Fred Moritz and his Lancaster, somewhere in England, 1942. (The Memory Project)

PHOTOS: Maple Ridge honours 100-year-old Second World War gunner

Fred Moritz was awarded a medal by King George IV for taking down a German night fighter plane

A Second World War veteran who ended his military career with eight medals was recognized for his service by the City of Maple Ridge on his 100th birthday.

Flight Lt. Fred Moritz, now a Maple Ridge resident, was born on Sept. 14, 1919, in Gull Lake, Sask., said city councillor Ahmed Yousef, who was at the presentation ceremony in council chambers on Sept. 24.

In 2010, Moritz recounts his experience during the war in an interview for The Memory Project, an initiative of Historica Canada.

“At the beginning of my first tour, you had a 20 per cent chance of completing 30 trips, which was not too great odds,” he said in the interview. “On operations, there is tension from the time that you leave the aerodrome [airfield] until you get rid of your bombs at the target, and then you sort of relax after, but not that much.”

On Wednesday, Moritz was the guest of honour at the Haney Rotary Club.

“It is important for us to recognize the sacrifices and service of all those who have answered the call of duty to defend our country, our values, and our principles,” said Yousef. “It also puts matters in perspective for us and upcoming generations as to how fortunate to have the liberties we enjoy everyday because of those who defended us with their lives.”

READ MORE: Coastal Rangers watched over B.C. during Second World War

Moritz joined the 14th Canadian Light Horse in July 1940 and in September transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to begin his training as a wireless operator/air gunner. Upon his graduation he was promoted to sergeant.

In May 1941 Moritz travelled to England to train with the No. 420 City of London Squadron RCAF on the Handley Page HP.52 Hampden, a British twin-engine medium bomber.

First flights were deployed in January 1942.

While returning from a night bombing mission over Germany, Moritz’s squadron was attacked by a German night fighter. Moritz was credited with the official shoot down, and for his actions was awarded the distinguished flying medal from King George VI at Buckingham Place.

“On this particular trip, we were going to Aachen in Germany and the pilot was new, the air gunner was new, and the navigator was inexperienced,” Moritz shared with The Memory Project. “On our way back, we were attacked… our rear gunner was wounded; I also was wounded… I had 400 rounds to do my best. Which when I opened up, I killed the pilot and the navigator… I pulled the wounded gunner up between my legs and saw that he was alright; and we preceded home, crash landed, but nobody got hurt and we survived the trip. And for that action, I received the Distinguished Flying Medal.”

In July 1942 Moritz began training on the Vickers Wellington, a long-range medium bomber. His completion of 30 missions earned a trip back home.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Maple Ridge students plant metal poppies at legion ahead of Remembrance Day

While on leave Moritz was promoted to the rank of flight lieutenant in February 1943.

In September 1943 Moritz answered the call of duty again and enlisted in another 20 missions. He was deployed to the No. 434 Rotary Club in Halifax, N. S.

In January 1947 Moritz finally retired, earning eight medals that recognized his years of service. During his time on the front lines Moritz accepted missions to Germany, France, Norway, and Italy.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Fred Moritz (bottom left) and his Lancaster bomber crew, Royal Air Force Station Croft, Yorkshire, England, 1944. (The Memory Project)

Air Gunners course at Royal Air Force Station Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, October 23, 1941. Fred Moritz is second from the left in the bottom row. (The Memory Project)

Fred Moritz (right) answered the call of duty during the Second World War and he was recognized for his years of service by Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden. (Ahmed Yousef/Special to the NEWS)

Fred Moritz (third from the left) poses with members of council in Maple Ridge. (Ahmed Yousef/Special to the NEWS)

Just Posted

UPDATED: Two seeking Liberal nod in Ridge, Mission

No dates yet for candidate selection process

Snow and ice easier this time, on Maple Ridge roads

Pothole situation could have been worse, said roads superintendent

City of Pitt Meadows quell concerns about community garden being developed over

Latest Official Community Plan has mixed income housing being built adjacent to garden

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows await Lyft, Uber

Licensing announcement expected next week

1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep near Agassiz

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read