Flight Lieutenant Theodore Alexander “Ted” Bugg


Flight Lieutenant Theodore Alexander “Ted” Bugg

Robsart, Maple Creek Census Division, Saskatchewan, Canada
Death 12 Aug 1944 (aged 24)
Le Mesnil-Villement, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Burial Cintheaux, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Plot XVIII. H. 13.
Memorial ID 56155691 View Source
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Theodore Alexander Bugg was born April 16, 1920 on the family farm in the Robsart area of Saskatchewan to Vivien Belva Crowley, born in Charlton, Iowa and Thomas Osborne Bugg, born in McCune, Kansas. The Buggs were married in Carthage, Missouri October 24, 1907 and moved to Canada to work a mixed farm in the Robsart area. *1

Teddy, as he was known in the close-knit family,*2 was the youngest of five children who included Paul, Virginia, Patricia and Thomas. He attended the public school, grades one to five, in Estevan from 1926 to 1933, grades 6,7 and 8 in Beaubier, Saskatchewan, and attended high school, grades 9 and 10 in Weyburn from 1934 to 1935.

Ted had lived in Saskatchewan for twelve years when the family moved to Ontario where his dad became a grocer. He attended Stamford Collegiate Institute from 1935 to 1938, taking his upper matriculation, typing and bookkeeping and, being conscientious, he attended school regularly. While he took French and German and had reading knowledge of both, Ted didn’t particularly like languages, his favorite subject was mathematics.

In grade 10, Ted was awarded a book for academic proficiency. He was also the winner of the boys’ track and field in 1936, but participated in many sports, including rugby, basketball, football, swimming, tennis and skiing, all sports that helped to make him physically fit and alert. Being neither a smoker nor drinker also helped his fitness program. During three of his summer vacations, he drove a fruit truck, using the money he earned on clothes and in the pursuit of fun activities.*1

Hobbies for the energetic young man included reading literature by Shelley, Byron and Shakespeare who were among his favorite authors. His interest in chemistry led to a small lab in the family home. Among his favorite actors were Charles Boyer and Bette Davis while he preferred musicians, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The well-rounded young man also liked dancing, and listening to the radio for leisure activities.

In 1937 Ted took civil service exams for a position as a clerk, but didn’t appear to pursue that avenue of employment.

After high school, he attended the Agriculture College in Guelph for one academic year, 1938-1939. He had intended to complete his college courses, working so he would be able to do so. Although he felt he would be competent to work on a mixed farm, having lived on one in Saskatchewan, it was not something he wished to do. Ted had been interested in aviation for five or six years, but he really wanted to be a high school teacher and an athletic instructor. *1

From August to October 1939, Ted was employed as a chemist at the Burgess Battery Company. He left when he was able to find a better position with the Canadian Cellucotton Products as a machine worker and remained with them from October 1939 to May 1940. Once again, finding better opportunities at Fleet Aircraft Limited, he worked on electroplating from May 1940 to December 1940. Always trying to better his situation, Ted moved to the North American Cyanamid Company and worked as a chemist from December 1941 to January 1942.

References given as to his character whether by the Director of Personnel of a company, a school principal or acquaintance, all gave the impression that Ted Bugg was a young man who was steady and ready for his new life within the military. Ted’s medicals on 5 May and again on 20 September 1941 indicated his only health problems were frequent colds. The examiners found him to be physically fit. He was considered to be intelligent, well educated, stable and responsible, all of which made him a good candidate for the pilot training he preferred to have or as an observer and was thought to probably be officer material. *1

The brown eyed, brown haired 5 ft. 8 ½ inch good-looking young man weighed 171 pounds, when he enlisted 8 August 1941 and was living with his parents at 913 Bridge Street in Niagara Falls.

4 August 1941, at the RCAF Recruiting Centre in Hamilton, Ted was placed in Special Reserve, in which he had the opportunity to fly as a passenger for two hours. 15 September Ted was sent to #1 Manning Depot in Toronto, arriving at 18:10 hours. Initial training for Course 36 took place in Toronto from 15 September to 7 November 1941. Even with 91%, he had placed 20th in the course, but received his Airmen Pilot classification.

From 10 November 1941 to 2 January 1942 Ted took his elementary training (Pupil Pilots’ Course 42) on the Tiger Moth at #10 EFTS in Mt. Hope, Ontario, placing first with 89.3%. He was considered an exceptional hard worker, very intelligent with above average flying skills.*1

His service flying training was taken at #65 FTS in Dunnville from 5 January to 24 April 1942, when he received his Pilot’s Flying Badge, placing tenth in the course. Ted had flown on the DeHavilland, Tiger Moth, N. A. Yate, Cessna and Harvard.*1

February 21, 1942, United Church minister, Reverend Fingland, married Ted and Ruth Irene Smillie, in Niagara Falls, Ruth's hometown. Obtaining permission to live off base with his wife meant the couple lived in several locations while Ted took various courses but it was while they were living in Dunnville that their only child, Darlene Ruth, was born.

