, two-thirds of them belonging to the Canadian forces. Many of these men died in the Military Wing of Harrogate General Hospital. Of the many airfields established in Yorkshire during the War, a number were situated in the vicinity of Harrogate. Such were the R.A.F. station at Harrogate itself, and those at Linton-on-Ouse, Tockwith, Rufforth and Marston Moor. Nearly all the Canadians buried here belonged to No. 6 (R.C.A.F.) Bomber Group, whose headquarters were at Allerton Park. All the stations controlled by this Group were in the area north of Harrogate in the Vale of York, the largest base having its headquarters at Linton-on-Ouse. During the early months of the war a piece of land was set aside by the local authorities for service war burials near the north-west corner of the cemetery. This group of war graves is in Sections 20E and 21E within the northern boundary. In July 1943 the Air Forces Section was opened at the north-eastern corner of the cemetery, where men from airfields in Yorkshire and the north-eastern counties were brought, most of whom died in the great bomber offensive on targets in Germany.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Newspaper Clipping– Remembered on the pages of the Ottawa Journal. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Memorial– Warrant Officer Class I George Ernest Giff is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Warrant Officer Class I George Ernest Giff is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Father J P Lardie's comments as inscribed on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Grave marker
  • Photo of George Giff
  • Memorial– Memorial to crew of Halifax LW-334
Photo by David E. Thompson.  Used with permission of Rich Allenby www.allenby.info/aircraft/planes/44/lw334.html 
This memorial was dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the loss through the efforts of Mr David E Thompson, and an annual service is held at the crash site ever since 1994.
  • Memorial– Memorial to crew of Halifax LW-334
Photo by Rich Allenby www.allenby.info/aircraft/planes/44/lw334.html  Story used with permission.
At 10.30hrs on the 18th of January 1944 a Halifax crashed into the side of Black Hambleton whilst flying in fog. The crew were tasked with a day time cross-country training exercise. Before take off they were ordered to fly above 3,000 feet to avoid the hills to the east of the airfield, it is not known why they were flying so low when the aircraft crashed; a faulty altimeter or a navigation error in the bad visibility could have been to blame though neither were ever established as fact. Had they cleared this area of high ground they would almost certainly have made it back to base, this being the last lump of high ground. Sadly the six RCAF crew on board did not stand a chance, they were all killed in the crash. It transpires through talking to other researchers that a game keeper was on the top of Black Hambleton prior to the crash and had heard a low flying aircraft below him, he heard and felt the aircraft crash below him and was almost certainly the first on the scene.  Sadly nothing could be done for those involved.
The crew were: F/O Joseph P., pilot; F/O Wilfred L. Boisvert; F/O Walter Phillips; WO George E. Giff; Sgt. Richard G. Kimball; Sgt. Guy H. Hivon

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