January 6, 1916 - December 15, 1944
Douglas Haig Sharpe was the son of Whip Wilbro Sharpe (1881-1955), merchant, and Emma Elizabeth (nee Taylor) Sharpe (1886-1969) Stettler, AB and Victoria, BC. He had two brothers, George Harold, and David, plus one sister, Gladys Emma Fossen (1916-1996). The family attended the United Church.
Doug attended the University of Alberta 1935-1938 graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
In 1940-41, he was with Calgary Regiment (Tanks) NPAM, as a Sergeant/2nd Lieutenant.
On August 14, 1940, on his interview report, in Calgary: “Healthy, slender. Quick, confident and very pleasant. OK any position aircrew. Recommended for observer.” Doug received a glowing letter of recommendation from the manager of Bank of Montreal in Stettler and a lawyer in the community.
He enjoyed hockey, swimming, and baseball. He indicated he drank two beers per week and smoked ten cigarettes daily. He was residing at Stettler, Alberta when he applied to the RCAF in February 1941, working as the manager of his father’s general store, Sharpe & Page. He stood 5’7 ½” tall and weighed 137 pounds, had blue eyes and brown hair. “Exceptionally good boy. Good response to tests.” When he was accepted into the RCAF in July 1941, he was ½” taller and six pounds heavier. “Fit, nervous.”
At No. 4 ITS, Course 29, June 21 to July 26, 1941: “Visual link: 75%. Appears cool and responsible. Good material. May develop quite well. 65th out of 183; 83%.”
At No. 16 EFTS, Course 34, July 27 to September 13, 1941: First Instructor’s Report: “This pupil is somewhat tense on controls and lets nose drop in turns. General flying fair.” Second Instructor’s Report: “Fail. Does not grasp the principles of flying. Good average; attentive; conduct very good.” Testing Officers Report: “Forced landings poor. Gains height.” Chief Ground Instructor’s Report: “Good average. Attentive.” Recommendation: “Air Observer. Good type.” He was at the station hospital August 22-27, 1941.
He married Nancy Lees Corbett (1916-2018) of Edmonton October 22, 1941. They had one son, Douglas Peter Sharpe (b. 1942), and daughter, Margaret Corbett Sharpe (b. 1945). In 1953, Nancy married George Willington Lord, continuing to live in Edmonton. They had two more children.
Doug attended No. 10 AOS, Course 36 from October 27, 1941 to February 2, 1942. “A very good navigator. Keen and conscientious. Very good all-round qualities. Excellent officer material.” He was 4th out of 22 in his class with a 86.4%.
At No 9 B&G School, Course 36, February 2 to March 28, 1942: “Will make a good bomb-aimer. Just below the average. Above average gunner. 5th out of 20 in class. A very good student. Just requires more experience to round him out. 75.3%.” Doug earned his Observer’s Badge on March 28, 1942.
Doug was sent to No. 2 ANS, Course 37, March 30 to April 27, 1942: “Air work good. Results vary somewhat. Ground work average. 33rd out of 97 in class. 73.2%. Good officer material. Quiet but showed initiative.”
On May 17, 1942, Doug was at No. 31 O.T.U., Debert, Nova Scotia., then attached to RAF Ferry Command July 1, 1942, repatriated at Rockcliffe, Ontario October 25, 1943. He was taken on strength with No. 45 Group. He was flying between Edmonton and Rockclifffe in November 1943, then flying to the UK from Rockcliffe at the end of December 1943 through to August 1944.Doug was posted to 168 Squadron (Heavy Transport) upon its inauguration. In May 1944, he was at the station hospital.
On March 14, 1944: “This officer has splendid crew spirit and is a sound, practical, experienced navigator. Has plenty of punch in his work and is not one to overlook any practical detail of value of his work.”
He flew to Nashville, Dorval, Nassau, United Kingdom, Dayton, and Lachine.
Doug’s brother, Flying Officer George Harold Sharpe, J13612, died after air operations in France August 18, 1944.
In October 1944, Doug was place on charges overseas while with 437 Squadron. He was posted overseas in order that disciplinary action may be taken. “Improperly consumed spirits contrary to the provisions of King’s Regulations for the RCAF 1943.” At RAF Station Blakehill Farm in Officers’ Quarters on the afternoon of October 15, 1944 improperly gave spirits to RAF 21475140 ACW2 Head, Joan, V.K. whilst she was on duty. Findings: Guilty. He was awarded a reprimand, noted November 9, 1944.
On December 15, 1944, Fortress 9203 took off from Rabat, Morocco and was expected to land in the Azores, but they did not arrive.
CREW: • F/L Horace Brougham ‘Pat’ Hillcoat, Pilot, Ottawa, Ontario • F/L Frederick Blair La Brish, Navigator, Regina, Saskatchewan • F/L Alfred John De Laune Ruttledge, Co-pilot, Simcoe, Ontario • F/O Cecil Alexander Dickson, WO, Edmonton, Alberta • Cpl. Robert Emerson Bruce, crewman, Victoria, BC PASSENGERS: • F/L William Stewart Pullar, passenger-Pilot, Delia, Alberta • F/L Douglas Haig Sharpe, passenger-Navigator, Montreal, Quebec, • F/L William Laurel Wilson, administrative officer, Chatham, Ontario
(See Dave O’Malley’s article. for additional information and photos.)
July 9, 1945: “The situation is that the RAF look upon this as an operational flight, concerning which they usually take no action beyond a circumstantial report. No. 9 Group can produce witnesses’ statement showing that the personnel concerned were actually in the aircraft when it left Rabat, that no other call was made enroute and that nothing further is known of the aircraft since its disappearance.”
Mr. Sharpe established a scholarship in memory of his two sons in 1948. Mr. Sharpe lost his brother in WWI.
In late October 1955, Mr. Sharpe received a letter informing him that since Doug had no known grave, his son’s name would appear on the Ottawa Memorial.