Due to the frequency of colds, irritable coughs and a blocked nose that occurred most often at night, Ted spent time in the Hamilton Military Hospital 5 April, 17 April and again 24 September 1942.*1

It was felt Ted was the right type to become a good instructor. As a Pilot Officer, he took a flying instructor course at #1 SFTS Trenton from 24 May to 1 July 1942 when he was examined on the Harvard for a Category “C” instructor level. He was considered to be a very capable instructor in all respects, a high average pilot and capable of imparting his knowledge.*1 Returning to Dunnville #6 SFTS 16 July, he continued his instructor training and was categorized to Level “B” and from 24 July to 24 May 1943 was an instructor on the Harvard.

The Director of Personnel in the North America Cyanamid Limited described Ted as having proved himself to be conscientious, reliable and conducted himself well. Ted’s equally frank judgment of himself when applying to join the forces was the same as that of other observations of him that continued throughout his military career. He felt he was active, calm under pressure, cheerful, energetic, good-natured, impulsive, was able to reason and problem solve. He felt he was a good team worker, liked to lead and supervise others, something he had learned while playing team sports and being captain of teams, during which time he had learned to think fast and give orders as a football quarterback. All his experiences helped to built up the young man’s self-confidence.

The RCAF also found him to be a hard worker, carried himself well, had good clear speech, was sincere, confident and alert. The exception occurred 1 October 1942 at 13:35 hours when Ted, as a pilot instructor at #6 SFTS, was taxiing in Harvard #3183 to leeward (south end of number 2 runway) to take off, had the tail wheel lock and he collided with Yale #3434. The weather was good and no injuries had occurred.

The inquiry stated Ted had carelessly taxied into the plane, he believed he had not much left to learn and was a bit too confident of his own ability leading to carelessness. It was felt he should be severely reprimanded for his airmanship and his explanation of the event was hard to believe. Although he was censured and the accident was entered in his logbook, it was recommended that he be retained for service.*1 It was the only negative in Ted’s civilian and military career and probably was a lesson well remembered by the conscientious young man. One must remember much was expected of these young men who were taking on great responsibility at a very young age. On 24 October he became a temporary Flying Officer.

While at #6 SFTS, a January 1943 report stated he was a very capable instructor whose good strong voice and forceful manner in instructing others helped his ability to pass on his knowledge since he was considered an above average pilot.*1

Leaving Dunnville, Ted arrived at #3 ITS in Victoriaville, Quebec 16 April and was posted to #10 TM Bagotville 24 April. He was attached to 118 (F) Squadron and remained in Bagotville from 25 April to 9 July 1943 flying on the Hurricane.*5 Some of the pilots who had been slated for duty in Europe were, after Japanese submarines were seen off the west coast and Japanese troops had landed in the Aleutian Islands, sent west to protect the coastline and Alaska.

Knowing Ted had a wife and child, his commander gave him a choice of his next assignment. Thus it was that he arrived on the west coast 10 July. He was attached to 132 Squadron at Sea Island and then posted to #118 (Fighter Squadron) flying Kittyhawks.*5 Ruth and Darlene were also in Vancouver for a time.*1

Ted was among the Canadian pilots who left Vancouver 23 July, arriving at Annette Island, Alaska 24 July as part of #1 Y Depot, remaining until 16 August when the situation was more secure and the Japanese had left the Aleutian Islands. The squadron returned to Sea Island where they remained 17 August to 26 October. During that time, on 10 September, Ted qualified as section leader.*1

Ted’s embarkation leave was 14 to 20 October. On 27 October, he was part of the contingent that arrived in Halifax and embarked 1 November 1943 for overseas duty. Ted arrived in the U.K. 9 November and by 17 November, was part of 3 RCAF PRC at Bournemouth. By 20 November, he was part of 438 Squadron and stationed in Digby before being posted to Wittering 18 December. *1

The squadron’s nickname became the Wild Cats. Their motto “Going down”, was adopted when the Hawker Typhoon flight leaders’ would say “Going down”, a term they used when diving at their targets with bombs or cannons.*3

9 January 1944, Ted arrived at the Station Ayr and on the 15th received a CVS Medal and Maple Leaf. He proceeded to Willerin where he stayed from 21 to 26 January. From there the group proceeded to Colley-Eeston and remained 8 to 10 April.

