December 6, 1920 - May 24, 1944
Stuart Scott Finlayson was the son of Robert Scott and Ethel May (nee Noble) Finlayson of Helendale Avenue, Apt. 6, Toronto, Ontario. He had two sisters, one younger (Audrey) and one older, (Mrs. Hunter). The family was Baptist.
Finlayson had been an electrician's helper before he enlisted in August 1941. He liked hockey, rugby and swimming.
He was considered to be athletic, average mentally and physically, alert, stable, but not sure of himself, lacking confident. It was suggested he be best as groundcrew, but he wanted pilot. He stood 5' 8 1/2" tall and weighed 141 pounds. He had blue eyes and brown hair.
At No. 1 ITS: November 1941 to January 1942: "A good type of trainee with ability. Appearance tends to show of nervousness, but should obtain confidence with service experience. Link Trainer: 52%. Second aircrew recommendation: air observer."
At No. 1 EFTS: February 2, 1942 - March 27, 1942: "Slightly hesitant on controls, average on aerobatics, but should improve with more practice. Recovery from unusual positions very good on test, but this was better than his normal flying." Ground Training: "A capable and industrious student. Should be able to much better than his ground marks indicate." 28 out of 39 in class.
At No. 41 SFTS: April 13, 1942 - July 31, 1942: "Has made slow progress throughout the course. Navigation is of a low average standard and inclined to be heavy on the controls." Ground Training: "A rather nervous type of pupil whose progress on the whole has been well below the average of the class." He was recommended for fighter squadron. "An average pupil who has very little enthusiasm for his work." He was granted his Pilot's Flying Badge on July 31, 1942.
He was sent overseas August 1942.
By October 1942, he was at No. 55 OTU. "An average pilot, could do with more formation pracice, steady type, should be above average with more experience. Discipline and punctuality good."
On May 24, 1944, at 1600 hours, at Le Havre, France, the tail unit of Typhoon JR311, piloted by P/O Finlayson of No. 175 Squadron was seen to break away in the air while pulling out of a dive at over 500 mph. A report stated that the squadrion dove from 8000 feet to about 3000 feet reaching speeds of 500 mph. When Typhoon JR311 started to pull out of the dive, the tail unit broke off about two feet ahead of the tail plane. The aircraft dived straight in and burst into flames. Identity discs belonging to P/O Finlayson were forwarded to Reverent M. A. P. Wood of the 48 RM Commando Unit, British Liberation Army in France. In a covering letter, Wood said that the discs were given to him by a Frenchman on September 14, which he had taken off of a dead RCAF officer's body, one that had crashed outside Le Havre on the 17th of May 1944. He was buried as 'unknown' in La Cienitiere, Ste. Marie, Le Havre. Wood said he had seen the grave. For official purposes, P/O Finlayson's death was presumed to be May 24, 1944.
Mrs. Finlayson, in a photo seen in the Toronto Star, declared that the face she had circled in the photo was her son. The RCAF wrote to explain that it could not have been due to the circumstances of his crash.