b. 24/05/1922 Smiths Fall, Ontario, Canada. d. 14/05/1943 London, Ontario, Canada.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/05/1943 Lake Erie, Canada.
Kenneth Gerald Spooner (1922-1943) was born on 24th May 1922 in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, the son of Gerald and Irene Spooner (nee Marjerrison). He had two brothers Gordon and Herbert. His father died when he was young, and his mother remarried to William Craig. Kenneth attended local public schools and Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute, then took a job as a civil service clerk from 1940-1941 before becoming a Rodman with the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1941-1942.
On 31st May 1942, he decided to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Montreal and went to No 4 Manning Depot in Quebec from 11th September to 7th November 1942. He was then sent for training to No 5 Initial Training School (ITS), Belleville, until 6th February 1943. He then moved to No 4 Air Observers’ Training School in London, Ontario.
On 14th May 1943, he was on a instructional flight over Lake Erie, Canada, when shortly after take-off, the pilot, Sergeant Dana Nelson, fainted at the controls. The other students, Sergeant William Brown, LAC J. Curtis and LAC R. Bailey were all incapable of flying the aircraft; they tried to remove the pilot, but he temporarily regained consciousness and froze at the controls, causing the aircraft to lose altitude rapidly. Spooner then took charge, ordered the crew to bail out while he took over the controls and tried to keep the aircraft at a safe height. The three crew bailed out, then Spooner attempted to land, something he had never done before, but sadly they crashed killing him and the pilot.
Kenneth’s body returned to his roots and he was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. Kenneth was posthumously awarded the George Cross on 7th January 1944, and his GC and other medals including the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-45, and Canadian Memorial Cross are now in the hands of the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa. The Museum purchased the medals from the Spooner family in 1988. In 2000, a local Resource Centre in Smiths Falls was named in honour of LAC Kenneth Spooner GC. His name is also on the Smiths Falls Cenotaph in Victoria Park.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, OTTAWA, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: HILLCREST CEMETERY, SMITHS FALL, ONTARIO, CANADA.
PLOT 225, ROW 15, GRAVE 10.