In his letters home there was news of his friends, the fun they had and the parcels that arrived from home, but, by referring to his preference to be home, it was obvious he was missing his family. In his November 25 letter, he complained of local food and poor coffee in their first station at Digby, although he liked the people. Bad weather had grounded them. Letters about the family Christmas celebrations helped lift spirits as he could visualize the family fun.*5

Still flying the Hurricanes 2 February, was good training when done in cooperation with the army so they would be ready to help when the invasion started.*3 Ted showed his sense of humor when he named his plane “Doodle Bug”.*5

In a letter 23 March 1944, Ted told the family he was on duty so slept close to the plane in case he was called to duty and by 31 March, they were packing to move. He enjoyed getting food from home, even cinnamon rolls that were stale by the end of their boat trip.*5

Ted had a break from training with a seven-day leave 15 to 21 April. In a letter to his parents 28 April, after watching the bombers flying overhead, he felt that things were to come. While he had met up with old friends, was enjoying their Canadian mess, good food and was happy with the fact that the Salvation Army had sports equipment, candy and soft drinks, he was still eager to be home again.*5

Considered an above average pilot who was competent and reliable, it was recommended that he be given a temporary rank of flight lieutenant, effective 24 April 1944.

12 June 1944 the 1BMN538 A Sabre 11A1561A406760 of the 438 Squadron crashed in the sea at 13:15 hours south of Point Catherine. Ted, who was the pilot of the plane was picked up by the Royal Navy. The planes had been on a dive-bombing sortie against a concentration of vehicles in a north position of woods.*1 Other information stated Ted ran into an American general while he was walking in a field and it was the general who got him back to base on an airplane.*5

After being interviewed twice, the words were put on a 78 record and sent home to his parents. He told of his squadron still being in England and while on a dive-bombing sortie against a concentration of vehicles 12 June 1944, his 438 Squadron Typhoon 1b MN538 F3-N was hit by flak. After losing oil, the engine quit and he was forced to bale out, inflate his Mae West and dinghy in which he waited in pleasant sunny weather to be rescued by the Royal Navy,*5 a far cry from the weather experienced six days earlier during the D-Day landing.

Ted also told of another occasion while flying in a thunderstorm, being hit by flak and having to return to base with 1000 pound bombs still on the plane.*5

In a letter home written 16 June, Ted told of being in the air on D-day, seeing everything that was going on.*5 He told of the harbour built in three days despite the fire from German guns. (Probably the harbour at Arromanche.) He told of being on the beach just a week after the invasion and of the quiet, except for guns in the distance.*5

In other letters he told of the destruction of villages after American attacks, but closer to the squadron, Ted told of a shell landing beside their truck killing one of their members, just a yard from him and how a pilot taking off and having the plane swing around hitting a 1000 pound bomb, killing the pilot and two of the ground crew.*5

While supporting the army on 12 August, seven Typhoon planes were lost due to heavy flak. Included among them were four Canadians from #438 Squadron, one of them, Flight Lieutenant Ted Bugg.*5 In a letter written to Ted’s mother by S/L Ross Reid, he noted Ted went into a dive and before releasing the bombs, there was an explosion. The plane went down in flames near Le Mesnil Villementil situated between Falaise and Flers.*5

Ruth received a letter written 18 August by Squadron Leader Commander J. R. Beirnes, of the 438th (Canada) Squadron *1 who was later to receive the DFC as the leader of the attack on a railroad bridge.*3

“It is with regret that I write to you this date to convey to Ted’s family the feelings of my entire squadron. Early in the evening of Aug 12th, a flight from this squadron led by one of my Flight Commanders and with your husband,“Ted”, as pilot, went into its dive, it apparently suffered a direct hit by flak and exploded in the air. As neither the Flight Commander nor the other pilot saw any parachute open, I regret to inform you it is highly improbable that he could survive.

Your husband, who was one of the older members of this squadron, was an excellent pilot, one who could be depended upon to do the right thing in any emergency. Ted had 34 operational trips with a total of 43 hours and 20 minutes to his credit, as well as a parachute jump over the English Channel. I considered him an invaluable member of my squadron whom I quite frequently used as a flight commander.

“Ted” was very popular with the squadron. He is greatly missed by his comrades and his loss is regretted by all.”

Squadron Leader Beirnes went on to say personal effects were sent to the depository and would be held for 6 months, then forwarded to Ruth.

“May I now express the great sympathy which all of us feel for you in your great anxiety and I should also like to assure you how greatly we all honour the unselfless sacrifice your husband has made so far from home in the cause of freedom and in the service of his country.

