Glenn was known throughout the county for his excellent baritone voice and was in Toronto in 1939 at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Glenn enlisted in the RCAF in Toronto in August 1940, he had already obtained his private pilot’s licence at the Leavens Bros. Training School, Baker Field, Toronto. The MS 2/01/41 reported that Glenn was home on Sunday to visit his parents. Glen was transferred to London to take a course in flying MS 9/01/41. Glen was home again on a week-end leave to visit his parents MS 13/02/41 The Merlin Standard 27/02/41 reported that Glen was training at RCAF Dunnvile when he was given a week-end leave to visit his family. He was home again from Dunnville on a week-end leave. MS 20/03/41
Glen received his pilot’s wings 18 April 1941 after training in Toronto, Trenton, Crumlin and Dunnville. Glen’s parents and a Nrs. A. Johnson was in attendance to see Glen receive his ‘Wings’. Glen would proceeded overseas in July 1941. He immediately went into active service as a Sgt. Pilot, to RAF overseas 8/05/41, promoted to Flt. Sgt. and flew more than thirty missions (twenty night raids over Norway between July 1941 and March 1942) for Bomber Command, 35 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command. Glen made it home from Dunnville to celebrate Easter with his family. MS 17/04/41 A photograph of Flt. Sgt. Gardiner chatting with the Duke of Kent along with Air Vice-Marshall C. R. Carr, Air Officer Commanding the Bomber Group while they were visiting an RAF Station, “somewhere in Britain” appeared in the WS 12/03/42.
Glenn received his commission as a Pilot Officer on March 2, 1942 for meritorious service after a flight on 12/02/42. Promoted Flt. Lieut. 12/03/44. Glenn would receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for twice flying 1,350 miles to attack the German Navel base at Trondheim, Norway. His citation said: “Despite intense opposition, Gardiner pressed home the attacks and returned to base safely. He displayed outstanding airmanship, courage and devotion to duty.”
His citation for the Distinguished Flying Medal – 26 May, 1942 said:
Pilot Officer Gardiner was captain of a aircraft detailed to attack the German Naval Base at Trondheim on two night in April 1942. These flights each involved many hours of flying time over the North Sea and mountainous country of Norway. Despite intense opposition, Pilot Officer Gardiner pressed home the attacks and returned to base safely. He displayed outstanding airmanship, courage and devotion to duty which have been an inspiration to other members of the squadron.”
London Gazete: – 29 May, 1942 and AFRO 880-881/42 dated 12 June 1942
Flight Lieutenant Gardiner was reported MIA on 9 May, 1942 after air operations over Germany on 7 May. He had completed twenty three operational flights just eight short of a completed tour of duty.
Canadian Press reported the following on that nights operations:
“Royal Air Force bombers continued their smashing attacks at the industries feeding Hitler’s war machines hammered at Stuttgart last night for the third successive night and roared into France by daylight today. Seve of the raiders were lost the air ministry said.”
On the 24th of May Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner received word through the Red Cross that their son Glenn was reported to be a POW in Nazi Germany after twenty ‘Ops.’ Over enemy territory, his last mission was in a Halifax bomber. Glenn would be liberated in May of 1945 and was reported safe and well in England after three years in the Stalagluff 3 POW camp. Glenn would arrive back home on the 20th of July, 1945.
Over enemy territory, his last mission was in a Halifax bomber W1050, No. 35 Sqd. target Stuttgrat, Leaving from Linton-on-Ouse. His plane was shotdown by a night-fighter (Hptm. Wilhelm Herget) and crashed at Luxembourg. Five of the crew were killed and Sgt. N.H.Hood and P/O Gardiner were taken POW.
