copyright © Wartime Heritage Association 2012-2023
Website hosting courtesy of Register.com - a web.com company
Remembering World War II
Ivan Steen Sollows
Flight Sergeant (Pilot)
Royal Canadian Air Force
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Date of Enlistment:
October 23, 1941
Place of Enlistment:
Address at Enlistment:
455 Dunsmure Rd., Hamilton, Ontario
Age at Enlistment:
Height: 5 feet, 8 inches
Next of Kin:
Edwin Hammond Sollows (Father) Yarmouth, NS
Ivan Steen was the son of Edwin Hammond Sollows and Ida Beulah Sollows, of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was the
brother of Edwin Graves (aged 22, 1943) Kenneth Gordon (aged 18, 1943) Clinton Vernon (aged 15, 1943), Celia Ann, (aged 23,
Steen attended Yarmouth Public School between 1928 and 1936 and the Yarmouth Academy between 1936 and 1940. Upon
his graduation, the attended Hamilton Technical School for one month and was then employed with Canadian Westinghouse as an
apprentice electrician for approximately six months until he joined the RCAF.
Steen, during his primary education years, aspired to be an aeronautical engineer. He constructed countless flying models,
many of his own design. During school years he delivered papers for pocket money. He occasionally played baseball, hockey, and
tennis and enjoyed swimming. His friends recollect that he was so polite to others that his personality bordered on humility.
Steen demonstrated that he was entrepreneurial minded by subcontracting with the builder of the RCAF airport at
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to pull nails out of used lumber so that the wood could be reused.
October 16, 1941 - No. 10 Recruiting Centre, Hamilton, Ontario.
Steen completed his medical and official attestation paper on October 16, 1942. On his application form he
listed as character references, Mr. Farely Candlish, (Mechanical Enginineer) of Hamilton, Ontario; Mr. H.
Wetmore (School Superintendent) Yarmouth, NS; Major George Day Backkador (Teacher) Yarmouth, NS; and E.
G. Perry (Teacher) Yarmouth, NS.
November 18, 1941 - February 12, 1942 - No 2 Manning Depot, Brandon Manitoba
It was here that Steen began his military career, where new recruits learned to bathe, shave, shine boots,
polish buttons, maintain their uniforms, and otherwise behave in the required manner. There were two hours
of physical education every day and instruction in marching, rifle drill, foot drill, saluting, and other
routines. Here he took the
RCAF Classification Test. Between January 16, 1942 and February 2, 1942 Steen was in the base hospital at
After four weeks a selection committee assessed that Steen has the necessary requirements as a pilot
candidate and he was then transferred to an Initial Training School
February 13 - March 28, 1942 - St. Thomas (Toronto, Ontario)
March 29 - July 4, 1942 - Toronto - No. 1 Initial Training School (Toronto)
Here Steen took theoretical studies included navigation, theory of flight, meteorology, duties of an officer,
air force administration, algebra, and trigonometry. Tests included an interview with a psychiatrist, the 4
hour long M2 physical examination, a session in a decompression chamber, and a "test flight" in a Link Trainer
as well as academics.
- May 23 - July 3, 1942 (Granted Special Leave)
July 5 - August 28, 1942 - Windsor (Elementary Flying Training School No. 7 Windsor - Course 59)
No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School was
constructed in 1940 as part of the British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The
courses were six to eight weeks in length. Steen was
one of the 1673 student pilots that graduated of a
total of 2267 candidates.
Photo: Course 59
Elementary Flying Training School No. 7
Steen Sollows (2nd from right second row)
August 31, 1942 - January 15 1943 (No. 9 Centralia Course 63)
RCAF Station Centralia was a Royal Canadian Air Force training base located just outside the village of
Centralia near Exeter, Ontario, Canada. It became one of the largest training stations in Canada. Service
Flying Training Schools provided advanced training to pilots who had graduated from Elementary Flying
Training Schools (EFTSs).
On completion of the course, January 15, 1943 Steen was awarded his Pilot’s Flying Badge.
January 16 - January 23, 1932 (Leave)
January 23 - March 27, 1943 - No. 1 General Reconnaissance School, Summerside, PEI (Course 75B)
Steen ranked 6th of 21 students on completion of his course. Instructor assessments indicated that he was
keen and hard working throughout the course and with further experience he should become a competent
General Reconnaissance Pilot.
April 2, 1943 - 32 OTU RAF (Patricia Bay, BC)
Steen was next posted to 32 OTU RAF. The unit was initially formed
at West Kirby, Liverpool, the personnel then moved by ship to
Patricia Bay, British Columbia as part of No. 4 Training Command.
The unit was tasked to train general reconnaissance crews in Avro
Ansons and Bristol Beaufighters aircraft.
It was here that Steen first met Marc Jean Lahausse who was serving
with the RAF. They trained together; however, on completion of
training at Patricia Bay, he and Marc were separated on arrival at
Bournemouth England. They finally succeeded in being re-crewed on
Beaufighters after months of representation at Carlisle.
June 28 - July 11, 1943 (Pre embarkation Leave)
July 10, 1943 - 1 Y Depot, Halifax. NS
No. 1 Y Depot was a holding unit in Halifax. Airmen on the move would be assigned to this unit for pay and
rations. On graduation from 32 OTU, Steen was assigned to this unit until travel was arranged by ship taking
him to Europe. It was common to have one or two weeks leave before leaving for Europe, and one would be
on Y Depot books during this time.
July 16, 1943 - Departed Canada
July 22, 1943 - Arrived United Kingdom
July 22, 1943 - No 3 Personnel Reception Centre (Course 106)
No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre was located at Bournemouth on the south coast of England. The purpose of
this centre was to allow Australian airman to rest, fill out necessary paper work and await posting on to
relevant RAF training units. From 3 PRC men were also given leave to acclimatise themselves to England and
the English and Steen was granted leave between August 6 - August 12, 1943.
September 14, 1943 - No 9 “C” Operational Training Unit
No 9 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit trained long range fighter crews, equipped with Beaufighters,
Beauforts and Oxfords. In September 1943 the Unit was located at RAF Kingstown, 3.2 km north of Carlisle
in Cumbria, England, where crews were trained for five Coastal Command units as well as two in North
November 15, 1943 - Killed in flying accident
On November 15, 1943 Steen was completing a night training exercise from RAF Kingstown, when the
Beaufighter aircraft EL 285 which he was piloting, crashed at Wolf Crag at approximately 2010 hours.
Flight Sergeant Sollows and his observer, Sgt. Marc Jean Lahausse, were returning to the aerodrome from an
Operational Flight Exercise when the Beaufighter flew into high ground near Matterdale. The aircraft had
successfully completed two circuits of its exercise and Sollows asked permission to proceed on the third
circuit by VHF to the ground station. The permission was granted and acknowledged. The aircraft flew into
the grassy hillside above Wolf Crag near Keswick where it broke up killing both airmen.
Date of Death:
November 15, 1943
Age at Death:
Chester (Blacon) Cemetery, Cheshire, England
Sec. A. Grave 1074.
The 104th name on the WWII list of the Yarmouth War Memorial
(I. Steen on the Yarmouth War Memorial)
Commemorated on page 215 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance
This page is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in
Ottawa on May 8
Photos from the Funeral of Ivan Steen Sollows: (November 20, 1943)
Steen Christopher Sollows holding a framed photo
of his great uncle and namesake, Ivan Steen Sollows
Sources and Information:
David Sollows (nephew of Steen Sollows)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Ivan Steen Sollows
Steen Sollows/Marc Lahausse
Ivan Steen Sollows
Ivan Steen Sollows