May I express my most earnest wish to be of as much assistance as I possibly can and request that you feel free to write to myself or the Squadron Adjutant should the occasion arise.”*1

Ted took part in 40 sorties, although this number differed on different documents and had 43:15 hours of flying, mostly over Normandy. The duration of the flights were from 35 minutes to one hour 50 minutes. At times, he was in dive-bombing attacks on bridges and towns, on troop and tank concentrations, gun positions, on radar installations in Le Havre. At other times he was on weather reconnaissance on the French coast and also took part in a scramble looking for the enemy.*1 When the typhoons were seen coming to the aid of those on the ground, it was a relief and a sight always welcomed by those ground troops.*4

When nothing was heard of Ted’s whereabouts, his parents and wife wrote asking if there was any news of their son and husband. August 28, 1945, Ted’s widow was informed it was now officially presumed he had died and on 4 September 4 1945, a Certificate of Presumption of Death was issued.

In a letter written 10 January 1946, the authorities were still trying to identify the possibility that remains of Canadian pilots killed in action might be Ted. They knew the Typhoon 1B MN 687 Sabre 11A342087/2445 was reported missing 12 August 1944. Piloted by J11316, F/L. T. A. Bugg, it took off at 19:00 hours from Clifton on a dive-bombing mission against a bridge*1 that was a possible escape route for German troops. At 19:20 while dive-bombing, the Typhoon exploded in mid-air. There had been heavy flak and it was believed it may have taken a direct hit. No bale out had been seen.

It wasn’t until a letter written July 16, 1945 by Monsieur Maurice Adam, Route du Fauconnier, Mayenne, France, finally came to light stating a fighter plane had been shot down by German anti-aircraft guns in the garden at #5 Haut-des-Vers that more concrete evidence was found. The pilot had been buried in the south corner of the garden of Miss Neveu.

Monsieur Adam had found the pilot's identification bracelet that he handed into the police station at Falaise. On one side of the bracelet was TED BUGG and on the other J11316 LOVE RUTH. He also requested the address of the family so he could contact them.*1 There is nothing to show that this had happened.

This information was sent to the Director of G. R. & E. on 27 July 1945 so they could find Ted’s burial place. His remains were exhumed and transferred to the Bretteville-sur-Laize Cemetery. The Canadian cemetery is situated beside the Caen-Falaise highway, land over which Canadian troops had fought in the battle to close the Falaise Gap.*4 Obviously not all departments in the Canadian military were aware of this information for some time.

It wasn’t until 16 February 1946 that Ted’s possessions were finally returned to Ruth, but even then she had to write asking for them as they were kept at the RAF Central Depository at Colnbrook.*1

Ruth received a cheque for $624.21 that included the balance of his pay in the amount of $236.24, money that had been in his possession when he disappeared, money in a bank account and credit for the return of camp kit. In addition Ruth received a $2000 Metropolitan life insurance payment and a $400 Victory Loan Bond. As was the custom, his widow also received his decorations that included the 1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with France and Germany Clasp, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp and War Medal 1939-1943. *5, although Ted’s mother felt her eight-year old granddaughter should have been the recipient of her father’s medals.*1

Flight Lieutenant Theodore Alexander Bugg was among the Typhoon pilots killed in the Battle of Normandy during a ten-week period. A memorial honouring these men was erected at Noyers-Bocage, a village near Caen. The names of all the typhoon pilots, including Flt/Lt Ted Bugg, and their support staff lost in the battle of Normandy are engraved on the memorial-- "To the glorious memory of the 151 typhoon pilots and supporting staff who gave their lives during the liberation of Normandy May - August 1944."--

Helping with the work on the memorial was a man who had witnessed the war as a child and veterans of the fight who, when it was completed and dedicated on the 50th Anniversary of D-day, June 6, 1994, were present for the ceremony

*1 Library and Archives of Canada – Collections Canada – obj/001045/12/b/sww-24959 - Theodore Alexander Bugg-j11316.pdf–
*2 Keith Budd, Ted Bugg’s second cousin
*3 Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia - 438 Squadron in WW11
*4 Art Bridge who fought in Normandy with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada
*5 Typhoons and Tempests, the Canadian Story by Hugh Halliday. Courtesy of Grant Workman.

Family Members


12th AUGUST 1944 AGE 24
2. TIM IV 7

Gravesite Details Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), 438 Sqdn. Royal Canadian Air Force. Son of Thomas O. and Vivian Belva Bugg, of Niagara Falls, Ontario; husband of Ruth Irene Bugg, of Niagara Falls. Age 24.,


  • Maintained by: Shirley Tort
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56155691
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Flight Lieutenant Theodore Alexander “Ted” Bugg (16 Apr 1920–12 Aug 1944), Find a Grave Memorial ID 56155691, citing Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, Cintheaux, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Shirley Tort (contributor 47942188) .