A “Loss of Bomber Aircraft” questionnaire compiled from interrogation done on 10 May, 1945 is as follows:
Aircraft took off on May 6th , 1942. Normal take off. Uneventful trip. England and French coast was quiet. Crossed French coast at approximately 13,000 feet, climbing steadily to 15,000 feet. Changed to high speed blower. We were clibing into a small room. Weather good, visibity good. No Cloud.had been “weaving” before reaching French coast and was weaving until aircraft became unserviceable. Received no warning of attack at 0015 hours. Tracers came through aircraft from straight behind slightly to pilot’s starboard. Starboard engine became ignited immediately. Attempted to evade enemy aircraft by pulling off to starboard but aircraft failed to respond to controls, rolling off, diving to starboard. Enemy attack lasted three or four seconds approximately. Large flash also occurred from WAG’s position beneth pilot. Immediately gave order to bale out by intercom but no contact. Used warning light signal.Second pilot warned verbally and by manual effort. Navigator was first to leave. The secondpilot left. Not having any contact with remaining crew, the pilot attempted to regain control. Control column was lax. Parachute had been placed beside me by second pilot prior to his leaving. Couuld fastenonly one strap of chute on accout of wind pressure through escape hatch (front fuselage). Left the aircraft upon which explosion occurred in the starboard wing. Entire length of fuselage on fire. Landed in hills the same moment aircraft struck ground. First nearest town was Libramont.
P/O Gardiner lost one of his flying boots at the escape hatch and had to walk in one stocking foot.
KIA included S/L K. w. Bonnar, Sgt. J. N. Hindle, Sgt. N. H. Hood DFM., Sgt. J.A.G. Firth and Sgt. J.T. Stainworth.
A memorial stone was place at the site of the crash of Halifax bomber W1050 by the citizens of the region of Ochamps, in the municipality of Libin, Belgium. With the help of Robin Hood, the son of Norman who died in the crash in 1942 the ashes of Glenn Gardiner who had passed away in 2011 were scattered by his daughter at the cemetery at Neufchateau to join the crew that was buried there on 13 August, 2011.
He was held at Stalag Luft 3, at Sagan, Germany were he was involved in the ‘Great Escape’. along with C. W. Floody, who was from Chatham, ON and the mastermind behind the “Tom, Dick and Harry” escape tunnels. It was reported in the Gilbert column in the CDN 28/03/15 that ”Gardiner being too claustrophobic to attempt an escape in these narrow tunnels, served as a lookout while the digging proceeded.” Glenn would be liberated in May of 1945 and was reported safe and well in England after three years in the Stalagluff 3 POW camp. Glenn was repatriated 7/07/45 and would arrive back home on the 20th of July, 1945. He would retire 23/10/1945.
Glenn returned to the Conservatory of Music and graduated from the senior school. He married Edith Meek 14/12/1946, she a concert pianist and very involved in Glenn’s singing career and performed in many joint recitals. They had four children, Mark Lynton, Barbara Shirley, Edith Anne and May Louise.
Glenn had a varied and success career sing in Banff Spring, on CBC radio productions, Canadian Opera Company, was musically involved with the Ontario dept. of Education and appeared in various symphony orchestras over the years.
In 1973 he accepted a position to teach at the Royal Consevatory of Music were he taught until his retirement in 1995.
Glenn passed away 18/12/2011, he and Edith had celebrated their 65th Wedding anniversary 14/12/2011. Glenn requested that his ashes be taken to Europe and spread in the cemetery at Neufchateau where his former crew members were buried which task was completed by his daughter in the summer of 2012.
BFL-Bio, MCS42/43, RCLM, MD-RH, PA/GWI, KCFA, Kenneth Stevenson – Merlin Standard 2010, G&M-Obit 24/12/11, CDN 21/03/15, , J. Currie-notes.
Born 4/01/1920 in Tilbury East Twsp., Kent Co., ON. Son of Harold A. Gardiner and Annie (Powell) of R. R. # 4 Merlin, brother of Max, Eunice, Murray, Claire and Ross. Glenn received his early education at the Glenwood Public School and the Merlin Continuation School. He was known throughout the county for his excellent baritone voice and was in Toronto in 1939 at the Royal Conservatory of Music.