Meet a Pathfinder Veteran

Flight Lieutenant Robert L. Burton
by
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Captain Barrie Ransome

Flight Lieutenant Robert L. Burton, CD, started his career with the RCAF in 1940, being selected to undergo Pilot training through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, or "The Plan." Upon receiving his wings, Burton had been selected for multi-engine aircraft, and continued his training in Canada and then in England, leading to his first operational posting with the Vickers Wellington twin-engine bomber. As a Pilot Officer, Burton completed his first operational tour (of 30 combat missions). Serving in numerous campaigns and operations based from England, and also included campaigns in Africa, as well as Italy. Rather than returning home after his operational tour, now Flying Officer Burton, volunteered to continue as a Pilot with the PFF (Pathfinder Force). Upon his selection to 405 Pathfinder Squadron, RCAF, and subsequent training in this new role, F/O Burton found himself flying on the famed Mk.III Avro Lancaster, leading bomber streams over targets in 'Fortress Europa.'   After completing duties in Europe, now Flight Lieutenant R.L. Burton continued his service with 405 Squadron, piloting the Lockheed CP-127 Neptune, and CP-107 Argus. Flight Lieutenant R.L. Burton retired shortly after the amalgamation of the Canadian Armed Forces as a Captain, and although his final flight was nearly 43 years ago, he still fondly looks back on his flying days, especially on those spent piloting the Argus, an aircraft which he says will always be near and dear to his heart.