September 30, 1920 - July 16, 1944
Walter Colin Ahrens was born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan to Frederick Charles and Emeline (Emma) Louise (nee Holler) Ahrens. In his paybook, he kept track of the birthdays of his four sisters and two brothers: Jean, Lloyd, Amy Louise, Wilma Marion, Donald and Dorothy Joyce, as well as wedding dates of his parents and those siblings who were married.
On his attestation papers, he indicated he was a student and unemployed prior to enlistment. He had been working on his father's farm and was 'accustomed to farm power machinery.'
He enlisted in Saskatoon on October 24, 1940 and received a commision on November 29, 1942.
Ehrens listed softball, skating, tennis as the sports he enjoyed, and was on the softball and football teams at school. He liked riding, hunting of small game, fishing and mechanics.
He was assessed as “Good average type, clean cut. Tall and erect. Good intellect. Bright, modest and mild mannered. No business training other than farming. Composed, courteous and pleasing personality. Has been thinking of joining the Air Force for some time and keen now to get in. This candidate has an excellent appearance. Good carriage and physique. Is intelligent, keen, and alert. Polite and mannerly. Desirable type operational.”
On July 16, 1944, Ehrens was noted as missing, believed killed, flying Typhoon MN879 when it crashed approximately four miles east of Caen at 20.10 hours on July 18, 1944. He baled out, but his parachute failed to open and he was blown up with his own bombs. W/C J. Baldwin wrote to Mrs. Ahrens to tell her of the circumstances. “There seems to be an element of doubt as to how it happened, either his aircraft was hit by flak, or in pressing home his attack to point blank range, as he invariably did, he may have been blown up by the explosion of his own bomb. In either event, his loss is a great blow to me and to the boys of his squadron with whom he was tremendously popular, his quiet sense of humour, vital keenness and above all, his great personal courage endeared him to all with whom he came in contact.”
There was some confusion as to where Ahrens’ body was buried. Initially in Bretteville-sur-Laize, France cemebery August 1945. In 1949, a letter was sent to the Ahrens to tell them that their son’s body was reinterred in the Hautot-sur-Mer Canadian Military Cemetery, Dieppe, France.
Additional information about Ahrens can be found on pages 23, 24, 33, and 179 in Typhoon and the Tempest by Hugh Halliday.