Pilot Officer William Kennedy Ferguson

Pilot Officer William Kennedy Ferguson

Peterborough, Peterborough County, Ontario, Canada
Death 15 Jan 1943 (aged 22)
Saint-Martin-des-Entrees, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Burial Saint-Martin-des-Entrees, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Memorial ID 51049659 View Source

Pilot Officer (Pilot), No. 401 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, J/85171. Son of William Lauder Ferguson and Mary Sophia Ferguson (nee Hannah), of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Age: 22.

After graduating from the Peterborough Collegiate Institute, 'Bill' Ferguson was engaged by the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada. He enlisted in the Prince of Wales Rangers (Peterborough Regiment) in August, 1940 before volunteering in the RCAF in March, 1941.

Bill was awarded his pilot's wings at No. 2 SFTS Uplands, Ontario on December 19, 1941 and posted overseas soon after. Upon completion of his operational training, he was posted to No. 401 Squadron in June, 1942.

On January 15, 1943, Sergeant William Kennedy Ferguson was killed when his aircraft, Spitfire IX serial EN183 coded 'YO-V', was shot down by Flak near Saint-Martin-des-Entrées, Normandy, France while strafing an enemy locomotive.

His burial there was ordered by the German authorities on January 18. To show their solidarity with the cause for which he had died, a large crowd of French citizens descended upon the cemetery to pay their last respects. Flowers were laid on the grave and the Germans took this as a provocation, confiscating the identity papers of all those present.

One month later, twelve of them, suspected of being members of the French Resistance, were arrested -- including some high school students who were taken from their classrooms -- and transferred to concentration camps in Germany. Four of them never returned.

Sergeant Ferguson was posthumously commissioned and promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer. He has been laying at rest in the same cemetery since then.

In 1994, the main street of Saint-Martin-des-Entrées was renamed "Rue William-Kennedy-Ferguson".
Cenotaph here

Gravesite Details

The town has two distinct cemeteries. Pilot Officer W. K. Ferguson's grave is not located in the churchyard but in the older cemetery, at the outskirts of the village. The only way to get there is to take Chemin Saint-Germain.

Family Members