Paul James Elfner J22281

October 24, 1920 - April 10, 1944

Paul James Elfner Paul James Elfner Paul James Elfner Paul James Elfner Paul James Elfner Paul James Elfner

439 Squadron

Paul James Elfner was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He was the son of Mrs. Grace Elfner, 1424 - 19th Street NW. He had two brothers who were also in Service: Lt. Donald Elfner was in the Canadian Army and Sgt. Lloyd Elfner: the RCAF.

Elfner attended King George then Crescent Heights High School. He was shipper for Bruce Robinson Electric before enlisting at the age of 19 years and 6 days, with the RCAF in 1939. He became a telephone operator. He then wanted to be remustered to aircrew. On January 1, 1942, he indicated he was active in sports and interested in telegraphy. He was assessed as a "man fit for aircrew particularly as wireless airgunner." He stood 6' tall, had a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He indicated that after the war, he wished to study refrigeration and air conditioning or radio.

He was accepted into the BCATP to train as a pilot. At #5 EFTS: "Above average ground school, keen, capable student, instrument flying above average, airmanship in the air needs practice, conduct very good." At #15 SFTS: A high average pilot, steady and smooth who needs practice on precautionary landings and is inclined to be slightly inacurate in his flying. A hardworking above average student who is definitely an asset to the flight. Very quiet. Recommended for Commission." Elfner received his commission when he graduated as a pilot at Claresholm, Alberta. In 1943 he went overseas, after being posted to Debert, NS for one year.

On April 10, 1944, a very dense fog was encountered at Beach Head. The group of eight Typhoons that Elfner was a part of split up and Elfner did not return to base. They did not reach their target but returned to England from half way across the Channel. Elfner's Typhoon had been deemed in perfect condition. It was rumoured that one of the eight pilots had cried out, "I'm lost," with Elfner heard to say, "Follow me." That was the supposedly the last the group heard from Elfner.

There was a great deal of correspondence between the RCAF, Mrs. Elfner, and one of her sons, Lt. Donald Elfner, posted in England.

On May 10, 1944, S/L H. H. Norsworthy wrote with hope, "I realize Mrs. Elfner, that the strain and anxiety of uncertainty will weigh heavily on you and we here do realize that very well. I am not allowed by Air Force Regulations to give you detailed information as to Paul's accident, but I can tell you something. The squadron started out on a dive-bombing mission, and due to bad weather conditions, we got split up. When we landed at the base, Paul was not with us. I do want to impress on you that your son might be a prisoner of war in enemy hands; that as you know sometimes takes a long time to find out. We miss Paul sorely. We are truly a happy squadron and your son was a real part of it. His good nature, and every present smile never failed to cheer us all when we needed it most. We are all hoping and praying as you are that he is safe and that you will hear in the near future."

It was presumed that Elfner hit the sea and crashed, with a shield from the wheels claimed recovered. It was discovered to be a part of a Mustang. Paul James Elfner has no known grave and his name is engraved on the Runnymede Memorial.

In a letter dated March 22, 1945, Elfner's brother, Donald requested on behalf of their mother, to collect 'whatever kit and personal belongings' his brother had at the time he was reported missing.

Elfner is memorialized on a headstone in his family plot at Union Cemetery, Calgary.


  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial
  • Information about Elfner from 439 Squadron Website