Warrant Officer Gordon William Olafsen

 Gordon William Olafsen - 1997 34 1
Gordon William Olafsen, 1943. City of Richmond Archives, photograph # 1997 34 1

Birth: August 14, 1922 in Steveston, BC

Death: December 18, 1944 in Pesche, Belgium

Service: WWII

Service Number: R192540

Gordon William Olafsen’s father, Guttorm Olafsen, was originally from Norway and his mother, Barbara Henrietta Witzgier, was born in Germany. The family lived at Second Avenue and Broadway in Steveston, and Gordon attended Richmond High School from 1938 to 1941. After leaving school, he became an assistant lineman with the Canadian Fishing Company for one year before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force, in Vancouver, on September 16, 1942. 

He was posted to bases in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for training as an air gunner. He embarked for overseas from New York on October 8, 1943, arriving in England on October 16, 1943. He was initially posted to RAF base Bournemouth and was then posted to #434 Bluenose Squadron.

On December 18, 1944, Halifax aircraft #NR118 crashed near the village of Pesche, Belgium, during a raid against Duisburg, Germany. Five crew members were killed and one was saved. Warrant Officer Air Gunner Gordon Olafsen was buried in the American Cemetery at Fosses, Belgium, then exhumed and reburied in the War Cemetery, Leopoldsburg, Limburg, Belgium. He left to mourn his parents and four brothers, Robert, Ernest and John all serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and young Norman at home.

History of the Road Name (Olafsen Avenue):

  • Council Resolution to adopt road name: Council Minutes February 4, 1946, res. 8711, pg. 45
  • Council Resolution to correct spelling from Olafson to Olafsen: May 24, 1994